With the tough economic times facing the domestic VFX industry, two veterans have decided to sidestep the studios and try to make an old-school horror movie using a new-media financial model. They’re calling it a “practical creature FX film” and visual effects artists Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. have launched a Kickstarter campaign to make their Harbinger Down film a reality. In the spirit of sci-fi/horror classics Alien and The Thing, Harbinger Down is a tense, claustrophobic full-length creature film that will feature only practical animatronic and makeup effects,” said Gillis. To meet that goal, the duo started crowdfunding this week to raise $350,000 toward making the movie. They’ve already raised $35,548 from 155 backers including one who got him or herself an executive producer credit by donating $10,000. Gillis will write and make his directorial feature debut with the film about a group of environmentally eager grad students who come face to face on the high seas with the terrifying consequences of Soviet space radiation experiments. Millennium star Lance Henriksen is also attached to Harbinger Down.

Gillis and Woodruff most recently worked on the alien creatures effects for the upcoming Ender’s Game. Two decades ago, the duo won an Oscar for their work on the Robert Zemeckis-directed Death Becomes Her and were nominated for Academy Awards for 1992’s Aliens 3 and 1997’s Starship Troopers. If they can reach their financial goal by June 7, the pair will produce Harbinger Down along with Jennifer Tung from their company Studio ADI.