The Creature Shop

Motherboard has always been fascinated by the (black) arts, but combine our interest with gore and some awesome puppetry, then set the stage in South Africa and we’re really cooking with gas. We traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa to visit the dudes behind the country’s leading horror factory, The Creature Shop.

Graham Press, Creature Shop founder and animatronics specialist extraordinaire, was kind enough to give us a tour of the studio where we stumbled over elephants, tigers, cadavers, wounded arms, bloody eye sockets and of (naturally) a room of charred bodies (oh my!). Graham is assisted by Mr. Jaco Sydman, an artist with a certain infatuation with gore.

Some pretty wild (and Oscar-nominated) productions have included work from this brutal workshop; aside from untold ads, films like “Hotel Rwanda,” “Tsotsi,” “Machinegun Preacher,” “Mr. Bones 2,” a Die Antwoord music video and, most notably, “District 9,” have all benefited from their (monster hand) touch. From swimming seals to animatronic lionesses to arms that fly off in a shower of blood, these guys are masters of mechanized madness.

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