Muppets and ‘Sesame Street’ Push ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’

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All the animatronics in bright pink on the Five Nights at Freddy's poster

Credit: Blumhouse Productions

Five Nights at Freddy’s (2023) is the horror movie on everyone’s lips, but the long-awaited film wouldn’t be possible without a little help from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.

Foxy, Chica, Freddy Fazbear, and Bonnie on a dimly lit stage in Five Night's At Freddy's
Credit: Blumhouse Productions

Regardless of whether or not they’ve played the long-running video game series by Scott Cawthon, it’s a safe bet to say that many have become well aware of Freddy Fazbear, Bonnie, Chica, and Foxy the Pirate, as well as the terrifying tale of a certain perilous pizza place. However, they might not be aware of their connection to characters like Kermit and Elmo.

Related: ‘Five Nights At Freddy’s’ Director Defends Controversial Hit Film

The success of any FNAF media depends entirely on the possessed animatronics that have jump-scared so many players in the past decade alone. Bringing them to life on the big screen with practical effects was a good choice, but to say that the artists behind the Muppets and the denizens of Sesame Street would be involved was completely unexpected.

Five Nights Courtesy of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop

The Muppets gathered together on a white background
Credit: The Jim Henson Company

Jim Henson’s Creature Shop is responsible for a multitude of monsters and strange beings on the big and small screen. Although the company’s cinematic achievements include such projects as The Dark Crystal (1982), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005), and the recent FNAF adaptation, most audiences already know them for bringing to life Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and all their friends of fur and felt.

Related: ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ Already a Box Office Smash

The point-and-click horror franchise was likely many a young gamer’s introduction to the genre, so it makes sense that the brains behind so many delightful childhood icons would help that transition into adulthood. Given the studio’s track record with animal and monster characters, Freddy Fazbear and his friends was a no-brainer.

Emma Tammi, director of Five Nights at Freddy’s, had this to say regarding the shop’s portrayal of the characters,

“The Henson creatures tend to have such a soul, for lack of a better word. I felt like that would really draw the younger audience in as well as the adults. That was really an exciting part of it, I think, nailing something that would embody child wonderment as well as the scares and the creep factor. In terms of overall tone, we knew we were aiming for a PG-13 rating so that we could be inclusive of those younger audiences.”

Bonnie, Freddy Fazbear, and Chica all standing onstage in Five Nights at Freddy's
Credit: Blumhouse Productions

Unlike characters such as the Skeksis, Roald Dahl’s Grand High Witch, or even David Bowie’s army of goblins in Labyrinth (1986), the lore is what makes these characters so terrifying. That said, the mix of cuddly and creepy brought by the Creature Shop pushes things completely over the edge.

Related: Sneak Peek: Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNAF) Review

It’s safe to say that if these creatures were done by anyone else or even CGI, the reputation that comes with the film’s characters wouldn’t nearly be what it is with fans today. The filmmakers definitely made the right call when it came to their special effects. After all, how many studios can say they’re in the business of making monsters?

What did you think of the live-action version of Freddy Fazbear’s animatronics? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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