vendredi 26 septembre 2008


In the movie THE ABYSS directed by James CAMERON, an alien intelligence tries to contact humanity, creating for it a giant pseudopod able to mimic human expressions. It's a rare if not the only good CGI trick about an unknown creature, because this one is said to be made just of a nearly immaterial substance produced from water.

In Nature, there are really some beings having the same general appearence than the ABYSS' pseudopod. One of them can be seen on the famous video site, You tube :

Another specimen filmed in wide ocean can be seen on this video : and one more is showed swimming in the deep sea :*

This marine creature is a Pyrosoma. Someones can reach ten meters as on the second photography below. It's actually a colony of tiny marine critters forming some long chains like their parents the Salps. More surprising, these animals, although very light and nearly translucent, are not closed to the Jellyfishes, but, like their far parents, the Sea squirts, bearing some similarities with the Sponges inhaling the water beneath the siphons, they have more affinities with the Vertebrates, because their like-tadpole larva bears a notochord, a primitive model of the vertebrate colomn.

An other giant animal, a giant worm, brought a lot of comments :

This one is undoubtfullly a Nemertan or Ribbon worm, the most primitive animal with a complete tractus ( unlike sea anemons, Jellyfishes and the Flatworms having a single orifice serving both to eat and to expulse ). The not identified creature looks like to some Nemertans like Cerebratulus ( below ). Some Ribbon worms are very long : Lineus longissimus is very thin but has a length of 30 meters, so than the biggest blue Whales ( second photography below ).

I have a bit pride to be the first to have found on You tube the identity of the strangest animal seen on the videos, a swimming creature between a swimming Duck and a pulsing hearth :

At first, I was abused by the colour of the water, thinking it would be soft water. After to think to the problem, I talk to myself it couldn' be anything than a marine Mollusc of Gastropoda class, more or less parent of the colourful Nudibranch, dubbed sea slugs. It's in fact a very distant relative of them, a parent of the Aplysia ( Sea Hare ), called Akera bullata, with its tiny shell below the mantle. Drawings from a scientific paper shows the dance of the creature.

(*click to open the link to the video )

jeudi 4 septembre 2008


Benoît LESTANG committed suicide the 27 th july 2008.

He was one of the french artists with Jacques GASTINEAU and his brother ( animatronics ), Pascal PINTEAU ( miniature sets and makeup ) and Jean-Manuel COSTA ( stop motion ) who tried in the eighties to put fantastic and science-fiction on the screens although french producers have ever disliked these subjects.

He worked for his first movie when he was seventeen years old, on Jean ROLLIN's LA MORTE-VIVANTE. He succeeds to obtain his place in french movie makeup system, working on some famous french movies like the comedy LES RIPOUX or LA CITE DES ENFANTS PERDUS. Because there are very few of french fantastic films, he still made scars and bloody effects, but however, he created some imaginary beings.

He did three creations for Spring gum french publicities, a robot, a zombie and an alien monster, from the comic artist GOTLIB's designs, creatures that explose at the end of the spot.

He made the "Night Monster"of Raphael DELPARD's oniric movie CLASH, starring Catherine ALRIC and Bernard FRESSON. He argued the siliconed costume of the creature, seeming to be a player covered of red clay, was disappointing because of lack of time and money.

In 1987, he worked with the makeup artist Gabe BARTALOS ( THE DEADLY SPAWN ) on BRAIN DAMAGE, by Frank HENENLOTTER, the director of BASKET CASE, a rather famous movie about two murderous brothers, one abnormal ( litteraly an half-brother ). In BRAIN DAMAGE, the creature, a worm with a big brain, is like a seringue, because it gives to its host a substance doing him so euphoric than he becomes able to kill to bring the human brain material neccesary to the physiology of his companion. Although very bloody like all the "gore" films, BRAIN DAMAGE is not completely gratuitous, because it's undubtuffly a metaphor about drug and addiction; more, the movie has a dark humour.

In 1989, Benoît LESTANG made another evil worm, very well animated, for a french film, Alain ROBAK's BABY BLOOD ( known in the USA as THE EVIL WITHIN ). The creature layed by a Panther ( that look alike to some real Carnivorous' parasites, Pentastomida like Armillifer ) uses a woman to breed. As soon, the woman becomes ready to kill to feed his baby with people's fresh blood. The movie is crude, because there is less humour than in BRAIN DAMAGE, only stupid or bad men killed by a criminal woman in fury, like in the feminist THELMA AND LOUISE or MONSTER. After a metamorphosis like in THE FLY 2 ( the baby's skin is just an envelop ), the new form of the baby monster recalls an ALIEN's face-hugger with tentacles instead legs and with a little insectoid head.

Benoît LESTANG made some bloody effects and also wrote the script of BROCELIANDE, a film of Doug HEADLINE, both began to work ( like the director of NECRONOMICON, Christophe GANS ) in french cinema newspapers.

The french makeup artist is gone away few time before the coming in theaters of the thriller MARTYRS, full-filthed of his work. He will be remembered as a fan who could become a respected professional, with a great disponibility to help the ones wishing to follow his example.

The Thermians who were sad after the dead of the great monsters creator Stan WINSTON in june 2008 have to deplore the disappearance of a second makeup artist this summer; bad time for creatures and for people who like them.