Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge ‘Alien Press Conference’ Recap: Episode 01.07

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge - Season 1Photo by: Dale Berman/Syfy
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This week on Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge the remaining 5 Contestants enter the shop to find Rigel from Farscape, which serves as inspiration for this week’s challenge. The Creature Brief is to make a new alien life form. Intergalactic Diplomats that must travel incognito for their own protection. The finished creature must have an outer head that opens, revealing the real creature underneath. This round will be an individual build, with 3 professional puppeteers manning the finished piece. One element of mechanization is required, with the inner creature being a sculpted piece, in this 3 day challenge. Pete Brooke is the Shop Master for the week.

The crew gets crackin’ on designing and sculpting their creatures. A lot rides on this challenge, which will determine the final 3. All the remaining contestants go in very different directions, all very well done. At the end of the day their sculpts are handed off to the studio to be molded in poly foam, which adds a lot of flexibility to the creature design.

On day 2 the Contestants work on the mechanization of their creatures, servos for eyes all around. The crew already seem exhausted, but struggle to complete this complicated character. Ben speeds ahead with fabricating the outer creature, while Jake continues making detailed elements in clay. When Pete Brooke comes in, he shows concern for Jake’s time management, and whether the Judges will be able to see the inner creature through the outer shell he has created.When Pete Brooke gets to Ben, he gives him a lecture on his ‘over achieving’ personality, and how he needs to listen and give the client exactly what they want. Ben seems to take it in stride, and focus on getting done.

On day 3 the Contestants meet with their Puppeteers to choreograph the creature’s movements for the screen test. Melissa is nervous that her puppet falls short of the other Contestant’s work, feeling that hers isn’t detailed enough or doesn’t have the extra mechanical components that the others have.

The stage for the screen test is set, a podium on center stage where their Intergalactic Diplomats will give their speech to the alien colonies. Barry Sonnenfeld, Director/Producer of Men in Black and a slough of other well known movies and shows, is on the panel as a Guest Judge.

Melissa’s alien is up first, Ambassador Basithe representing the planet Kita, an elderly creature inside a menacing shell. The Judges like the sculpt, but wanted to see a little more neck and shoulders on the creature, instead of looking like a floating head inside the outer body. Sonnenfeld is really impressed with what the Contestants have accomplished in such little time. What normally takes several months, they have achieved in only 3 days.

Ben’s screen test is up next, the outer shell fly like, with a crustacean like alien at the core. Representing the planet Kargon, King Karg, the ruler of the Kargonians. The Judges are really impressed with his puppets reveal, only negatively commenting on the creature’s neck, and the outer head not being as impressive as it could be.

Jake’s screen test commences, a massive hulking alien with another large creature inside. The only alien Ambassador to come to wage war instead of peace, High Warlord Abiden, who has come to conquer. The Judges wished for a more dramatic reveal, and more detail and color in the eyes. Barry Sonnenfeld advises him to add more shine to his creatures, you can never use too much KY Jelly. They are all impressed by the size of his puppet, and the paint job on the sculpt.

Lastly, Robert’s creature takes the stage. Opening like a Venus Fly Trap, to reveal a regal looking alien inside named The honorable Reginald Marklar from planet Marklar. The Judges don’t agree on the strong and weak points of his puppet, but Brian Henson says that his creature is definitely camera ready.

Safe: Robert & Melissa

Winner: Ben

Going home: Jake

I think this has to be my favorite episode of the season so far. The Judges made the right decisions all around, I was really glad to see Melissa will be in the final 3. I think given a chance, she could go really far and be an asset to a studio like Jim Henson studios. I still think Jake should be on Face Off, he is fantastic at sculpting, and is a strong painter too. Face off needed a good painter this last season.I’m sad this season of Creature Shop is almost over, but I can’t wait to see next week’s finale!

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About the Author

Ruby LeRouge
is a long time slave to the Silver Screen, and all around media junkie, with a strong interest in the study and archival of classic cinema reels, scripts, press releases and props. A professional artist, dabbling in prop fabrication, costuming, and practical effects makeup in her spare time. She credits much of her artistic inspiration to her life long love of movies, and holds a special adoration for stop motion animation, film noir, and classic B movies. She writes a movie editorial blog called Sleepless Cinema, sharing her candid view on all media, new and old. Insomniac and cinephile, coffee swiller and media collector, has silver screen scream queen dreams, and she lives her life in technicolor. "While the world sleeps, I watch". - Ruby LeRouge
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