Friday, December 12, 2014

Another great effect in Terminator 2: Judgment Day is what's called the "split man effect". This happens toward the end of the film, when the T-1000 is attacking Sarah and John Connor in the steel mill. The T-800 comes up behind him with an iron bar and brings it down -- the iron bar cutting the T2 in half from shoulder to waist, nearly severing the T-1000's right arm.

For this effect, a police costume was fitted to a foam body, and the costume impregnated with resin to make it stiff. The body and costume were then roughly cut along the "split" line. Clay was used to sculpt the "splash" cut.

Hinges were inserted into the bottom of the cut, and nearly invisible wires attached to the right shoulder -- which then ran back to the main body. Stiff nylon sheeting was applied to the inside of the "split", so that the parts of the "split man" had a tendency to spring open when released. Krylon Crystal Clear was applied to the interior again to make it shiny. When the T-800 "cut" the T-1000, a pin was released that made the "split" spring open. The wires were then pulled by an off-screen puppetteer to make the split "close" and begin to "heal".

The prosthetic was so thin, it could be fitted to actor Robert Patrick's body. He merely held his right shoulder behind him, and turned his body slightly to keep his arm and shoulder out of the way.

The fingers and hand of the "nearly severed" right arm had wires and controls in them which allowed them to move. Patrick's left arm also remained free to move about completely.

CGI finished the effect, although most viewers assume the entire effect was done with CGI.

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