Video reveals secrets of a 'Jurassic Park' Spitter

Learn how animatronic-puppet gurus created the terrifyingly cute Spitter (Dilophosaurus) dinosaur that attacks the bumbling Dennis Nedry in "Jurassic Park."

Not so cute anymore. Screenshot by Christopher MacManus/CNET

Do you remember these famous last words? "Look, stick! Stick, stupid -- fetch the stick. You don't want the stick? No wonder you're extinct. I'm going to run you over when I come back down."

In the movie "Jurassic Park," shortly before his demise, computer technician Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) mutters those lines to a peculiar-looking dinosaur. A behind-the-scenes video by the legendary Stan Winston special-effects company reveals how a small team built the Dilophosaurus (known as the Spitter in pop culture) for the dinosaur thriller.

Mechanical FX designer Rick Galinson narrates the 8-minute clip (below) that kicks off by explaining how animators closely studied the movements of an ostrich, and modeled those actions for the Spitter puppet.

Creating a realistic-looking dinosaur requires a great deal of engineering: the neck features three joints that could curve and turn in a lifelike way, and the tongue contains several mechanisms -- capable of going in nearly any direction -- that could give Gene Simmons a run for his money. Galinson and crew made the two colorful neck frills out of latex rubber and support rods, and used a pulley to make it appear.

Lastly, the infamous projectile poison spit comes from a paintball mechanism that blasted out a mixture of methacyl, K-Y Jelly, and some food coloring.

You can watch the Spitter again (or for the first time) when "Jurassic Park 3D" hits theaters on April 5.

About the author

Crave contributor Christopher MacManus regularly spends his time exploring the latest in science, gaming, and geek culture -- aiming to provide a fun and informative look at some of the most marvelous subjects from around the world.

 

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