Friday, 30 September 2011

Concepts relating to the story

Sorry I couldn't attend yesterdays meeting.
Blogger wont let me comment on anything in this blog so I'll just make a post on what I wanted to say.

From what I gather of the story idea, it sounds a bit like a pre-dated version of what is called the "Grey goo" scenario.

Grey goo is a hypothetically scenario humans have predicted might happen to us if we were to advance our knowledge of nanotechnology and try and use it to our advantage. Eg. Using Molecular Nanotechnology to control or create new entities, biological or mechanical, starting at a molecular level (such as creating cells for use in medicine) and advancing to create self replicating robots (which we already have to an extent). The whole concept of this theory is that the "robots" will suddenly "malfunction" in one way or another and turn against us, wiping out the human race as a result.

Another example could be that molecular assembled plants, which are created no more efficient than today's natural solar cells, could out-compete real plants, thus crowding our planet with an inedible foliage.

What I'm getting at here is that we could maybe use this theory are reference material when expanding our ideas?

For Example, Deus Ex: Invisible War

Deus Ex: Invisible War, released in 2003

The Omar

Deus Ex: Invisible War involves a race called "The Omar" who's primary goal is to "create a trans human race through biomodification". The Omar are a group of Russian scientists who submitted themselves to radical biomodification in an attempt to survive the massive Russian famines following "The Collapse" (in the game, this caused the world to descend into a period of war and economic depression because of the actions of an individual known as JC Denton). They would do this by making modifications to their bodies, such as being able to withstand extreme temperatures on both ends of the scale, along with many other biomodifications (including the whole race sharing one conciousness). In the game they plan to further their enhancement knowledge by extracting heat resilient tissues from an alien subject called "Grey" to progress in their plans.


The Omar are an example of "test subjects mutating and breaking out of their bonds" in way. There are other films and games out there similar to this of course, just thought id pick this as an example of how we can forge ideas around such theories.

Meeting Notes...

Okay so here are the notes I've made from the meeting Katy and I had, as well as those from our group tutorial with Alan:

Meeting notes:

  • We established our story:
    • A scientist at an army base is conducting experiments on humans to try to give them traits from nocturnal animals.  Radioactive materials leaking overnight lead to the test subjects mutating and breaking out of their bonds.  They cause chaos at the facility and it's left to the lead male army hero to protect the scientist and his female assistant.  He eventually destroys all the creatures but there's (either) one left/an egg hidden away.
  • We decided to have a monster each, all hybrids of human and a nocturnal creature (aye-aye and tiger fish).
  • We'll have 3 main characters: The army man hero, the scientist and the female assistant.
  • Research: look into 1950's monster costumes, see how the monsters actually looked.

Alan's Tutorial:
  • Try to add some innocents into the mix.  If the story happens entirely on a military base then there's no real threat.
  • Have a few extra characters to assist in setting up the narrative. We can still have our 3 leads, but to have a few extra characters that we can set up to be killed later will have more of an impact.
  • The actual killings in the 1950's sci-fi horror films were never very gory.  Censorship was very strict so a lot of the violence would happen via silhouettes and shadows.  This is important to consider as ours is set in this period.
  • The monsters should go one of two ways: 
    • They should escalate with every discovery e.g. they first find a weak, dead monster, the next would be slightly more dangerous but maybe dying and it would escalate to the big, scary monster.
    • There should be only a couple of monsters but they are all equally scary.
  • Once we decide which characters we want to include we should write a cast list, including who the characters are, where they work, what they do. It doesn't have to be too long for the minor characters but it should tell us what we need to know.
  • Research: We should look into Hairy Man Road in Texas. Find out all the stories about what might've happened there, it could really benefit us when we finalise our story ideas.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Some Useful Research...

We haven't had a chance to really discuss any of the posts here but as I quite liek the idea of using the aye-aye as our hybrid I thought I'd do a little research on it. The description below is quite a nice example of why it would be a good animal to use:

"The rest of the animal is an extraordinary compilation of features that look like they have come from other animals. The head is equipped with large dish-like ears that can be rotated independently, capable of picking up the slightest sound at night. The front incisor teeth grow continuously, rather like a squirrel, so that they never wear down. The eyes are large and orange and the nose is pink. The fingers on the hands are all very long - and the middle finger especially so - it looks almost like a skeleton finger with skin stretched over the top. Quite an animal!

At night, it clambers around dead trees and taps the bark all over with its skinny middle finger. If the bark sounds hollow the aye aye stops and uses its supersensitive hearing to listen for the movements of insect grubs beneath the bark. When it hears something, it rips the bark up using its long, powerful front teeth and then uses that skinny middle finger to fish the grub out of its hole - rather like eating cheese on a cocktail stick. It also uses its sharp teeth to gnaw into coconuts and other seeds, again using the middle finger to scoop the soft insides out
." From Bristol Zoo's website here.

I made a few notes from the meeting we had with Alan last Thursday and here's the research that followed:

The Outer Limits:

A 1960's sci-fi tv show, below are links to the intro and to a video with a collection of the monsters from the series:
(Embedding had been disabled, sorry!)

Another 1960's sci-fi show, this time called The Twilight Zone. I couldn't find any particular monsters from it though but below is the intro:

Next is a film Alan recommeded called The Quatermass Experiment/The Creeping Unknown, in which a 3 men has gone into space but only one returns. He later turns into a monster and causes chaos, below is the link to the trailer:

Monday, 26 September 2011

Myth and The Movies...

I know I've already posted this on my blog but it's really relevant to this project too. This was one of the books recommended by Alan in our brief and it's been a really great source for narratives in particular genres.

Here are the notes I've made from it:

There are 3 types of story to the horror and science fiction/fantasy genres. In horror these are:

  1. "Man battles an outside monster that has come to pay a visit."
    1. These include demons, vampires, diseases, aliens, monster sharks e.g. Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Jaws.
  2. "Man creates the monster, seemingly with good intentions, that gets out of hand and must be destroyed."
    1. These include genetic experimentation and inventions that turn disastrous e.g. The Fly.
  3. "Man is monster."
    1. These address the wickedness of man.
    2. Man confronts the dark side of his nature.
    3. Hero faces the shadow within himself or the evil may be personified or externalised e.g. Halloween, Silence of the Lambs.
"Each of these stories provides a central thrust of action that propels us to the end of the film.  Horror thrills aren't enough to make a successful film, those terrifying sequences need to be structured around the central action."

The stories in Science Fiction and Fantasy genre are:
  1. "An Ordinary Hero enters a fantastic world." 
    1. An imaginary/fabled world e.g. Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz
    2. Lost civilisation based on earthly reality is found e.g. Journey to the Centre of the Earth, the Lost World.
    3. The Hero finds a portal/makes a time machine e.g. Back to the Future, Time Bandits.
  2. "A fantastic being enters the Hero's Ordinary World."
    1. The creature is stuck, the films journey is its safe return e.g. E.T
    2. The creature arrives with a quest e.g. Terminator 2, War of the Worlds
    3. It arrives to pull the hero into its world e.g. Close Encounter of the Third Kind, Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
  3. "The Hero exists within a fantastic Ordinary World armed with awareness of its Science and mythology."
    1. The hero needs to solve a problem and great adventures follow e.g. Star Wars films
    2. Quest Journey shows the hero being manipulated by a greater power, such as gods/fate/magic e.g. Jason and the Argonauts, the Sinbad films.
    3. These can involve space travel adventures e.g. 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Voytilla, Stuart (1999) Myth and the Movies: Discovering the Mythic Structure of 50 Unforgettable Films. Canada: Michael Wiese Productions. Pages 75 and 261.

I thought that having these as a guide on this blog would be useful as we can all access it quickly with no fuss! :)

List of Nocturnal Animals

Here are some interesting nocturnal animals that I thought would make great mutant monsters;

Vampire Bat

Aye Aye



Great Horned Owl

Green Anaconda

Giant Leaf Tailed Gecko


Black Variant

Feared by locals as its thought to take fishermen

Goliath Tiger Fish

Story Ideas for 1950s B-Movie

Here are some rough ideas for the story;

Idea 1:

A scientist is running experiments on some nocturnal animals and humans, trying to create humans that can see in the dark for military purposes. He is using some form of radiation and an accident happens causing his test subjects to mutate and become monstrous beasts, a humanoid nocturnal animal beast.

Idea 2:

On a secret isolated island. A scientific research base is creating all kinds of weapons and the complexes main reactor starts to leak radiation which mutates the local wildlife, making one kind of dangerous animal species more savage and monstrous than before. These newly mutated creatures start attacking the base and killing the staff there. The only way to kill these monsters is to use the experimental weapons on the research base.