Cover image for Encyclopedia of movie special effects
Encyclopedia of movie special effects
Netzley, Patricia D.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Phoenix, Ariz. : Oryx Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xi, 291 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR858 .N48 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



From the earliest stop-motion photography in 1899's Cinderella to computer-generated wizardry in the latest Star Wars movie, special effects have thrilled movie audiences for more than a century. The Encyclopedia of Movie Special Effects is a 5-star fan favorite that explains the magic behind these cinematic devices. This A-to-Z encyclopedia unveils the latest techniques and gadgetry inside a comprehensive reference work about the history of special effects. Entries on computer techniques, movie secrets, and the geniuses who have brought the magic to the big screen make this single volume a Hollywood hit. This encyclopedia lists movies that either contributed significantly to the development of special effects or were Academy Award winners, and spotlights over 120 well-known experts whose techniques, developments, and special effects houses have contributed significantly to the movie industry:

Author Notes

PATRICIA D. NETZLEY is a freelance writer who has published nonfiction for children, young adults, and adults. Her publications include The Assassination of President Kennedy

he Importance of Queen Victoria

e Mysterious Death of Butch Cassidy

d Life During the Renaissance.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Today, for a movie to make it to the big screen without at least some special effects is unusual. As this encyclopedia shows, special effects are no longer just limited to the science-fiction genre. The work provides a detailed and compelling look at the special-effects industry from the earliest contributions to movies to the latest developments. All of the entries are arranged alphabetically, either by the movie title, person, or topic. The concentration is on the best the industry has to offer, from Oscar-winning movies and people to technology and standards. Movies examined include 2001: A Space Odyssey, Jurassic Park, and Titanic. People include John Dykstra, Alfred Hitchcock, and Michael Westmore. Techniques include computer animation, scanning, and traveling matte. The length of the entries depends on the topic being discussed. The Star Wars movies get six pages, whereas Stargate barely merits a page. Some of the entries have a list of further readings and are heavily cross-referenced. The entry on Industrial Light and Magic includes a comprehensive list, by year, of the movies ILM has worked on. The work is rounded out by well-arranged topical and general indexes and by three useful appendixes: Academy Award Winners and Nominees for Special Effects, Special Effects Magazines, and Special Effects Houses (arranged by general specialty). This encyclopedia is a useful addition to any general film collection.

Library Journal Review

An incredible treasury of f/x facts, this volume provides 366 entries on visual, mechanical, and makeup effects and techniques used in film and includes discussions of every movie to win an Oscar for special effects. Some attention is given to significant figures in the field, such as George Pal, but the focus is predominantly on films of the modern era, noting techniques and milestones without burdening the reader with technical jargon. Netzley, the author of several reference books, including Environmental Literature (see the review below), adds useful appendixes on Academy Award winners and nominees, special-effects houses, and specialized magazines. With illustrations, cross references, and numerous secondary bibliographies throughout, this encyclopedia has a scope and quality that no other f/x reference work approaches. It should serve as a good companion to such specialized magazines as Cinefex and Digital Magic. Highly recommended for all film collections.--Anthony J. Adam, Prairie View A&M Univ. Lib., Houston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Despite their importance to filmmaking, special effects are marginalized in print coverage. Fans and professionals are limited to magazines like Cinefex (1980- ) and American Cinematographer (1920- ), while scholarly writing on effects is practically nonexistent. This encyclopedia is therefore unique. Its 366 entries, arranged alphabetically, are written for general readers, and many offer suggestions for further reading. Every movie to win an Academy Award for special effects receives an entry, as do movies that advanced the development of special effects. Each movie entry discusses the creation of its special effects, and there are entries for special effects houses, individuals (e.g., makeup artists, creature designers, directors), techniques, equipment, and concepts (e.g., bluescreen process, matte paintings). The entries are supplemented by appendixes that list Academy Award winners and nominees for special effects 1939-98, special effects magazines, and special effects houses. A bibliography cites primarily fan and professional periodicals. An introductory topical index proves handy, as does the concluding index. Although Netzley's encyclopedia favors recent films and postproduction special effects, these are less shortcomings than useful criteria for coverage. Recommended for any collection supporting film. N. A. Baker; Earlham College



The only reference of its kind, Encyclopedia of Movie Special Effects is a comprehensive survey of the history of special effects. This A-to-Z resource features more than 360 entries that describe the tools and techniques used to create cinema's most spectacular effects, profile the artists who have contributed to their development, and highlight the films considered to be benchmarks of the art. The volume also covers more than 120 familiar and lesser-known experts whose techniques have made great strides in special effects. Three appendixes--listing Academy Award¨ winners and nominees for special effects from 1939 to 1998, special effects magazines, and special effects houses--offer additional insight into this fascinating topic. Among the filmmakers, movies, and topics covered are: Bluescreen process Tim Burton Computer animation Forrest Gump Jim Henson Independence Day Invisibility Jurassic Park King Kong Stanley Kubrick George Lucas Makeup The Matrix Pyrotechnics The Star Trek films Technicolor 2001: A Space Odyssey. Excerpted from Encyclopedia of Movie Special Effects by Patricia D. Netzley All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. v
Topical Indexp. vii
Encyclopedia of Movie Special Effectsp. 1
Appendix A Academy Award Winners and Nominees for Special Effects (1939-1998)p. 249
Appendix B Special Effects Magazinesp. 258
Appendix C Special Effects Housesp. 259
Bibliographyp. 263
Indexp. 269