How’d They Do That?

How’d They Do That? is a monthly column in which Meg Shields unpacks moments of movie magic and celebrates the technical wizards who pulled them off.

If you’re new to reading this column, we suggest starting with these entries:

Explore the entire How’d They Do That? archive below

Russian Ark long take

How They Shot ‘Russian Ark’ in One Take With No Hidden Cuts


“In hindsight, it couldn’t have worked. But it did.” – producer Jens Meurer

Pinhead Poster Box

How They Did the “Birth of Frank” Sequence in ‘Hellraiser’


Pull yourself together!

Videodrome Television Effect

How They Did the “Breathing Television” Effect in ‘Videodrome’


Long live the New Flesh and pucker up! Here’s a breakdown of what went into the “breathing television effect” in ‘Videodrome.’

Psycho Rear Projection Shot

How Does Rear Projection Work?


Roll plate!

The Blob

Slime and Space Dust: How They Built ‘The Blob’


Horror movies in the 1980s are known for being goopy. So let’s wade into the deep end, shall we?

Contact Young Ellie Mirror

How They Shot the Impossible Mirror Scene in ‘Contact’


Mirror, mirror on the wall what’s the most mind-boggling blue screen effect of them all?

To Live And Die In LA car chase William Peterson

How They Shot the Wrong-Way Car Chase in ‘To Live and Die in L.A.’


We’re going this way. And by “this way” we mean straight towards the latest entry of “How’d They Do That?” with a break down of the audacious wrong-way car chase.

The Thing Chest Effect

Puppets, Prosthetics, and Bubblegum: How They Did The Chest Chomp Scene in ‘The Thing’


In our latest “How’d They Do That?” column, we break down the making of a famous scene from John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing.’

Blood Bed A Nightmare On Elm Street

The Coolest Effect in ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ Was a Bloody Accident


There are happy accidents. And then there’s the time Wes Craven lost control of a rotating room full of blood.