Carlo Rambaldi (born 1925 in Vigarano Mainarda, Italy) is an Italian born special effects artist who is most famous for designing the title character of the 1982 super-smash hit E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and the mechanical head-effects for the creature in Alien. Rambaldi has also worked on Profondo Rosso (Deep Red) (1975), King Kong (1976), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Dune (1984), and King Kong Lives (1986).
He started his career making special effects for Italian films at the late 50´s, and he soon begun to experiment with mechanical and creature effects working at the “sword and sandals” Italian films where he had to create some of the first animatronic creatures for films like Vengeance of hercules(1960) or Maciste contro i mostri (1962).
He worked for Dino de Laurentiis for Barrabba (1961) and The Bible (1965). When laurentiis got the rights to remake Kin-Kong, he called Carlo rambaldi to supervised the giant ape construction.
Rambaldi was responsible of the giant head and body for “King Kong” (1976). Although the full size body was eventually not used due of his lack of movement, the mechanical hands were pretty successfully.
The mechanical work was under Glen Robinson. Rambaldi was in charge of the skin and hair. Rambaldi also supervised the mechanisms and the Kong suit made in collaboration with Rick Baker.
After the success of King Kong (1976). Rambaldi moved to Los Angeles where he was requested to make the alien from Spielberg´s “close encounter on the third kind”(1977), and some others like “The hand”, “Alien” or “E.T.”
Rambaldi has the distinction of being the first special effects artist to be required to prove that his work on a film was not ‘real’. Dog-mutilation scenes in the 1971 film Lizard in a Woman’s Skin were so convincingly visceral that its director, Lucio Fulci, was prosecuted for offences relating to animal cruelty. Fulci would have served a two-year prison sentence had Rambaldi not exhibited the film’s array of props to a courtroom, proving that the scene was not filmed using real animals.
With Rambaldi worked a team of excellent italians artist like Isidoro Raponi, Carlo DeMarchis or Giusepe Tortora. After Rambaldi moved to USA at the late 70´s , they begun to work by their own, providing mechanical and creature effects for films like “Conan” or “The Neverendingstory”
Gallery: Carlo Rambaldi with Spielberg’s E.T. (1982)
Carlo Rambaldi with the Alien head mechanism.
Rambaldi with his assistant Carlo De Marchis operating the cable controled mechanism.
Yo-rhad, un amico dallo spazio (2006) (special makeup effects artist)
Decoy (1995) (visual effects supervisor: Los Angeles) (exotic weapons designer)
Primal Rage (1988) (special visual effects)
Cameron’s Closet (1988) (creature creator)
“La vie des Botes” (1986) TV series (masks)
King Kong Lives (1986) (creatures constructor) (creatures creator)
Silver Bullet (1985) (werewolf suit creator)
Cat’s Eye (1985) (creatures)
Dune (1984) (creature creator)
Conan the Destroyer (1984) (creature designer: Dagoth)
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) (E.T. operator)
Possession (1981) (special effects: the creature)
The Hand (1981) (special effects)
Alien (1979) (alien head effects)
Nightwing (1979) (special visual effects)
Close encounters of the third kind (1977)
The White Buffalo (1977) (consultant)
King Kong (1976) (special effects)
Profondo rosso (1975) (special effects)
La mazurka del barone, della santa e del fico fiorone (1975) (special effects)
Le amanti del mostro (1974) (special effects) Lover of the Monster
La mano che nutre la morte (1974) (special effects) The Hand That Feeds the Dead (USA)
Dracula cerca sangue di vergine… e morì di sete!!! (1974) (special effects) Andy Warhol’s Dracula (USA)
Zanna bianca alla riscossa (1974) (optical effects) White Fang to the Rescue
Flesh for Frankenstein (1973) (special effects)Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein (USA)
Estratto dagli archivi segreti della polizia di una capitale europea (1972) (special effects)Tragic Ceremony (USA)
Frankenstein ’80 (1972) (special effects)
Casa d’appuntamento (1972) (special effects) The French Sex Murders (USA)
La notte dei diavoli (1972) (special effects) (as Rambaldi) Night of the Devils (USA)
Reazione a catena (1971) (special effects) (as Rambaldi)Blood Bath (UK)
Una lucertola con la pelle di donna (1971) (special effects)Lizard in a Woman’s Skin
Femina ridens (1969) (special effects)The Laughing Woman (USA)
L’odissea (1968) TV mini-series (special effects)
La strega in amore (1966) (special effects)The Witch in Love
Il boia scarlatto (1965) (special effects makeup)Bloody Pit of Horror (USA)
Hercules and the Princess of Troy (1965) (Monster creator)
Terrore nello spazio (1965) (model maker)Planet of the Vampires (USA)
Perseo l’invincibile (1963) (special effects)
Medusa vs. the Son of Hercules (USA: informal alternative title)
Maciste contro i mostri (1962) (special makeup effects artist) Fire Monsters Against the Son of Hercules
I Giganti della Tessaglia (1961)
Maciste nella terra dei ciclopi/ Atlas Against the Cyclops (1961)
Vengeance of Hercules (1960)
Teseo contro il Minotauro (1960)
Sigfrido (1957) (dragon creator)