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Apr 30 2011

The Star Wars Cantina

Back when I was just a tiny tot, I once read a children’s “making of” book about Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. One of the facts listed inside was that some of the creatures in the famous cantina scene were actually recycled costumes from horror movies. It made sense to me, especially due to the werewolf-looking alien that briefly makes an appearance. Although disappointed by the book’s lack of information about which aliens came from which movies, I assumed that I’d eventually see the movies the costumes were from someday.

But as the years went by, I became more suspicious of this claim. Despite seeing more horror movies than I can count, I had not seen a single monster in one that looked like one of Mos Eisley patrons. Similarly, searching through numerous official trivia guides and countless websites yielded no reference to reused costumes. Was the fact I had read years ago false?

After much fruitless searching through the IMDB’s trivia pages for each installment of the original trilogy, the trivia section for 1978’s infamous Star Wars Holiday Special had something interesting in it. Apparently, a rat costume from The Food of the Gods was used to create an alien being in the special’s version of the cantina. Perhaps that book from my youth had gotten its cantina facts mixed up?

No, it hadn’t. After much research, I stumbled across proof of horror movie prop repurposing in the classic film. According to this, special effects legend Rick Baker recycled some monster gloves from It’s Alive for one of the aliens. He also reused a furry costume that made for a Halloween show based on The Exorcist given at Bob Burns‘ house and some masks he had made as a fun way to test his skills (which he also used for Halloween)!

In celebration of my finally solving this puzzle after so many years, here’s a song that uses the same title as this article:

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