Viscera is a short film that explores the extreme disconnect between consumption and production in our modern world. Because let's face it: We don't care about where the things we use come from; the only thing that matters is how quickly we can get our next fix. From the food we eat to the products we use, this four-minute stop-motion film makes the most of every frame and makes a bold statement about the way we consume.
"If we knew everything that went into manufacturing the conveniences of modern life, would we make different choices — or at this point do we have a pretty good idea, but we choose not to think about it? These are the questions asked in 'Viscera,' a four-minute animated short I completed in 2014 as my MFA thesis film at CalArts. I didn't set out to make a horror film, but quickly discovered that if you want to make a film about a slaughterhouse it inevitably veers into dark places" - Lauren Morrison
Inside 'Viscera': More Than Just Stop-Motion
Inside an ornate, crumbling house, a little girl walks along a corridor of closed doors. Behind the doors, diners banter while mindlessly consuming food. In the basement, the food is produced by a masked man in a bloody apron. The different characters are separated by walls and doors, and only the little girl pauses to wonder what’s happening on the other side. The camera leads us from one section of the house to another, revealing the interconnected systems at play.
The separation of the upstairs characters from the macabre processes throughout the house raises questions about our own separation from the production of the amenities we enjoy in the developed world — from our food and clothes to our shampoo and smartphones. What would it look like if the walls came down and we knew exactly who and what had to suffer for us to live the way we do?
Lauren made this film using primarily stop-motion animation, which she combines with live action and 3D computer-generated elements. For those who don't know, stop-motion animation is created by building small-scale puppets and sets that are incrementally moved and photographed frame by frame to create animation.
One of the most difficult shots to animate was the wide shot of the tentacle diners. All five of the characters were moving at the same time and the four-second shot took almost a week to shoot.
Viscera has screened at over twenty international film festivals since its premiere at the Montreal Stop Motion Film Festival in 2014. It’s been featured in a variety of horror film festivals, including Another Hole in the Head, the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival, and the Scream Queen Film Festival. Viscera won Best Animated Film, Best Animated Film Directing, and Best Animated Visuals at the Los Angeles International New Wave Film Festival as well. Viscera also screened at Slamdance in 2015, which was its biggest festival to date!
I'd like to thank Lauren Morrison for taking the time to tell me more her project. I can honestly say that I have a new appreciation for the art of stop-motion filmmaking. if you'd like to see more of her work be sure to follow Lauren on Vimeo.