There is a whole list of incredible, iconic props used on TV and in films. Fun fact, the lightsaber from the original Star Wars film cost about $12 to make. To give you a comparative price on the value of Disney, it costs $200 to create your own lightsaber at Disney’s Star Wars themed park. In this list, you can find 5 props that were supposed to be fake movie props but wound up being real for one reason or another.
1. Young Frankenstein
The film Young Frankenstein is a parody of the 1931 classic Frankenstein film and follows the adventures of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, the nephew of the original Dr. Victor Frankenstein. As a result of wanting to stick to the original, director Mel Brooks, tracked down Kenneth Strickfaden, the man who made the props for the original 1931 film. When Strickfaden was finally found, he still had basically the whole original set from Frankenstein just sitting around. He agreed to lend the movie props to Brooks, who naturally had Fox cut Strickfaden a nice fat check. In short, Young Frankenstein is a tribute to classic horror as well as a parody of the 1931 film Frankenstein.
2. The Grey
The Grey was advertised as 120 minutes of Liam Neeson punching some wolves to death. In the end, it was just a tense survival thriller. It’s not a bad film necessarily, but slightly disappointing that it doesn’t live up to the action-packed, wolf-punching adventure that was promised. The movie prop that we’re talking about came up when Neeson admitted in an interview that several real wolf carcasses were used. The director confirmed that these carcasses were used instead of prop wolf bodies and were sourced from a local trapper.
3. Game of Thrones
If you’re a fan of the show, it might haunt you to think about which fake movie prop was used for what. The popular series ran for 8 solid seasons before its finale. One of the most surprising and perhaps disturbing examples of a real prop being used in lieu of a fake movie prop is the deer that is gutted by Tywin Lannister’s character. Actor Charles Dance had a brief 1 hour training session from a butcher on how to properly clean the animal. In the amount of time it takes to watch an episode of GOT, he learned how to skin an animal, all for that singular episode. The filmmaking process for this show was already intense, now add the fact that some of it was real, can you even imagine!
4. The Godfather
In the iconic scene in The Godfather, a guy gets the worst wake-up call ever, courtesy of a decaying horse’s head against his chest. Now keep in mind, the horse’s head was supposed to be a fake movie prop. Actually, the design team went so far as to securing a prop horse head for director, Francis Ford Coppola, to tell them he didn’t want it in the film because it didn’t look realistic enough. So, the production crew just got a real one from a nearby dog food factory. Nobody told the actor that the horse’s head was real and as a result, what you see is a 100% genuine reaction.
5. The Shining
Fake movie props are used all the time. Directors will use fake money, they get props solely designed for film, and fake furniture for action scenes etc. However, in the Shining, a cult classic, the iconic door scene where Jack Nicholson goes at it with the axe was shot several times. This was because they started out using a fake movie prop door. But, he cut too quickly through the prop door and it killed the nail-biting tension of the scene. So, director Stanley Kubrick said bring in the real door! Several takes were still taken on account of Nicholson’s strength and his brief training as a fire marshal because he kept cutting through it so quickly. The final take was one in which Nicholson was more fatigued, slightly slower, but nonetheless fantastic.