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We’ve lost too many talented people this summer already, and
now comes word that longtime special FX master Carlo Rambaldi has died.
According to Salon.com and The Associated
Press, Rambaldi passed away in the Calabrian city of Lamezia Terme in southern
Italy after a long illness, at age 86. He’s best known for creating a pair of
indelible screen space beings: the xenomorph in Ridley Scott’s ALIEN, and the
lost creature of E.T. THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL, both of which won him Oscars. He
also received a Special Achievement Academy Award for his contributions to John
Guillermin’s 1976 remake of KING KONG.
But before those big-ticket features, Rambaldi worked on
numerous notable European genre films, among them Mario Bava’s PLANET OF THE
VAMPIRES and BAY OF BLOOD/TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE, Massimo Pupillo’s BLOODY
PIT OF HORROR, Lucio Fulci’s A LIZARD IN A WOMAN’S SKIN, Paul Morrissey’s FLESH
FOR FRANKENSTEIN and BLOOD FOR DRACULA, Dario Argento’s DEEP RED and Andrzej
Zulawski’s POSSESSION. After being tapped by producer Dino De Laurentiis to
create the full-scale Kong seen in the ’76 picture, Rambaldi did FX for a
number of subsequent De Laurentiis productions, including Richard Fleischer’s
CONAN THE DESTROYER, David Lynch’s DUNE, Guillermin’s sequel KING KONG LIVES
and two Stephen King adaptations: Lewis Teague’s CAT’S EYE and Daniel Attias’
SILVER BULLET. His last credits were a pair of 1988 features: Armand
Mastroianni’s CAMERON’S CLOSET and PRIMAL RAGE, directed by his son Vittorio. Calabria’s
top culture official, Mario Caligiuri, called Rambaldi “a magician of special
effects” and “an indisputable example of Italian creativity.”
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