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Javier Botet: Horror’s Most Terrifying Special Effect!

There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile.

That is the beginning of the children’s nursery rhyme that paves way for a frightening appearance from “The Crooked Man” in James Wan’s The Conjuring 2. Impossibly thin and unnaturally inhuman, the Slender Man-esque Crooked Man is the stuff of nightmares, and while many have praised the genuinely terrifying design of the character, others have criticized Wan for bringing a computer-generated villain to the screen. CGI is enemy number one to the horror fan, and especially since Wan had previously shied away from utilizing the modern technology in a noticeable way, it was indeed somewhat jarring to see him put it to use in the ’70s-set sequel.

Right? Wrong. Because Crooked Man was played by a real man. His name is Javier Botet, and this isn’t the first time us horror fans have mistaken his work for the work of digital effects artists.

I’ve seen a few critics refer to a Conjuring 2 character as CGI or stop-motion,” Wan tweeted out this week, “but is in fact played by the incredible, and very real, Javier Botet. [He] creates amazing movements with his body. Like a living, jittery, stop-motion puppet. All done in-camera.”

Born on July 30th, 1977 in Cuidad Real, Spain, Javier Botet suffers from Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that is characterized by tall statures, slender frames, and elongated limbs and digits. Measuring 6-feet, 7-inches tall and weighing just over 100-pounds, the double-jointed actor has used his condition to become a bona fide icon in the horror genre, responsible for more nightmares in recent years than any other actor who has attempted to, well, give us nightmares.

It was back in 2007 that Botet played Nina Medeiros in the Spanish found footage film [REC], showing up at the end of the movie for an appearance that may have been brief but nevertheless resulted in one of the most frightening scenes in the past decade. The mere sight of a fully exposed Botet, bathed only in the green glow of a night-vision camera, was enough to send chills up the spine and solidify [REC] as one of the scariest horror films in recent years. It’s a role nobody but Botet could’ve possibly played, and the same can be said for his subsequent roles within the horror genre – all of which, we have no doubt, have resulted in you losing some sleep.

Javier Botet was made the star of the show in 2013’s Mama, filling the titular role of an aggrieved mother who died many years prior. Like The Conjuring 2, the Andres Muschietti-directed Mama was criticized for its computer-generated villain, though fans familiar with Botet recognized that he was the man underneath the mask. And while digital effects were no doubt utilized to add little bells and whistles to the character, including her flowing hair, it was mostly Botet’s performance that made it onto the screen – for proof, you’ll find a super creepy movement test below.

Just last year, Guillermo del Toro took to social media to let the world know that the visually stunning ghosts in Crimson Peak were played by actors who were enhanced with CGI, contrary to popular belief, and you’ve probably gathered by now that it was once again Javier Botet who was responsible for much of the confusion. Botet played the ghosts of Enola, Margaret, and Pamela.

More recently, Botet’s one-of-a-kind work was seen in this year’s The Other Side of the Door, an otherwise unremarkable film that is highlighted by his performance as the four-armed creature known as Myrtu. For whatever reason, the character is mostly kept off screen and hidden with quick cuts, but nothing about the movie shines brighter than Botet’s contribution to it.

Check out some of Botet’s creatures below, along with the aforementioned Mama screen test!

javier botet mama

Javier Botet mama

mama botet

botet crimson peak

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botet crimson peak 2

botet other side



  • Mr. Dry

    It’s so good you gave Botet an article, he scared the shit out of me as La niña Medeiros in Rec. And he seems to be really committed to our genre, love him.

  • J Jett

    i had no idea that that was him (as the woman spirit/demon thing) in OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR (terrible movie by the way but Botet did a great job in it). it’s a shame that (just like in THE THING 2011) Botet’s genuinely creepy/excellent practical fx imagery was covered up with over-done/silly cgi in MAMA.

  • Vandral ‘Betty’ Retard

    this should be my job!

  • zombie84_41

    I want meet him

  • That movement test is creepier than the real Mama

  • Vader the White

    That movement test is still one of the freakiest things I’ve ever seen.

  • Metal-Frank

    Another amazing movie that Mr. Botet acted in (with a notably larger role than the movies mentioned in this article) was WITCHING AND BITCHING. Great movie, great script, very fun. Definitely worth checking out.

    • I second that. And it’s on Netflix, no?

    • J Jett

      Metal-Frank, thanx for the movie recommendation! i’ve never seen that movie but i’m going to check it out now. it looks really good!

  • THGrimm

    Regardless of this man and his unique condition and skills, the CGI used in his look is atrocious. I saw the Conjuring 2 on Monday and the Crooked Man looked pretty bad. Actual makeup is the way to go if you’re going to see someone up close. Same goes with Mama.

  • “Enhanced with CGI”. That’s the problem, it’s too much CGI. As others said, the movement test video for Mama is scarier than the movie, and Javier scariest role to date is Niña Medeiros, the CGI is not really necessary. But yes, with or without CGI, I’m still watching anything he’s in.

  • GinsuVictim

    In [Rec], he freaked me the fuck out. Then it blew me away to find out that it was an actual person. I’ve been a fan ever since.

  • Lindsay-Ann Morrison

    Oh goody, so the only point I actually *screamed* at during the Conjuring 2 was an actual person……..

  • Howard Gorman

    This REC photo has me laughing every time. The REC book over here in Spain they released has some amazing photos. Well worth a purchase.

    • Skrub Tre

      Un-possessed cute girl: OMG SELFEEEEE!!!
      Possessed, not-so-girl: *sigh* Why do you always do this to me Vanessa?

  • Steven Mundinger

    This guy is a boss, seriously. Instead of letting a disorder like that get him down, he made the best out of it and now look, he’s in tons of my favorite movies 😀 That’s an awesome attitude to have!

  • James Allard

    IF there is no way to stop it, and IF they were insistent… then we have a new Tall Man.
    IF. Hopefully there will be no IF.

  • Javier Botet is amazing but the CGI in his face and outfit destroyed the Crooked Man character in The Conjuring 2, he could be an amazing and scary character like the Nun.

  • C4H8O

    Mr. Botet is amazing. Ever since I saw the trailer for “Mama” and saw the movie afterwards, I was intrigued as to who did the role for the ‘mother’. Then I was surprised to know that he’s also in the Conjuring 2. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but some are already saying that the CGI was a bit too much for his character in the movie. Nevertheless, after reading this article, I could only praise him more.

  • Evan3

    This is awesome! Thanks for highlighting such a unique and talented actor.

  • Ted C

    Just goes to show you how horror movies continually reuse the same tropes over and over again. THe man is basically playing the same thing in all these movies.

  • Wow…that is something I did not know!Awesome!

  • Satria Sastromihardjo

    that is amazingly creepy!! cool!!

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