It’s always a pleasure for me to discover movie treasures I haven’t seen before. I watched The Day Time Ended (an independent science fiction film released in 1980) a few weeks ago and despite it is listed as a bad low-budget movie at a lot of places, the superb special effects work, the great creature design, the fluid animation (done by Randy Cook and the late Dave Allen) and the whole ambiance of the movie never fails to amaze me. Jim Danforth also took his part as an uncredited matte artist. Instead of screenshots I will publish a few behind-the-scenes photos (click on them to enlarge), with the kind permission from the film’s associate producer and director of visual effects, Paul Gentry.
A family finds their new home (a solar-powered house in an isolated part of the Mojave Desert) trashed. The youngest daughter starts seeing mysterious things and a strange little creature. The family members soon find themselves face-to-face with alien forces who have put them in a time-and-space warp. First of all let me show you a nice PR shot of the three stopmo puppets, sculpted by Lyle Conway, who was later hired by Ray Harryhausen to sculpt the large Kraken puppet in Clash of The Titans.
Randy Cook and David Allen check out a first casting of the Troll Lady — in a kitchen! That’s what I like in practical effects. No computers anywhere. (One could notice in the previous picture that she was absolutely correct anatomically — even her female genitals were visible.)
And on the animation table here’s the Troll Lady with another strange critter, the Wolf Lizard — going teeth to teeth:
Animator Randy Cook can be seen in the next photo while working on the Troll Lady shot:
and animating the battle sequence pitting the Wolf Lizard vs. the Troll Lady:
Randy Cook animates the Wolf Lizard bursting through a barn door: (btw one of my favourite scenes is when the critter knocks on the front door of the house, LOL!)
The Wolf Lizard and the Pixie puppets can be seen in the next picture. It’s important to note that while the Troll Lady and the Wolf Lizard are real giants, the Pixie is only a few inches tall in the movie; no matter that the puppets are about the same scale.
David Allen animates the Pixie shot with the world’s first anamorphic rear projection. As Paul says: “You don’t see BTS shots like this of people doing 3D animation!”
The plot might be called a little chaotic, the acting is quite bad (as in so many of these independent flicks of the seventies and eighties) but the makers sure have invested a lot of imagination and creativity in it, and the end result is plain fascinating. Therefore, a real treat for SMA fans.