Jan 12th 2011 By Dan Solomon
Monsters are going to be hot in 2011. Everyone from Kanye West
to J.J. Abrams
agrees, and so does Derek Tonks, a 17-year-old from Pomona, Calif., who's using the fund-raising website Kickstarter to finance the creation of a new, full-size, Predator-like wearable monster suit
The outfit isn't exactly your average Halloween costume -- the suit includes 12-inch "digitigrade" stilts, which allow the wearer's legs to bend at an unnatural angle, as well as mechanical hands to give extra-long fingers, while the body is crafted from foam latex sculpted in fiberglass molds, to be filled with animatronics that articulate the face via remote-control servo motors.
All of which equals pro-quality special effects, created by a 17-year-old in his parents' garage. Keep reading to see pictures of some of Tonks' previous work and to learn his plans for what he'll do with the suit when it's finished.
Tonks brings a teenager's sense of humor to the monster. He tells Asylum, "When this thing is built, a couple of my buds and I will be driving around just to see people's reactions. I think it's safe to say that our behavior will overflow to parties, parking garages to creep people out, and most definitely Halloween night."
That could combine in cool ways with the Kickstarter concept, in which people who donate funds to the project receive unique incentives. Right now, Tonks offers rewards ranging from how-to DVDs for a $25 contribution, to a full-size, wearable monster head of your own for $650, but if a sponsor wanted to kick in the right amount, he'd be willing to fly to your town and jump out of, say, your boss's bushes while clad head-to-toe in a film-grade latex monster outfit. In fact, he's enthusiastic about the idea.
"Heck yes!" he tells Asylum. "That'd be super-sweet, if we can get the costume there safe and I don't encounter legal fees from heart attacks."