Monsters are Scary

For my trailer remix I decided to turn Monsters Inc.  (Pete Docter, 2001) from a children’s Disney movie to a horror/thriller movie called Monsters Inc: The Touch. The original movie is about a group of monsters who scare kids for a living, but then start to change when one of the main characters, Sulley (John Goodman) finds a small human child, Boo (Mary Gibbs) and realizes that human children may not be so dangerous. Overall, the scaring scenes and the arguments between Sulley and his best pal Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) helped make the transition from kid’s movie to scary movie a lot easier.

One of the major things I focused on for this trailer was finding the sound effects and music that best conveyed a creepy, scary feeling. To do this, I added sound effects such as the door screeching when Sulley opens it for the first time, and the occasional screams of children that are found in the original movie. The squeaky door is a sound commonly associated with scary situations, as well as screaming, so using these helped create the horror movie environment. On top of just sound effects, I tried to pick phrases and quotes out of the movie that, out-of-context, sounded kind of creepy. Quotes like “he’s trying to kill us!” or “I hope you’re happy Sulley” were made to have a totally different meaning just by removing them from the original scene they were in and having them stand alone.

As said by Jessica Abel in “The Deep Sea: Sound,” “Sound can create an emotional tone. It can also simply leave room for emotion to hit you.”  I attempted to use the first part when I was picking what music would be used in the trailer. I found that the music was almost more important that the clips and sound effects, as it really did decide what mood the trailer took on. The trailer starts out light, and I actually used the music that the original movie starts with. It is light and upbeat, and coupled with shots of the smiling monsters, laughing and hanging out, it helps give the idea that things are going well, that the characters are happy.  However, the music quickly switches from upbeat and light, to slow and darker. It takes on an eerie vibe, and is a little bit quieter than the beginning. Then, as the action of the trailer begins to pick up, so does the music. While it is still a creepy vibe, it is now faster paced, and tries to create a quick, almost anxious feeling. I attempted to use the second part of this quote towards the end of my trailer, when it blacks out for just a second. While the screen is black, there is still eerie music playing in the background, giving the watcher the ability to let everything they just saw sink in.

In terms of the ordering of the events, the trailer could almost be seen as a type of montage. As describe by Bernard Dick, “Montage is a word that has many meanings. When if is used to describe a sequence, montage can be defined as a series of shots arranged in a particular order for a particular purpose.” The choice of scenes for my trailer were supposed to tell a story of a monster who is entirely normal and happy until he is touched by a human child, at which point he descends into madness. I started the trailer with scenes of Sulley and Mike laughing and walking through their neighborhood, to show Sulley as a normal monster. The trailer then progresses to Sulley finding Boo’s door, and opening it, only to be “attacked” by the human child’s touch. It then immediately goes into scenes of Sulley fainting, running, and appearing to be choked and struggle, in an attempt to show him going mad. Then the trailer switches again, this time to scenes of Sulley dragging Mike, another monster acting out, Sulley and Mike fighting, and finally just ending on Mike looking scared and a shadow passing over a bed. This is when Sulley starts to take on the role of “the monster,” a role which Greg Smith says characterizes the horror genre. As said by Smith,”The crucial factor that distinguishes horror is the presences of what Carroll calls the ‘horrifying monster.'” Overall, the scenes were picked to show a progression, and hopefully seem like something that could happen in a horror movie.

I ran into a handful of challenges while doing this video project, with the first one being that my original choice of movie, High School Musical 2 (Kenny Ortega, 2007), ended up not working out. When I burned my DVD I found that for some unknown reason, only half of the movie was showing up. Turned out my DVD was broken, which was tragic in that not only did I have to change movies, but also in that I can no longer say I own every High School Musical movie. Aside from that, I had a few issues with the fact that it is impossible to separate audio clips from the original movie into script and music. There were a handful of instances where there was a line from the script I wanted to use, but it was overshadowed by the music, so I just found other clips.  Beyond that, the rest was fairly straightforward, although I definitely struggled a lot putting together a consistent plot throughout the trailer and conveying the story I wanted to tell. I think I struggled to find the balance between what was too cluttered and what was too slow when it came to telling the story.

 

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