I am a massive fan of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. I have been since I was a kid, and my fascination with it has not faded one little bit. I love the story, the soundtrack, the characters and even David Bowie’s dodgy skintight pants that he wears throughout…
One of the things that I love the most is the sheer magic that is depicted throughout the film – from the Goblin King’s crystals (I promise this is not a euphemism), the very creepy tunnel of hands, to the crazy upside-down 3D maze of steps and ledges in the pre-finale. These fantastical effects are truly amazing and being more curious by nature than a certain Alice, I decided to look into how they came about.
I’ve brought you a gift!
The Goblin King swishing his crystals about are featured throughout the film. They roll flawlessly and almost impossibly from hand to hand in seamless movements, that frankly don’t see humanly possible.
I am not ashamed to admit that as a child I spent a fair bit of time trying to recreate the movements, but all I got for my troubles was one or two flicks of the ball (thankfully not crystal) and a few bruises for my time.
I was starting to think that along with David Bowie’s many other talents that he was also a secret sorcerer – But I was in fact wrong on that count too. The man behind the Crystals is actually the amazing Michael Moschen.
Moschen is used throughout the film and performs these amazing effects blind. He stands behind Bowie and acts as his arm… The below short video from the Henson Company explains it all – and I have to say as frustrated as Moschen appears to be, at least Bowie looks like he is having a good laugh…
She chose down…
The tunnel of hands that Sarah falls down after getting a riddle wrong is one of the creepiest bits of the movie. It is also one of the most visually stunning. The fall or the tunnel is around 40ft and is layered with arms and hands that contort into various positions and grab at Sarah as she falls down, offering to help her, mocking her and scaring her.
When I watched this again recently, I thought to myself that this tunnel of hands must actually be a lot smaller than it looked and was just a few hands replicated…Oh how wrong I was and the Henson Company video below explains it all below – Plus the awesome Jennifer Connelly gives her take on it…
I can’t live Within You…
The scene sound-tracked by David Bowie’s song Within You, where Sarah is trying to find her brother, and Jareth is wandering around a 3D maze of steps and ledges, while singing at Sarah and throwing his crystal around. He stalks Sarah by walking up upside-down steps and even through her. The set for the scene was inspired by the drawings of M.C. Escher and then was brought to life by the genius Jim Henson and his uber talented team.
The below Henson Company video shows how it all came to be, and I have to say looking at the set as a set, rather than how we get to see it in the final version of the film is entirely stunning.
So there you go, a few of the Labyrinth’s secrets revealed. For me this just adds to the magic that is evident throughout the movie and just leaves me even more in awe of Jim Henson and his ability to bring the impossible to life.
If you liked this article, then you will probably like this one too: Check out the most awesome Jareth, ‘Goblin King’ cosplay ever – seeing is truly believing… I still can’t get over how stunning it is!