MegaComputeur’s latest animated short is about a boy “trapped in an infinite nightmare” – every time he falls to sleep a creepy monster is there ready to scare and terrorise him. “We came to the idea by re-watching old horror movies like The Thing and Nightmare on Elm Street and we liked the vintage effect of these films,” says the animation collective. “The framing, the special effects, the jump scares – it was really inspiring. Also it has been a while since we played with the horror movie codes, so it was the perfect opportunity.”
Titled The Return of the Monster, the short is like a scary version of this year’s John Lewis Christmas ad as it captures everything you used to dread about nighttime as a kid. Starting by bursting out of the wardrobe, the monster’s chosen scare places get more elaborate as the film goes on, appearing next to the protagonist in bed, crashing through the wall and swivelling on a desk chair.
Despite the frights, there’s a great sense of humour woven throughout the animation, achieved via the well-paced mannerisms of the monster before he lets loose. The big blinking eyes and wiggling, pudgy cheeks of the child adds to this and offers a contrast to the ghastly appearance of the monster.
MegaComputeur is a collective of six students studying in Avignon at l’Ecole des Nouvelles Images, made up of Corentin Yvergniaux, Quentin Camus, Camille Jalabert, Léo Brunel, Maryka Laudet and Oscar Malet. “For The Return of the Monster, we split the team, so it was three people: Corentin, Quentin, and Camille working on the short. For the story, we all came up with ideas together, and then we did the design, storyboard and animatic all together,” explains MegaComputeur. “After that Corentin and Quentin took care of the images with texturing, fur, lighting and compositing, while Camille did the animation and cloth. All that in four intensive weeks!”
The slick, professional finish combined with a wickedness is something MegaComputeur is building a reputation for. Yet, the collective have to combine these projects with school work. “We couldn’t work or render at school, so we had to improvise a little render farm in Maryka’s flat! We asked to borrow computers from our family and friends and managed to gather about 15 machines,” explains the collective. “We put all that in a room with six people in it where day and night we worked for a month to produce the film and another project at the same time. It was a funny experience!”
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