I certainly hope so. Don't get me wrong. I think CGI can be an excellent tool and accomplish amazing things when it's not overused or abused, which is quite rare, but I grew up on Aliens, John Carpenter's The Thing, Predator, The Terminator, etc. so for me, nothing comes close to practical FX. I watched Movie Magic all the time as a kid. I loved it to death, and the fact these people could make real, moving monsters was just unbelievably incredible to me. Try to think of a CG werewolf that compares at all to An American Werewolf in London. I can't think of any computer-generated monsters that can stand up to Rob Bottin's phenomenal work on The Thing. I know some types of movies like superhero films probably couldn't be done without CGI, but even in that category, part of the reason why The Dark Knight was so exceptional is Nolan kept the computer effects to a minimum. Look at how little the shark appears in Jaws or how Ridley Scott creatively kept the titular creature hidden so much in Alien. One of the problems with CGI is people don't think there are any limits to it yet time and money are always obstacles so if you don't have the room in your budget to correct a computer effect or enough time to make it as photo-realistic as possible (or you have 500 shots to do when you can only manage 200), you're going to end up with sub-par results. There's just something so much more engrossing and exciting about real stunts and real creatures that physically exist in our world. Actors can give better performances, and filmmakers are forced to deal with real-world limitations, which so often end up improving the final product.
The Harbinger Down Kickstarter was insanely fascinating to me since Alec Gillis actually explained why studios opt for CGI when practical is usually cheaper (and better), and the reasoning blew my mind. They only care about the tax incentives from farming computer effects out to labor in other countries. You can see how the business side of filmmaking has completely overrun Hollywood. Everything has to be a franchise now with a brand name, endless sequels, merchandising tie-ins, and of course, the latest crappy computer effects to wow kids who've never seen practical FX. It's really a shame, but projects like Harbinger Down give me hope. I thought the days of practical-FX creature features were behind us so I'm extremely pleased to see someone pick up the torch. Fire City is another one I'm greatly anticipating, and as long as we've got some filmmakers like Adam Green who insist on using practical (so glad he used real wolves in Frozen and decided not to rely on shitty CG blood in the Hatchet films), there's still a chance the pendulum could swing back in the opposite direction. Ok, that'll never happen, but I can dream, and I'm going to do what little I can to help. I know tons of people like me want to see more practical FX, and thankfully, as already noted, some talented people in the industry like Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr. are pushing for this as well. Plus, you'd think with the popularity of shows like Face Off, more studio executives would get the hint, but obviously, they're blinded by box office numbers. If more and more practical-FX movies come out and do well though, who knows. I just want to see real monsters again. I know they're only one piece in a much larger puzzle. You need a great story and fantastic characters too, but for horror films especially, the FX matter. If Aliens or John Carpenter's The Thing were redone with crappy CGI (wait... The Thing was... yeah, I'm trying to forget the awful prequel), they would definitely lose something. So much of their incredible magic would be gone, and we can't let that happen. At least, not without a fight. If we want to see more practical FX, we've got to support those films. Of course, they need to be quality movies too, but heck, I'd still rather see a flawed practical-FX monster flick than some stupid CG SyFy piece of shit.
So are practical FX making a comeback? Probably not, but dammit, I hope so. I really, really hope so.
P.S. Can someone tell them to stop using CG blood? It sucks.
P.S.S. Why isn't Movie Magic out on DVD?
Writer, Producer, Director, Editor, and FX Artist. I love horror movies and practical FX. Favorites include: Aliens, Scanners, Godzilla 1984, Seven, The Exorcist, John Carpenter's The Thing, RoboCop, Edward Scissorhands, David Cronenberg's The Fly, Oldboy, Unforgiven, Ninja Scroll, etc.