This Short Documentary Digs Deep Into Some of Total Recall's Most Memorable Visual Effects

Get your ass to Mars, or just to a computer to watch this great video.
Get your ass to Mars, or just to a computer to watch this great video.
Photo: TriStar

When Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 film Total Recall was released, some of the people who worked on the film’s visual effects didn’t even get their names in the credits. That’s how little even the people making the movie knew about an industry that was still in its infancy.


However, when the film went on to win a special achievement Oscar for visual effects, that slowly began to change, and on the home video release, those names were added. That’s just one of the great stories in this excellent 23-minute documentary on the film’s visual effects courtesy of Studio Canal.

The video doesn’t talk about all the film’s effects though. It focuses specifically on the miniature work used to create the surface of Mars, and the innovative way an X-ray machine would become a set piece. Check it out below.

If you want to hear more about how the company that did the skeleton sequence, Metrolight Studios, was improperly credited on the theatrical release of Total Recall—a mistake later corrected on the home video release—that starts at about 20:15 in the above video.

Thanks to the Art of VFX for the heads up.

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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo. Formerly of Premiere, EW, Us Weekly, and Slashfilm. AP Award-Winning Film Critic and CCA member. Loves Star Wars, posters, Legos, and often all three at once.


gah I fuckin’ love Recall so much. Paul Verhoven is just THE man.

I would kill to see the crazy Dutch bastard direct something like a hard R Nextwave movie for Marvel.