Original Critters Movie Prop Conservation

Conservation of an original movie prop Crite puppet from the 1986 film Critters

This original bald Crite foam latex puppet from the 1986 film Critters, arrived to our studio in fairly good condition. But just because a prop isn’t in dire need of repair doesn’t mean that it can’t benefit from conservation. It’s a cliche, but it’s true, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.  Many of the props we’ve worked on over the years, suffer from issues that could be prevented or minimized by getting them conserved early. 

For this Crite puppet prop, our main concern was to get it properly supported on a custom archival insert. This helps to support the fragile foam, and to maintain its shape over time. There was a little bit of cracking to the paint on the critter’s hands, but it’s not an uncommon issue in areas of a movie-used puppet that would’ve moved in the film. That repeated movement weakens the foam and as it ages it can crack, so we did want to patch those missing areas. This serves 2 purposes, the first is that it helps with the aesthetics. The more important purpose is that it helps bind and support the remaining original material and preserve it over time.

The Critter puppets we created by our friends, the extremely talented Chiodo Brothers. When our artists patched the missing areas they were careful to match the original sculpting style. It’s important to make these repairs as seamless as possible so they don’t distract from the Chiodo Brothers original design.

Once the missing areas were patched and the textures matched, we in-painted the restored areas.  Only the patched areas were repainted, leaving as much of the original paint work intact as possible. From there, a simple museum-style base was made and the puppet was displayed upright so he could continue to menace viewers in person just as he did on screen!

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