For Village of the Giants, Bert I Gordon employed a number of effects techniques that he had used in previous films of his, such as The Beginning of the End and Tormented. On this page, we'll break down the different techniques utilized in his film about giant teenagers.


Marvelous Miniatures

To sell the illusion of 30-foot teenagers, a number of miniature props were made for the actors to handle.

The most elaborate setup was a miniature of the theatre stage interior, with a number of full-scale items miniatureized. These included a metal bed, stage props and several magazines. Miniature Coke bottles were crafted, and some small birds were even fried to resemble legs of fried chicken, along with some "Bucket O' Chicken" containers from the restaurant, Chicken Delight.

A miniature doll resembling Johnny Crawford's character Horsey, was also crafted for Joy Harmon's Merrie to "dance" with during one memorable scene. At the end of the film, minatures of a wooden spear and a lightpost were made for Beau Bridges to use as weapons against Tommy Kirk's Mike.


Prodigious Props

Just as important, were large-scale props that the regular-sized people of Hainesville had to interact with.

The most elaborate non-human props, were the roasted ducks that were shown at the party Mike and his friends threw in the village's park area. A separate wing was also crafted for Johnny Crawford's character to ravenously consume in private.

For the giants, a a number of large body parts were crafted. Most memorable was the large torso made up to resemble Joy Harmon's Merrie, for the scene wher she dances with Johnny Crawford's Horsey. A giant arm-and-hand were assembled for a scene where Robert Random's character Rick holds the Sheriff's daughter Cora (Debi Storm) aloft in the theatre. A giant pair of legs were also crafted and used for several scenes, involving Beau Bridges' Fred terrorizing the population.


Monstrous Matte Shots

Throughout Village of the Giants, Bert I Gordon and his wife Flora, utilized a number of matte shots. These would usually combine multiple film images, "matted" into one final image.

In the two examples at the top, the red outlines show where one can faintly see the matte lines in the shots. The areas inside the outlines were blacked (aka "matted") out, and then through process photography, another scene was layered in.

This technique was used throughout the film, from Genius' dog Wolf appearing in the lab doorway, and also a number of scenes in the second half of the film, showing the giants interacting with the normal-sized humans.


Remarkable Rear Projection

Another technique utilized for a number of scenes in the film, was rear projection. For this process, a number of scenes (aka "plates") were filmed of vacant sets. Actors would then stand in front of a scren, and the plates would be rear-projected behind them. This technique differs from a matte shot, in that there is no post-production processing, as the effect is all shot in-camera.

The most interesting use of this technique is when the teenagers grow and become giants. For these scenes, the camera filming the plates would travel vertically, while the teenagers mimicked the experience of growing. This technique was utilized for a number of scenes taking place outdoors in the film with the giants, as well as several scenes with the animals in the film.

Enormous Effects

Despite a lot of the more notable special effects techniques above, there also were plenty of lower-tech effects utilized in the film.

The goo itself was a mixture of stuff pumped up through a bottomless apothecary beaker in its first scene, and a later scene featured a similar effect, but run in reverse as Genius' attempt to make more suddenly disappeared on him. Several mishaps with chemicals in Genius' lab were also the result of practical effects work.

There was also a lot of string and wire-work utilized in the film. A strange creature Genius creates, moves courtesy of some mono-filament line, and Fred's throwing a large spear at Mike, is done via a line anchored to the ground, and the spear travelling along it via some eyelets. Wires were also utilized in the illusion of Fred's weight being too much for a hot rod, tearing its body off in the process of trying to drag the giant teenager.

Clothing effects during the growth sequence were also utilized, leading to ELsa's top coming apart, and the silver buttons bursting off of Merrie's sweater.

Physical effects were also utilized to move some of the large-scale giant props, such as making the giant torso of Merrie's character sway about, and the movement of the giant hand that swats Tommy Kirk's character aside.

The yellow smoking "pumice compound" Genius makes at the end is also effects-related (though we do not know what it was actually composed of).