Denis Villeneuve‘s sprawling sci-fi movie Dune is one of the most successful blockbusters of the last 12 months; scoring big at the box-office, receiving plenty of praise from audiences and critics alike, and also picking up ten nominations at the Oscars. But one particular element of the VFX work involved in the movie, while impressive, is absolutely terrifying.
The action movie, which features Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, and Euphoria star Zendaya, tells the tale of a great war in space between House Atreides and the people of Arrakis, and the nefarious House Harkonnen, led by Stellan Skarsgård.
Some viewers may recall a particularly freaky looking spider creature in the movie, which is kept as a pet by Skarsgård’s Baron Harkonnen. Well, if you thought the creepy crawly looked scary, just wait until you hear the origin story behind the strange creature. According to Dune‘s VFX artist Robyn Luckham, who was speaking to the Corridor Crew recently, the spider creature is actually the result of a horrifying experiment where a human was turned into this gruesome beast.
The movie based on a book, or collection of books rather, by Frank Herbert, has its fair share of weird monsters, including the gigantic sandworms that are more synonymous with the story of Dune. But this particular monstrosity and its origin story is incredibly unsettling.
What is intriguing, is the level of attention to detail that went into crafting this arachnid-human hybrid, right down to the mannerisms and the way the monster walked. Given that the creature used to be a human, it would not be totally accustomed to walking on eight legs, and that explains the awkward scurry that we see in the movie.
“The thing for this one was all about posing. We had to get these poses, to really have these fingers working, had to feel comfortable but awkward,” Luckham explained. “Because, again, this has not lived as this creature for its entire life, bred for that purpose. It has been put together. So it’s hard to walk,” he added.
Even more fascinating is the fact that Villeneuve brought in a ballerina, Milena Sidorova, who could dance like a spider, and got her to perform the movements while in a motion-capture suit. So there you have it, that’s how Baron Harkonnen’s odd little pet was brought to life.