Los Angeles-based visual effects studio creates menacing effects for FOX’s new series.
LOS ANGELES -- Zoic Studios elevates the eerie ambiance with levitating objects and demonic creatures in the new FOX series The Exorcist. The effects were led by Zoic Emmy-nominated VFX Supervisor Jeff Baksinski, who was also on set outside of Mexico City. Zoic’s Culver City and New York offices worked together to pull from their expertise in both creature and gore VFX work for top series including True Blood, Once Upon a Time, Hemlock Grove and Falling Skies, to create the menacing effects for The Exorcist.
Airing Fridays on FOX, the series is based on William Blatty’s 1971 novel of the same name and stars Geena Davis, Ben Daniels (Flesh and Bone, House of Cards) and Alfonso Herrera. Visual effects in the series includes crafting CG creatures, heightening the bloody effects and creating some of the supernatural sequences that could not otherwise be executed practically.
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For the series pilot, the Zoic team worked closely with show creators to craft photorealistic effects that would immerse viewers in the mystery and fear of the show, while still remaining believable. Whenever possible, the team strived to create everything practically, and so it was essential that the effects work serve as a seamless amplification of the chilling plotlines. To bolster one of the initial exorcism scenes, the Zoic team was tasked with creating a realistic-looking floating sequence, levitating the objects surrounding the priest and young boy in the moments leading up to the spiritual practice. With this sequence, and for the series overall, the effects upheld a mystical and abstract aesthetic that remained close enough to reality to elicit a chilling and believable ambiance.
Additional key sequences included creating the ominous Raven, which finds itself aggressively struggling to push through a glass window, but remains stuck with blood and feathers splattering while it frantically tries to escape. The bird was created entirely in CG with significant particle and dynamics work to amplify the carnage and overall frightening nature of the sequence. The Zoic team also augmented the final attic scene with effects work including Casey’s (Hannah Kasulka) invisible hand crushing the spine of an unfortunate CG rat, rig removals on Casey’s possessed stalking of Father Thomas (Herrera) as well as her resulting “stroke” when her initial possession comes to an end. The series also calls for the creation of additional creatures throughout, including CG rats, as well as the amplification of fire, smoke and ash effects, to heighten the level of practical effects captured in principal photography.