Landis lends hand at U theme park

Cinesphere Spectacular debuts at Universal Studios

Helmer John Landis has helped to create a new attraction celebrating Hollywood film history at Universal Orlando.

Bowing on Saturday, Cinesphere Spectacular combines special effects, pyrotechnics and digital mapping technology with giant spheres floating in a lagoon onto which clips from more than 100 films are projected, set to soundtracks from the films’ scores.

Landis was approached by Jim Timon, senior VP of entertainment for Universal Orlando Resort, to choose the clips to form the Hollywood montage.

“You want an emotional response and that shows the power of film,” Landis said.

Some of his choices — like Cary Grant — were nixed by U Orlando execs, but in stayed the likes of W.C. Fields, Laurel and Hardy and older horror clips with Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney.

At a run-through Wednesday, Landis said some audience responses surprised him — particularly the welcome for the late John Belushi’s perf in the clip of the nearly 30-year-old “Animal House,” which Landis helmed.

Otherwise, Landis said he is sticking to two-dimensional formats for his own work.

His “Deer Woman” contribution to the Masters of Horror series was just released on DVD, and he has wrapped his next installment, “Family,” set to air on Showtime in October.

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