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MVPs of Horror: Why test audiences initially laughed at the monsters in 'A Quiet Place'

·Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
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The vast majority of major studio movies are shown to public test audiences for early feedback — and in some cases, they are tweaked dramatically as a result.

With A Quiet Place, though, Paramount’s sleeper horror hit about a dystopian future where blind creatures hunt by sound and have seemingly wiped out most of humanity, the producers’ one attempt at “toe-dipping” it for reactions didn’t pan out so well.

That’s because the visual effects weren’t yet completed, and as producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Purge) revealed to Yahoo, a very small group of test viewers instead caught glimpses of co-writer-director-star John Krasinski in a gray motion-capture suit (and sneakers), doubling as the attacking monster.

“So whenever the alien would come onscreen, people would laugh, because it’s John playing him,” said Fuller (watch above). “You can’t say, ‘Pretend that’s an alien’ to a test audience.”

What made it worse/more hilarious: You could see the Vans sneakers that Krasinski (The Office, Jack Ryan) was wearing in scenes where he played the monster, like one in which he corners Emily Blunt’s and Millicent Simmonds’s characters in the basement.

“As hard as you try to tell an audience, ‘Please, we understand all the visual effects aren’t in, but that will be the creature,’ it’s impossible,” said Form. “It just is. Someone’s gonna laugh, and it just kind of breaks everything. So it was a very hard movie to test, so we only put it up the one time and then we stopped.”

The main reason that Form and Fuller didn’t have completed scenes to show audiences was because the creation of the film’s quick-moving monsters proved such a challenge.

“The development went all the way through postproduction. This was a hard one for us,” admitted Form. “In preproduction we had the artist going, and we thought we had landed on a design right before filming. And then we made the big [cardboard] cutout that you have on set of what the creature’s head would look like. And then halfway through shooting, John and I were talking about it and it just wasn’t landing for us. And then we went back to the drawing board.”

It wasn’t until the movie was already being edited that they landed on a final look for the monster, which put the renowned special-effects house ILM under the gun to finish in time for the movie’s world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival.

Suffice to say, they lost the Vans.

Update (Oct. 26): Krasinski confirmed to us on Twitter that the footage does still exist. Though it’s “currently locked away in a vault… without a key,” he joked (we think).

Watch John Krasinski and Emily Blunt reveal the hardest scene to shoot in A Quiet Place:

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