Thursday, December 25, 2008
This week I cleaned up the editing on another off-shoot of the Wilderness/animal attacks ongoing video project. This one focuses on Grizzly bears, and is an experiment in trying a different approach to the same sort of Hollywood material I've been working with on the other projects. With the shark video I finished this summer, I felt like I ended up with something very forceful, violent, and absurd. I don't know if it could have come out any different, in all honesty, and I think the absurdity worked well in that case. However there are some other considerations I'm looking to spark in people when they watch any of these projects.
Specifically, I want people to think about the way in which these movies have helped to craft a fear of the unknown, an alienation many of us already feel from the "natural world", propped up and encouraged by inflated fiction. The idea of these predators lurking a short distance away - plotting, hunting us, considering our movements and our deaths - these movies prey on those very primal ideas, and I'm fascinated by how those ideas are rooted within us.
Me, I like to camp, but I didn't grow up an outdoorsman. I'd love to tell you I could walk for miles in the woods and feel at home, but the first time I saw a bear cross our trail in the wild a couple summers back, I froze. I feel I should point that out, so that these videos might come across as having a necessary element of personal reflection within them - and maybe also the necessary dose of admission of vulnerability. I also think a lot about sharks when I wade into the ocean - but I grew up in Nebraska, so maybe that's my landlocked, Jaws-educated childhood sneaking through...
Anyway, with "Hylophobia" ("fear of forests" - it's a working title that's maybe a tad pretentious), I eliminated all of the human elements, and focused on footage of bears stalking, being stalked, watching, approaching for the kill, and moving through their dominion unseen and unchallenged. The idea was to create an entirely different type of tension - albiet a lot more low-key than the shark montage - while still using all footage from Hollywood movies.
To be a little more specific on the actual bears in this video: although all of these movies refer to them as Grizzlies, these bears were almost exclusively Alaskan Kodiak bears. In fact, in most of the movies I used, the star was a Kodiak named Bart, who shined in almost every "bear" movie from 1980-2000, including "The Bear" and "The Great Outdoors". His mother preceded him in "Grizzly" - part of the post-Jaws "rogue predator" horror genre that blew up in the late 1970's.
I'm also finishing up my total re-edit of the 1967 live-action Disney romp "Charlie the Lonesome Cougar." Hopefully I'll have that one up in the next month, I've been on-and-off editing this one since September and I'm excited about how it's shaping up.
(After posting this I realized that there was a lot of confusion about the lack of sound on this video. I should have pointed out the fact that there isn't currently sound for this piece - sorry if you thought your speakers were screwed.)