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That is a thought provoking article, and it raises a very good question. I've thought for a long time that movies have lost their power to scare me, and I've always attributed it to the complete shedding of any belief in the supernatural or the fantastic. But a couple of years ago, chills ran up my spine while watching a segment of Mario Bava's Black Sabbath which used a dummy head. The physical presence of the thing was palpable. No such feeling is present with today's CGI monsters. I also doubt that the people making today's CGI fests really know HOW to build tension and horrific anticipation. It's like they only know how to do the down part of the roller coaster ride.
 

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Something great directors do is not make the fear and suspense about the monster itself, but about the anticipation of the monster. The most recent example I can think of is JJ Abrams (Cloverfield, Super 8). Once the actual monster becomes the focus, the blatancy of the CGI causes all the suspense and fear to fall apart. This is not really the fault of the director so much as it is the limitation of the technology. CGI has accomplished many amazing things for film, but they still can't produce realistic movement.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by smudge981 /forum/post/20853337


That's the story from Den of Geek! Story here:

http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/1022...ightening.html


Your thoughts?

You just can't pretend something is there when you know it isn't.


You know actors react to nothing, regardless of how good they can be, it's extremely difficult to buy it. Why do they keep using more & more CGI in films that should require practical sets and makeup? Is it really that cheaper? I think CGI can be extremely convincing and useful, when it's used wisely and whithin its limits. That's also why the StarWars prequels fail miserably as movies, *imo*



Filmmakers should focus on real characters instead of fake ones cause movie magic will always have its limits.


...oh and let's not forget the best effect of all: CGI blood.



However, even now in 2011, I still think LOTR was really well done. Yet nothing beats Davy Jones and his crew in terms on CGI integration imo.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morpheo /forum/post/20853604


You just can't pretend something is there when you know it isn't.


You know actors react to nothing, regardless of how good they can be, it's extremely difficult to buy it. Why do they keep using more & more CGI in films that should require practical sets and makeup? Is it really that cheaper? I think CGI can be extremely convincing and useful, when it's used wisely and whithin its limits. That's also why the StarWars prequels fail miserably as movies, *imo*



Filmmakers should focus on real characters instead of fake ones cause movie magic will always have its limits.


...oh and let's not forget the best effect of all: CGI blood.



However, even now in 2011, I still think LOTR was really well done. Yet nothing beats Davy Jones and his crew in terms on CGI integration imo.

The prawns from District 9 is about the most convincing CGI I've yet to see.


I very much agree though and have complained about this in other threads. No doubt the beautiful work of creature creating that we saw in The Thing (1982) with be almost 100% replaced by CGI for the prequel.


I would love to see more real make-up work and creature creating that did not involve a computer. Some movies do mix the two well. The Relic with Tom Sizemore was a good example, plenty of shots of the creature that did not involve a lot of movement but you could tell it looked legit. I can accept that but when it is all CGI my cheese meter almost always redlines.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morpheo /forum/post/20853604


Why do they keep using more & more CGI in films that should require practical sets and makeup? Is it really that cheaper?

When it was first created and required lots of expensive computers and man hours, it wasn't much if any cheaper. But nowadays? The programs are a lot more automated and user friendly, and can be run on more affordable hardware (although it still has to have horsepower to render stuff.)


That's why a lot of those SyFy channel movies are heavy into CGI use. They can make "cheesy monster A" for flat out nothing and then alter it for "cheesy monster B" for even less, and have a movie a week to air.


I agree with CGI monsters they still aren't quite there unless they really take their time (a la Jurassic Park), but in terms of money saved using CGI? It's not even funny.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by FendersRule /forum/post/20854233


Jurassic Park had more live props than it did CGI. It was done correctly.

But what CGI was used looked fine because they took their time with it. It does show you can have CGI and not have it be a cheesefest.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by General Kenobi /forum/post/20853919


The prawns from District 9 is about the most convincing CGI I've yet to see.


I very much agree though and have complained about this in other threads. No doubt the beautiful work of creature creating that we saw in The Thing (1982) with be almost 100% replaced by CGI for the prequel.


I would love to see more real make-up work and creature creating that did not involve a computer. Some movies do mix the two well. The Relic with Tom Sizemore was a good example, plenty of shots of the creature that did not involve a lot of movement but you could tell it looked legit. I can accept that but when it is all CGI my cheese meter almost always redlines.

The prawns were great. You could get a sense of their personality. Most cgi monsters come across as separate, thoughtless blobs. I prefer practical effects but District 9 shows cgi can be effective if you know what you are doing.
 

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I think this question is a little disingenuous. I would rather ask when have ANY movie monsters been frightening? The list, whether a practical effect or CG, is extremely small for me.


I might call out Jaws, the Alien, and The Thing... but beyond that? Yes, all three were practical creatures, but for each of these there are many hundreds more that just look goofy and take me out of the movie every bit as much as a bad CG monster.


For a good CG monster, I'd go with the creatures in Pitch Black. The CG quality itself isn't even that great, but the way the director handles the monsters is a pitch-perfect model of suspense.


That's the real differentiator here: How well the film is directed to make the monster scary.
 

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Though, with something like Jaws, they were forced to stay in that 'implied menace' territory most of the time because it was such a horrible contraption. So, I guess sometimes the limitations used to work for you, even if you might wish they weren't.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa /forum/post/20854431


But what CGI was used looked fine because they took their time with it.

And because like you said above, in 1993 I guess you had to put great care in a 5 seconds sequence, with slower hardware, much less cpu power/user friendly software.


So in short studios keep making crap CGI because it costs nothing and make ****** movies still profitable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
When the story popped up, all I could think about was Southwest Indian pottery. Before I started to collect, I was drawn to the slick looking ones that were so detailed that you could swear it was made the other day. Truth be told , it was. As a demo, the salesman broke one in front of me. He said, "The ones with the flaws that are uneven are the ones that are worth money and collecting. The others that are mass produced are a dime a dozen."
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lwright84 /forum/post/20854487


My daughter has seen numerous of these so-called scary CGI creatures she never get scared. But that guy above? She still refuses to watch Pan's Labyrinth because of him. And the Joker scares her more than anyone else as well!
 

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"Have CG Monsters Ever Been Frightening?"


No. But then, neither is a middling shot or a clumsily-edited sequence of the monsters in Aliens or the shark in Jaws. It's all in how they are presented in their cinematic context.


The great advantage to scaring us that puppets or men in rubber suits had over CGI in that regard was that the filmmakers were forced to adhere to certain cinematic methods that served not only to hide the wires and suit zippers but also coincidentally added to the drama, suspense, and fright.


James Cameron not only needed to hide the fact that the scuttling spider-like creature let loose in the same room with Ridley and Newt was a mechanical device or a manipulated puppet through a rapid-fire assemblage of tightly edited shots, but it also conveniently turns out that a rapid-fire assemblage of tightly edited shots works much better to generate suspense or fright in that kind of sequence than the more languid way he might present a CGI monster.


That being the case, I believe the scariest CGI monsters/sequences are those that are shot as though the wireless, rubber suit-less convenience of CGI doesn't exist. And some do pop up occasionally. The "old lady in the basement" scene from the 1959 original House on Haunted Hill is probably scarier, will elicit a louder scream, even from supposedly "jaded" modern movie-goers, than almost any CGI monster ever produced. But there is no reason a CGI version of that scene wouldn't work very well to elicit an honest scream as long as the director isn't so enamored by the ability to manipulate a CGI image that he gets too fancy-pants and overly complicated about it. But he probably will be too enamored by it.


Still, there is something to be said about stuff in the real/physical world vs floating in cyberspace and I have always argued in favor of stuff in the real/physical world crafted directly by the hand of man over what emerges on the other side of a computer keyboard/mouse, so to speak.


Had CGI been available when Aliens was made, Cameron and a thousand other directors would probably have shot that sequence with a hand-held shaky-cam approach, the usual uninterrupted run-on sequence with a CGI monster somewhere in there that would have made that monster and the sequence about as scary as home movies of your nephew's 4th birthday party shot by your Aunt Mildred.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hitchfan /forum/post/20855072


"Have CG Monsters Ever Been Frightening?"


No. But then, neither is a middling shot or a clumsily-edited sequence of the monsters in Aliens or the shark in Jaws. It's all in how they are presented in their cinematic context.


The great advantage to scaring us that puppets or men in rubber suits had over CGI in that regard was that the filmmakers were forced to adhere to certain cinematic methods that served not only to hide the wires and suit zippers but also coincidentally added to the drama, suspense, and fright.


James Cameron not only needed to hide the fact that the scuttling spider-like creature let loose in the same room with Ridley and Newt was a mechanical device or a manipulated puppet through a rapid-fire assemblage of tightly edited shots, but it also conveniently turns out that a rapid-fire assemblage of tightly edited shots works much better to generate suspense or fright in that kind of sequence than the more languid way he might present a CGI monster.


That being the case, I believe the scariest CGI monsters/sequences are those that are shot as though the wireless, rubber suit-less convenience of CGI doesn't exist. And some do pop up occasionally. The "old lady in the basement" scene from the 1959 original House on Haunted Hill is probably scarier, will elicit a louder scream, even from supposedly "jaded" modern movie-goers, than almost any CGI monster ever produced. But there is no reason a CGI version of that scene wouldn't work very well to elicit an honest scream as long as the director isn't so enamored by the ability to manipulate a CGI image that he gets too fancy-pants and overly complicated about it. But he probably will be too enamored by it.


Still, there is something to be said about stuff in the real/physical world vs floating in cyberspace and I have always argued in favor of stuff in the real/physical world crafted directly by the hand of man over what emerges on the other side of a computer keyboard/mouse, so to speak.


Had CGI been available when Aliens was made, Cameron and a thousand other directors would probably have shot that sequence with a hand-held shaky-cam approach, the usual uninterrupted run-on sequence with a CGI monster somewhere in there that would have made that monster and the sequence about as scary as home movies of your nephew's 4th birthday party shot by your Aunt Mildred.

Cameron has never indicated he is a fan of shakey-cam.

He has used it only occasionally.

I think he is too old-school in the use of a camera for that.


He is more likely to use quick-cuts than a shakey-cam.

But only to a point.



His generation (Spielberg, etc.) is the last to inherit the old Hollywood style of movie-making.

Sure, they will use some of new techniques (ie, Spielberg with the Normandy landing).

However, they are now really the bridge to the 21st century.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by oink /forum/post/20855199


Cameron has never indicated he is a fan of shakey-cam.

He has used it only occasionally.

I think he is too old-school in the use of a camera for that.


He is more likely to use quick-cuts than a shakey-cam.

But only to a point.



His generation (Spielberg, etc.) is the last to inherit the old Hollywood style of movie-making.

Sure, they will use some of new techniques (ie, Spielberg with the Normandy landing).

However, they are now really the bridge to the 21st century.

Ok. Then would you say that sequence in Aliens would have been just as scary if Cameron had employed the gliding, smooth-sailing camera moves that were all over Avatar with mind-numbing monotony so as not to miss one pretty but boring detail of his elaborately worked out CGI world and creatures?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by FendersRule /forum/post/20854233


Jurassic Park had more live props than it did CGI. It was done correctly.

LOL - except the dinos didn't act like real dinos would have. They were doing things real dinos physically couldn't do. Very little science . . . LOTS of fiction. The magic of Hollywood.


What good is a realistic "monster" that does unrealistic things?
 
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