Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sleestaks still freak me out

By Anthony Breznican, USA TODAY

Get back! It's a Sleestak attack!

Fans of the kitschy adventure series Land of the Lost will remember these villainous lizard creatures with the single horn and giant eyes. The latest evolution of the species is preparing to menace Will Ferrell in a big-screen remake.

The Land of the Lost film is now shooting on multiple sound stages at Universal Studios, and the Sleestak surface in a temple where Ferrell's character and his two companions (comedian Danny McBride, Pushing Daisies' Anna Friel) are hoping a giant crystal will return them to their own dimension.

The plot involves three adults (not a dad and two kids as on TV) accidentally thrust into a realm ruled by dinosaurs, monkey-men called Pakuni and the murderous Sleestak.

Director Brad Silberling (Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events) says he fought to keep the human shape of the Sleestak from Sid & Marty Krofft's original production, and not give into the urge to render them as spindly computerized beings.

In the '70s TV show, they were guys in lime-green pajamas — and looked it. The Sleestak are much sleeker now, but the film is largely a comedy, so the guy-in-a-suit look has its charms, Silberling says. "There is a sense of humor that I loved from the original show that can only come from an actor trying to negotiate the suit. If it became CG, they'd be too perfect. For the Sleestak to remain in people's memories, it tells you that it was about who was in the suit."

One difference: Instead of toting crossbows, the Sleestak draw quills from their spines and fire them like arrows.

Marty Krofft says nostalgia is a major part of the movie's appeal: "I think they'll cheer when they see the Sleestaks."


Octopunk said...

The decision to keep them as guys in suits and not CG is AWESOME. Sure to aid the freakout factor.

They hissed all the time, too. Right? Freaky.

The only change I would make is giving them feet that aren't so dang huge. Those guys had huge feet. I never really noticed until a Sleestak appeared in a barber shop on some sketch show. It was either Donnie and Marie or one of those prime-time shows they'd have sometimes to introduce the new Saturday-morning lineup (which is where I saw Kiss the first time).

God I'm rambling. Back to bed for me!

That is a particularly good Sleestak pic.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

What was that about KISS? Were you all like "Who are these god-like hard rockers and why do they rule so much?"

Did they have Sleestak action figures?

JPX said...

No, but they SHOULD have Sleestak action figures.

Octopunk said...

Okay I'm actually awake now. I left out the punchline. The barber shop sketch involved some funny person barber dealing with some weird customer, probably a werewolf, and then at the end ANOTHER weird customer shows up, ha ha, and it's a Sleestak. The last shot of the sketch had the Sleestak sitting in the barber chair, and he crosses one leg over the other in a relaxed pose and by doing so aims the bottom of his foot right at the camera. And his foot is HUGE.

Does anyone else remember these variety specials that would introduce the Saturday cartoon lineup for the upcoming fall? Often Soupy Sales would be on them. I recall him opening a special saying he didn't get hit in the face with pies so much anymore but he was getting pulled offstage by big gorilla arms a lot more often.

The one with KISS was hosted by the witch from Wizard of Oz teaming up with Witchie-Poo from H.R. Puffenstuf. One of the witches complimented KISS on their makeup and Gene Simmons said "We don't wear makeup" in a scary voice.

I also remember Darth Vader showing up for one of these. It was the year they launched "Captain Caveman and the Teenangels" and Darth demanded " a Teenangel?"

Anyone with me on this?

JPX said...

I think you watched television in some sort of alternate universe. What the hell are you talking about?