Blood in the Gutter

I’ve just been to see Cloverfield, the monster movie from the creators of Lost (or so it’s billed). The gasps, screams (and on one occasion, sobs) from across the cinema started me thinking about what really makes a scary movie/comic book/novel.

As human beings, we’ re conditioned to respond in a certain way to particular stimuli; that’s why a flickering TV image will continually catch your eye (and also why those animated Flash/gif ad banners on some websites are so darn annoying) – our eye is drawn to anything that’s moving in an otherwise static environment. It’s a survival instinct, one that helped us hunt prey in the past and serves us well today by letting us know there’s a bus headed straight for us as we step blithely into traffic. It’s this same basic survival instinct that makes films such as Cloverfield so effective.

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THE WRITER SIDE OF THINGS…

Well, after Mike’s mass gallery postage earlier in the week, you could be forgiven for thinking that we’re all about art. But we’re not. Over the years I’ve accrued many, many half written scripts on varying versions of Word. So now I’m going to post the best and most complete ones. This is the inspiration behind the gallery.

A long time ago on a PC much much slower than this…

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Of sound design and small cinemas

Being a big Coen Brothers fan, I saw No Country for Old Men last weekend. We headed over to the Phoenix, a great little two-screen joint in Jericho (as in the Oxford suburb, not the ancient West Bank city) partly to escape the horrific doldrums that are the twin Odeon Cinemas in Oxford’s town centre, but mostly to take advantage of Jericho’s great pubs. Next time you’re in Oxford, visit the Gardener’s Arms for the world’s greatest I-can’t-believe-it’s-a-veggie-burger.

Anyway, the film was/is fantastic – another Coen triumph which sits a lot closer to Fargo in tone and style than anything else in the brothers’ oevre (I cannot believe I just used that word). It’s an adaptation of a novel by Cormac McCarthy which I’ve not read, but may just have to seek out having seen the film. But the thing that struck me most about it was the sound of wind that permeated each scene in testament to the film’s desolate Southern Texas setting.

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Gallery updated!

I’ve added a whole shedload of images to the gallery, and updated the Catalyst Studios Gallery page to show a selection of the stuff we’ve done over the past 10 years. Updating the site was interesting as it let me see how far we’ve come during the last decade; even the oldest items bear a resemblance to what we do today (albeit with a lot less polish and some… ‘interesting’ anatomy issues) but I looked at some of the stuff and thought – did I really do that?

Anyway, take a look. The gallery will be updated with new artwork on a (hopefully) regular basis… and I’ll make sure we get a few more coloured pieces in there.

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Virtual Reality… Wii-ndeed.

This is awesome.

This is the first time I’ve seen a 3-D Virtual Reality concept that would actually work in a home videogame scenario. It looks inexpensive to manufacture, and I can think of several ways that this could be used to create something totally unique – think Time Crisis but physically moving your body rather than pressing a pedal to hide behind objects (I remember playing a Konami lightgun game in an arcade in Luton a few years back called Police 911 which used a pressure plate to similar effect).

You’d still need to use the nunchuck to move around – running in place is just a bit too silly, even for your average Wii gamer – but if a developer can pull this off in a proper gameplay environment, the Wii might just win over a whole new legion of fans and become a true next-generation machine. It’s certainly something I can’t see being possible on either XBox or PS3 (at least as they stand right now).

Can’t take the credit for this one – found via Penny Arcade.

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