Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Horror! The Horror!

Our friend Steve Kerper forwarded us this trailer which was produced at Laika.

Steve has partnered with the film's producer, Bernie Goldmann on a few projects.

Bernie, who was a producer on "300", initially questioned whether animation was a viable technique for a horror film.

Casting aside the obvious shortcomings of the trailer (the second year Maya student camera work, why are two people sitting in a giant empty space when monsters are hunting them?, how much good will that crowbar do if she's not changing tires?) the question of "appropriate technique" is a good one.

There have been a few feature length animated films to touch on horror. Most notably Satoshi Kon's "Perfect Blue" and the Japanese classic "Vampire Hunter D". The French anthology "Fear of Dark" comes close too. These offer more cerebral scares than the classics of the genre not even approaching the primal fear conjured by "Night of the Living Dead" or "Halloween". Even the psychological terror of films like "Rosemary's Baby" and "Repulsion" is leagues beyond any attempts with animation.

The horror film's power comes from psychology. It comes from the viewer's identification with the actor/character and the subsequent stirring of pity and fear in the viewer.

Animation inherently alienates the viewer from the film -the barriers against that same identification are too high.


Liesje said...

I completely agree with your assessment and add that the 'A.D.' trailer reminded me more of a trailer for an upcoming video game, a medium where animated horror has thrived with Resident Evil, Silent Hill, etc. I'll guess this has something to do with the 'first person' nature of gaming. It's easier to identify with the character, because, well, you are the character. I bet the video game of 'A.D.' does better than the film.

David B. Levy said...

I totally agree. There's no real danger for a character to face in an animated horror film. It just doesn't work. Nathan Love, a company that was at ASIFA-East's CGI panel on Jan 19, presented a test for a horror film they were working on.. and it was very well done, but it didn't cause a single goose bump. An animated horror film can't create the same tension of a live action horror film. It's not an effective use of the medium of animation.

Patrick Smith said...

no way man.. I"M STOKED!!! an animated horror movie!! sweeeeeet.. and it looks effing cool, admit it.

roconnor said...

I'd be first in line behind you, Mr. Smith.

Unfortunately, THE MAN has pulled this from production so we'll have to be content with our Resident Evil games.

In all seriousness, I'd see this movie before a Disney/Pixar/Knockoff.

It may not be the best use of the technique but its at least attempting to reach beyond 8 year old children.