New CG Feature Aims To Give You the Heebie-Jeebies
Imagine a showdown in the Wild West-except not with a good cowboy and a bad cowboy, but with a good cowboy and a ZOMBIE HILLBILLY!
That's the concept behind Roger Melnick's new production of the first CG Horror/Western: "Uncanny Valley".
"I kept hearing motion capture referred to as 'animated corpses', around the studio, and my first thought was- we need better motion capture. That was expensive, so I came up with the Zombie Hillbilly thing." Melnick says between sips of his Latte at a local coffee hangout.
"I got a bunch of dinner-theater actors into a warehouse, covered them with ping-pong ball suits, and voila!" adds Melnick. "The thing is, because it's all done on the computer, you don't need much in the way of preproduction.
Like none whatsoever.
We had a rough idea of where we wanted people to stand. That we knew. And get them to rock back and forth. THAT'S the key to good motion capture: get your actors to shift their weight constantly, no matter what, so they're always moving. Movement is what animation is all about"
I asked him about the story.
"Well, the cool thing is, westerns practically write themselves. If this was live action, maybe audiences would think they've seen it all before, but do it in animation, and you're looking at a whole new movie. We've also added a comedic element, in that all the zombies have intestinal problems, so when things flag a little, I'm able to zing the audience with a good fart gag."
I asked him about the promotional art for the movie.
"Yeah, that's, uh... hand drawn. Because we...want the look of the actual movie to be a surprise. And the gore? Well, it IS a family film, sure, but we wanted to get the "Fangoria" crowd as well, so there's a little something for everybody. The zombie chick in leather is a shout-out to Russ Meyer. Kids may not get the reference, but they'll instinctively know she's hip."
"As for the voices, we got this guy who's amazing. He does impressions of Gilbert Gottfried, Robin Williams, John Goodman, and Eddie Murphy, so this thing is gonna be like no animated movie you've ever heard before."
"My favorite part is at the end there's a huge dance party! Audiences love that crap!"
"When audiences see what can be done with off-the-shelf software, top quality voice impersonations, and motioncapped actors, I think they will be quite surprised."
That's right folks! When people think motion capture, they'll think: "Uncanny Valley"!