The room is dimly lit in hues of red and blue. Quiet, menacing music plays in the background.
Suddenly, a slow roar comes from across the large room, making me jump out of fright.
I slowly turn to look for the source of the disconcerting sound, soon realizing it’s only one of the interactive displays in the exhibit.
“The Monsters & Beasts: Hairy, Scary and Unleashed” exhibit at Anaheim’s Muzeo Museum is not just informative about what it takes to make a movie monster — it puts you right in the heart of it.
When I first arrived at Muzeo, I was unsure what to expect. I was immediately greeted by a towering amphibious monster, setting the tone for the rest of the visit. Monsters & Beasts is designed to keep you on your toes — and be ready to run.
While not all of the beasts are terrifying — Gorilla from “George of the Jungle” was actually quite cute — they all took immense effort to create. Academy Award -winning visual effects artist John Cox donated the animatronic monsters from his Creature Workshop.
Visitors to the museum get behind-the-scenes looks at creatures through every stage of production. There are several actual storyboards where you can see Cox’s handwritten notes. After the storyboards come the maquettes, which are small, to scale models of the monsters. Then you see the broken down steps to create the full-size versions.
The range is of the detail is great, showing everything from how every single hair on all of the gorillas in “George of the Jungle” was individually sewn into the suits to how the chords and wires for the animatronic Inspector Gadget are hidden within the pole of the stop sign he runs into.
But the best part? All the interactive portions. They bring out one’s youthful sense of curiosity, not to mention the opportunity to push the big red button and see what happens.
In the span of an hour, I filmed myself controlling the three meter-long crocodile from “Peter Pan,” touched alien organs and mastered Junior the Dinosaur from “Gargantua.” The only downside? Junior, nicknamed “Rex” by the museum’s director of marketing Karen Gee, somehow acts up and roars, all on his own.
Talk about unnerving. But I guess that’s all just part of the magic of this exhibit.