There was a scene where Bruce Campbell had an evil Siamese twin joined at the torso, that forced him to crawl away like a spider. Internally we referred to the shot as “Spider Ash.” If I am not mistaken, Tony Gardner’s Alterian Studios created a life sized practical puppet/costume combo. But for potentially more challenging (or comedic) shots, the production company asked me to create a stop motion puppet version. This is how it went down…
Tony’s group supplied me with two head casts of Bruce Campbell, both taken with extreme facial expressions along with a slew of incriminating photos to use as a guide to match in miniature. Created in supersculpey in 1/6th scale (approx. 12″ tall), they were baked to a hard finish.
I needed to get a “buy off” on the sculpture from Sam Raimi before I could proceed with the molding and casting phase. With the delicate and fragile Spider Ash sculpture carefully packed, I slipped into a production meeting already well under way. Sam was sitting on the far end of the long boardroom table and when it was my turn to be addressed, my sculpture was carefully passed forward. Energized with enthusiasm, Sam Raimi gave it the 5 second once over and said “Gentlemen, this is a vision of beauty” and with that… he slid the sculpture back to me, across 8 feet of boardroom table, as if he was playing air hockey. I caught the sculpture before it took a nose dive to the floor – matched only by my elevated blood pressure.
After all of that, the “Spider Ash” stop motion puppet never made it into the final print of the film, but presented here as a piece of ARMY OF DARKNESS history.
Spider Ash Stop Motion Puppet
This image is one of the only surviving pictures in my archive that depicts the Spider Ash puppet as it was delivered. The molds to these puppets have been long destroyed.
Spider Ash Surviving Replica
This image shows the only known surviving copy of the 20+ year old Spider Ash puppet safely stored in my collection. This replica is made of a flexible urethane with a semi-posable wire armature.
…and the “Full Monty” shot.