Exclusive video! Behind the scenes of the New York “devil baby” for “DEVIL’S DUE”
Yesterday, a video featuring an animatronic “devil baby” terrorizing New Yorkers, in the service of promoting Fox’s release this week of DEVIL’S DUE, went viral. Today, we’ve got exclusive video of how the terrifying tot was created, and comments from one of the folks behind the video.
The “devil baby” stunt was birthed by Thinkmodo, a viral-video team founded by filmmakers James Percelay and Michael Krivicka. They teamed up with the LA-based Creature Effects company, headed by Mark Rappaport, to send the gruesomely realistic electro-mechanical tyke out onto the New York City streets in a remote-controlled stroller, taping the startled and often amusing reactions of passersby. See how the baby was brought to “life” below, and read on for Fango’s interview with Percelay about how the project came together.
FANGORIA: What were some of Thinkmodo’s previous horror-film tie-is?
JAMES PERCELAY: We’ve previously been behind such YouTube hits as the “Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise” video for CARRIE, the “Beauty Shop Scare” video for THE LAST EXORCISM PART II and the “Zombie Experiment NYC” video for THE WALKING DEAD.
FANG: How was the “devil baby” video conceived?
PERCELAY: DEVIL’S DUE is about a couple who return from their honeymoon with what they think is joyous news—until they realize their unborn child is the Antichrist. Thinkmodo collaborated with 20th Century Fox’s marketing department to bring the idea to life by imagining what the child would look like in real life. Stunned reactions to this moving baby sitting up in his stroller and screaming made the viral video so captivating.
FANG: What led you to hook up with Creature Effects to create the baby?
PERCELAY: Thinkmodo researched special effects companies capable of creating a super-lifelike animatronic infant, and came upon Creature Effects, whose animatronic chops go back to the original Chucky. In addition to having Creature Effects fabricate the baby, Thinkmodo asked them build a remote-controlled Bugaboo stroller±“boo” being the operative word—to autonomously drive up to pedestrians.
FANG: How does the animatronic baby work?
PERCELAY: The veiny, airbrushed silicone skin is attached internally to fine plastic rods connected to servo motors. This enables it to blink, smile, move its cheeks, furrow its brow and move its head. A speaker hidden inside the remote-controlled stroller encouraged onlookers to look inside, and the baby’s spring-loaded torso allowed it to sit up on cue and shock them. The stroller was retrofitted with motors on its back wheels and a wire to pull down the hood, revealing the horrific baby inside. The baby, stroller and sounds were wired to receivers for remote-controlled operation.
FANG: What were the different reactions to the baby from New Yorkers?
PERCELAY: Many walked by the seemingly abandoned stroller, despite the crying sounds coming from inside. Others, however, came up to it and got quite a scare. With three puppeteers out of sight operating their remote controls, the onlookers got a further dose of fright when the stroller started to chase after them down the sidewalk. Even in a city where surprises are commonplace, almost everyone reacted wildly. Without exception, however, their screams turned to laughter when they realized the baby was not real, just amazingly realistic.