Friday, December 12, 2014

One of the better effects in Terminator 2: Judgment Day is what's called the "splash head effect". The T-1000 pries open an elevator door to attack Sarah Connor, her son, and the T-800. The T-800 uses a shotgun to blast him in the head, which splits him wide open. The T-1000 staggers back, trying to "get its head together" (hee hee) while the elevator doors close and Our Heroes(r) get away safely.

To achieve this effect, two clay models of actor Robert Patrick's head were created. A "splash head" -- the head almost split in two, the edges looking like splashed hot metal -- was then sculpted out of one of them, and replicated in the other. The first "splash head" had stiff nylon sheeting applied to the interior. The pieces were then held together with a small catch. When the catch was released, the pieces sprang apart due to the stiffness of the sheeting.

The other "splash head" had its two parts wide open. Wires and rods were inserted inside it, which ran down to a small machine that tightened them. Although the motion was limited, this could make it appear as if the pieces were moving, trying to come back together.

Numerous coats of Krylon Crystal Clear were applied to the "interior" of each segment of the "splash head" to make them appear shiny and metallic.

A contortionist was then hired who could throw his head back at a severe angle. The "splash head" prosthetic was attached to his neck and shoulders.

For the first (split-second) shot, the first "splash head" was show popping open to depict the shotgun blast. For the rest of the shot, the actor/contortionist moved about slightly, using his hands to try to put his head back together, the two head pieces moving slight.

Most people believe this is a CGI effect, but it's prosthetics and animatronics.

The final "splash head" was highly detailed and featured eyes that moved around independently of one another. CGI effects produced by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) finished the "healing" effect.

Here is the initial "splash head" concept art by Mark "Crash" McCreery for the Stan Winston School, which did the prosthetics, some makeup, and creature effects for T2.

Here is the second piece of "splash head" concept art by Mark "Crash" McCreery for the Stan Winston School. Note how the effect has been ratched back a lot!

Here is the final "splash head" concept art by Mark "Crash" McCreery for the Stan Winston School.

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