MPC: Icons of Horror – Part 2

October 19, 2022

We’ve been incredibly lucky to partner with the visionary director and master of the fantasy horror genre, Guillermo del Toro, on several projects throughout the years.

Scroll down to find out more about some of our project highlights.


Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark is a can’t-miss horror film based on Alvin Schwartz’s popular generation-traumatizing book series – directed by André Øvredal and produced by Oscar-winning The Shape of Water director Guillermo del Toro. The film is set in 1968 America, in the small town of Mill Valley, where a group of teenagers discover a book that has transcended time – and the stories have a way of becoming all too real.

VFX Supervisor Matt Glover worked with the filmmakers from pre-production through to delivering the final shots, enlisting a team of 240 artists.

“Our biggest task was to help bring these iconic creatures to life,” explained Glover. “Early in pre-production, it was agreed upon to do a fair amount practically – but, each creature would need aspects completely taken over by VFX to bring them fully to life. This was particularly true with the Jangly Man – who would be fully CG in some shots, but would need hero facial animation for all others.”

Find out more in this befores and afters Interview here.


The Strain is a thriller series based on the best-selling vampire novel trilogy from award-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and author Chuck Hogan. The high-concept thriller tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll, House of Cards), the head of the Center for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are battling a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism, The Stragoi.

MPC/MR.X covered all aspects of VFX for The Strain, from planning and filming on-set with the production, to completing the final shots and creating several key effects, such as the CG Worms and “stingers”. The VFX team worked with the producers, showrunners, episode directors and Guillermo del Toro himself to help plan, shoot and determine the required elements and performances to be able to deliver the effects. The team worked on over 3,500 VFX shots between season 1-3.


No stranger to the world of haunting effects work, director Guillermo del Toro recently utilized the worlds of practical makeup effects and digital visual effects for his Crimson Peak tale, most particularly for the film’s ghosts. There were deliberately designed to be grounded in reality, but Del Toro also wanted them to look ‘somewhat ethereal’, according to CG supervisor Chris MacLean.

Guillermo wanted the ghosts to feel like something wasn’t quite right. There was a lot of time spent in production design with Tom Sanders (production designer) getting everything to look Victorian, so we decided to go for practical hybrids for all of the ghosts except one.

As a result, makeup effects supervisor David Marti and DDT Efectos Especiale established practical character and creature builds – to be portrayed by Doug Jones and Javier Botet – with deliberate planning for digital augmentations. For example, the ghost of Margaret McDermott was performed by Botet wearing makeup with a greenscreen section on his head to allow for part of the skull to be removed in post. Other ghost make-up incorporated some tracking markers and greenscreen covered fingers.

Find out more in FX Guide’s Paranormal activity: creating Crimson Peak’s ghosts here.


Produced by Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro and based on the short story by Nick Antosca, Antlers is the bleak story about the insidious nature of trauma that takes the form of the Wendigo who brutally annihilates anyone who happens to come its way.

MPC/ MR.X’s main area of work focused on the Wendigo – a mythological creature originating from the folklore of Plains and Great Lakes Natives as well as some First Nations. Working alongside the filmmakers and Legacy Effects, the team was tasked with creating a full CG digi-double as well as digital augmentations to the terrifying creature.

The cinematographer Florian [Hoffmeister] did a great job of making everything look really haunting and beautiful in-camera, and for the more complicated shots, we all came together to figure out just what we needed to do to get those shots done. There were a series of storyboards, and we would go through them with Scott, the visual effects company, and stunts. The rule that I had was basically, because of the physics of the creature, he couldn’t get off the floor quickly, and he couldn’t go down to the floor quickly, so there were certain shots that had to be fully CGI. The complete character was scanned, and then we would mark on the storyboards: ‘Animatronic creature,’ ‘Animatronic creature insert hand,’ ‘Creature with digital legs,’ ‘Full creature digital,’ and so on. That kind of planning goes way back to the days of Jurassic Park, where we had to figure out what we could do in camera and where we would need to rely on technology. And if you stick to that plan and everyone knows what they need to do, then it works, and you’re all in a pretty good place during production.”

Excerpt from Fangoria Antlers feature with Shane Mahan. Read the full article here.


Guillermo del Toro presents Mama, a supernatural thriller that tells the haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their parents were killed. When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night…

Find out more in IMDB’s featurette, Matriarchal Secrets: The Visual Effects of Mama, here.


Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley doesn’t waste any time telling you what kind of movie it is. The film opens with a slow, patient shot of a man dragging a body across the floor of an empty, decrepit home, only to unceremoniously drop it in a makeshift hole. Moments later, the man, Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper), sets the house — and the body buried within — ablaze.

The message is clear: Nightmare Alley is not a fairytale like The Shape of Water or Pan’s Labyrinth. This is but a film about ugly people, the kind who handle the dead with the same level of consideration one might carry a sack of rotting potatoes. The rest of del Toro’s movie fulfills the promise of its wordless opening scene, delivering a noir horror that seeks to expose the darkest parts of one man’s soul.

MPC/MR.X worked on a whole host of VFX work for the critically acclaimed film.


Master of horror, Guillermo Del Toro, brings to audiences an array of twisted nightmares and violent delights in his new anthology series, Cabinet of Curiosities. The four-day event streaming on Netflix this Halloween season boasts an impressive line-up behind the camera, with the collection of sinister stories being told by some of today’s most revered horror creators, including the directors of The Babadook, Splice, Mandy, and many more.

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