Manhattan Miniature from Escape from New York (1981)




In the first two photos, Bob (dark hair and beard) and Dennis Skotak, two legends in the visual effects field, work on the model. In the third, Bob inspects the finished product. To achieve the computer navigation sequence as Plisken is flying his glider into the city, reflective paint was applied to the edges of the black buildings, which were then shot under black light. While reportedly James Cameron’s idea, it was almost certainly John C. Wash. Cameron was a director of photography on the film (as was Dennis Skotak), and he did some great matte work as well.

(Images via Matte Shot and Fuck Yeah Behind the Scenes)

8 Responses to “Manhattan Miniature from <em>Escape from New York</em> (1981)”

  1. 1 Don Gates January 15, 2015 at 12:08 am

    I LOVE what they did with that miniature: using a practical effect to achieve “computer graphics” results. Awesome.

    • 2 2W2N January 15, 2015 at 4:28 am

      The irony, right? Not to worry. The remake will use CGI to achieve CGI results, none of which will look as convincing as reflective tape, black light, and creative camera work.

  2. 3 Eric March 17, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Very cool, though I’m quite certain that’s not Carpenter in the third photo.

  1. 1 Behind the Scenes: Escape from New York (1981) | 2 Warps to Neptune Trackback on March 2, 2016 at 3:30 pm
  2. 2 The Glider Navigation Sequence in ‘Escape from New York’, 1981 Trackback on February 14, 2017 at 2:34 pm
  3. 3 John Carpenter’s Escape from New York – Retro-Lab Trackback on January 5, 2018 at 5:41 pm
  4. 4 Escape from New York (1981) Kurt Russell Is Snake Plissken The Coolest 80’s Sci-Fi Hero Of All Time? – Wolfmans Cult Film Trackback on January 26, 2020 at 6:15 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s




Donate Button

Join 1,103 other subscribers

%d bloggers like this: