Saturday, September 29, 2012

Horrorthon Countdown Challenge Day 2! Computers and Monsters!


Good afterdawn! Forgivings, please, as I extra-sized my sleeping today!

Anyway, good morning. It's still morning where I am. More than that, let's remember that HORRORTHON starts at midnight TOMORROW. Throw off the shackles of boring old September!

For today's chattertop, I wondered if there's anything new to add to our forever ongoing discussion about Computer Generated Images in movies and whether or not they can ever be scary. The concensus among us has always gone back to the perceived threat -- when you can tell something isn't really there, it's hard to find the fear. I feel the same way.

As CG gets older and better (presumably), can the situation be improved? The reasons one can tell a CG element isn't really there can fall under two general categories 1) flaws in the reproduction of reality, the usual tell being the unreal nature of CG character animation, or 2) the fact that the viewer knows it can't be there because such things don't exist.

My guestion is, can improvements in the former category ever overcome the latter? Can you think of a CG monster that you found effective? Maybe even scary?

If the answer's an overwhelming "NO," let's cite some of our favorite fails on the matter.

And for some interesting background on the subject, check out the Cracked article The 7 Most Common CGI Screw-Ups (Explained). Very helpful and informative, and filled with things you know you've seen but maybe didn't know how to identify.

Monsters!

Ghost monsters!

Horrorthon!

5 comments:

Octopunk said...

So here are the examples that have been kicking around as possible achievements in Computer Generated scary:

The monster in The Host. I think if any kind of critter's going to bust through this reality/fear barrier, it's going to be really big monsters like that thing or bigger.

The Cloverfield monster comes to mind, as do the little mites that fell off of it. Bearing in mind that I'm on record as hating the design of the big monster, are there scary moments in that movie that have to do with laying eyes on the bugger? Or are the best moments when it's offscreen but the impact of its actions are oncscreen? And how about those mites?

Jurassic Park does come to mind, but I don't think it counts as so much of those dinos were practical puppets; the scariest moments would count as puppet cred.

Also the inky ghost thing in the 1999 remake of House on Haunted Hill. I'm trying and failing to find video of it.

Octopunk said...

Monsters would be a great example of great direction generating good fear, but the monstes themselves falling short.

Trollhunter, that could be a winner.

JPX said...

I agree with your examples but overall I hate CGI in horror when it comes to anything outside of the monster genre. I remember how disappointed I was when The Grudge came out. The CGI completely deflated the first "scare" (i.g. CGI ghost hair spreading across the ceiling) and NEVER once did the film give me any chills. I also DESPISE CGI blood. It NEVER looks convincing, nor does fire. I'll take practical effects over CGI anytime!

AC said...

maybe i'm being overly optimistic, but for myself personally, i think sufficient improvement in cgi quality could make for a genuinely scary experience. if my eye is truly fooled, then my brain is happy to go along for the ride. just because cgi hasn't accomplished that level of apparent realness yet (in terms of monsters) doesn't mean it isn't possible. i think within 5-10 years my eyes at least will be sufficiently foolable, and once that barrier is crossed then just imagine the possibilities for horror... a really good take on a lovecraft monster? i might never sleep again.

Catfreeek said...

Oh man cgi blood is the worst! I do enjoy cgi when it's done well