A Look at the Past and the Future of Creature films
EXT JUNGLE DAY
We coast over a beautiful waterfall. A strong but terrified woman, out of breath and soaking wet due to a tropical storm, is running from something.
Then we hear it. An animalistic cry.
Lisa Roumain carries the fear and horror on her face with each ghastly discovery, including some of the people who got way too close to the creature. Collora has an eye for atmosphere, and it is certainly not in short supply here. We have no idea where this takes place, or if she even speaks English. No dialogue is required, as the chase and tension recall some of the scarier moments of Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) and John McTiernan’s Predator (1987). It is certainly no coincidence that Collora has worked on high profile films such as Predator 2 (1990), The Crow (1994) and Men in Black (1997) to name a few. Carrying an artistic eye that is on par with Ridley Scott, who also storyboards his films.
But Mr. Collora doesn’t stop there. He illustrates concepts on paper, then sculpts and creates maquettes which are proofs of concept. He builds his worlds from the ground up. This vision, is truly an independent spirit. No compromises.
Sandy Collora directed commercials, after being a part of Stan Winston’s creature shop in the late 1980’s. He tutored under Henry Alvarez, who was sculptor the amazing suit for Robocop (1987) and worked with Rob Bottin. Alvarez collaborated with Collora on one of his signature short films. Batman Dead End (2003) in which a comic book accurate Batman faces off with The Joker and some fantastic movie monsters. The film is a milestone, and although unofficial, it is regarded by many as the best Batman on screen. Collora followed up and did Hunter Prey (2010), a feature film that is equal parts Heavy Metal and Star Wars.
Coming full circle, Collora attempted to make a feature version of Shallow Water and had an ambitious goal to crowdfund it. It didn’t happen, but he raised some eyebrows and got some more fans. Let me be clear though. The amount he attempted to raise was not even the advertising budget for a Hollywood Studio picture. What he does so well, is get a lot of bang for the buck. Most importantly, this twenty minute chase featuring a creature and fantastic actress who has worked with James Cameron on Avatar (2009) is now a fantastic proof of concept.
The short film works as a stand alone piece, but it would be interesting to see what will happen when Mr Collora gets the means to make another feature. He is one of the most misunderstood artists of his generation. But over time, he has humbled and is severely blessed with good friends and an outlet for his talent.