Moon Mining: Creature-Feature-Aholic

Moon Mining 002

Above is the massive alien puppet design for a music video project being worked on currently.

King Kong Italian Poster

The official 1933 King Kong poster from Italy. [1]

Make It Bigger! More Teeth!

Whether it be giant kaiju facing off downtown in some conveniently large and busy Utopian city, or a lost alien being wreaking havoc in a slick and eerie sci-fi/horror, ever since I was a small child I have always had an undying lust for all monster movie tropes. When bringing fantasy creatures to life in media, viewers receive a sort of “Twilight Zone” look into the unknown. Fiction becomes madly radical, comparisons to our real world bend across surrealist planes, and the impossible suddenly becomes possible at last.  It seems like it has been done in almost every way, shape or form, but continues to draw in ticket sales. Why, you might ask? People absolutely love ’em.

In Their Own Worlds, Not So Much…

Even a quick glance at old cartoon-y drawings, or recent projects I have been working on (such as Gongbat, Eontrip, or even a surrealist music video), and you will realize immediately: this guy is off his rocker for gargantuan, other-worldly creatures. From a 50-foot tall alien crushing an entire forest (and not in any aggression towards Smokey Bear nor Pandora), to Wishbone, a retro boss-fight melded out of something between a washing machine and ancient possessed bones, large beasts of any sorts have always slithered their way into my crazy fantastical worlds. They encompass life larger than the big screen itself. Blake Snyder even went above and beyond in his screenplay teaching methodology to give them a spot in his 10 self-articulated plot genres (being the “Monster in the House”). This insanely popular (with both writers and box office) character driven story technique never fails to amaze, and give wonderful special effects artists and designers such as Stan Winston jobs until time unravels.

The Iron Giant by Brian Level

The Iron Giant, by Brian Level. [2]

Gongbat - Wishbone Boss

Wishbone is a massive robotic-spirit boss appearing in my own project, Gongbat.

The Elephant in the Room

As previously mentioned Blake Snyder (a comedy screenwriter and mentor alike) could not help but revel in the appeal of these “tall” tales, bringing about audience relation and emotional value stems from one of two paths. Either the giant beast must scare the living daylights out of viewers, causing an extreme disorder while upping the stakes for well developed characters around them, or the 25-foot gorilla who seemed so hellbent on the destruction of mankind must justify itself in a personified fashion.


Aliens - Ripley vs Queen

Ripley takes on a Queen Xenomorph in Aliens. [3]

Is It Human, or the Thing?

Mowing through actors alongside the main cast brings a primitive association with survival, which anyone, anywhere, of any time should be able to empathize with in some form. We are talking about “edge-of-your-seat” suspense when a giant T-Rex is seen viciously chasing a ragtag family all over a haywire theme park, or Godzilla is battling another three-headed space dragon in a city you may very well have visited. Perhaps a giant shark has been circling the waters of Amity Island chewing up teenagers like candy, and there is nothing left for the protagonists to do but take on the monster. Whatever the case, this method of plot relation draw will grip viewers intensively, and if done correctly, establish some of the most memorable characters of all time.

Peter Jackson's King Kong - Ann and Kong

Ann relates with Kong on top of the Empire State Building in Peter Jackson’s King Kong. [4]

On the opposite end of the spectrum, giving these creatures a human quality in understanding their past, motives, and actions allows the audience to connect. In movies like King Kong, many of the characters see this enormous threat afoot, smashing dinosaurs, cars, and just about anything that gets in its way. Yet, when correctly written, the audience sees something else. Out of a shimmer of light- maybe not even noticed upon first viewing-the feeling has stewed to a radiant bubble deep in your chest. They can reminisce with the line used to masterfully close the film, “Beauty, beauty killed the beast,” as they have been there the whole way. They see the human qualities our huge antagonist has succumbed to; they can relate the love it feels just as you and I. It’s this humanization of otherworldly beings that makes them stick- even become centerpieces of classic stories.

Imitation As Flattery

I have gladly enjoyed both an Aliens action thriller, as well as stories of a building-high robot who becomes a young child’s best friend and hero. As long as these tales are sch-peeled correctly (which can be climatically analyzed and formulated, as briefly fronted here) with their own charms and creations, creature-features are an infinite source of dexterous cinema magic, with wowing special effects to boast and bear. And given all of this information, lessons learned since childhood, they continue to heavily inspire my own ideas, writing, and projects in ways of plenty.

Your friendly neighborhood game developer creature-feature-aholic,

-Zack


Citations:

1. RKO Radio Pictures. “File:King Kong 1933 Italian Poster.jpg.” Wikimedia Commonshttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:King_Kong_1933_Italian_poster.jpg

2. Level, Brian. “The Iron Giant.” Art Vault, bear1na Tumblr, 15 Nov. 2014, https://bear1na.tumblr.com/post/102648138149/the-iron-giant-by-brian-level

3. Wienecke, Sebastian. “Lights Out Und Andere Horrorfilme- Lasst Eure Monster Lieber Im Schatten.” Moviepilot.de, 5 Aug. 2016, https://moviepilot.de/news/lights-out-lasst-eure-monster-in-horrorfilmen-lieber-im-schatten-176175

4. “Peter Jackson’s King Kong Was A Beautiful, Messy Tragedy.” Den of Geek, 9 Mar. 2017, https://denofgeek.com/us/movies/king-kong/262766/peter-jackson-s-king-kong-was-a-beautiful-messy-tragedy

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