THE NEW FACE OF HORROR “MEGAN”
Cinema Writer/Film Critic Efe TEKSOY; wrote the thriller, horror, and science fiction film “M3GAN”, for America’s Los Angeles based Internet Newspaper @alaturkanews.
From Universal Pictures, Blumhouse and Atomic Monster Production Megan, provides a modern take on the horror culture of the Slasher & Splatter genre. Film was directed by New Zealand filmmaker Gerard Johnstone. Coming to the big screen with the collaboration of James Wan, who is one of the greatest directors of today’s horror cinema with his Saw, Insidious and Horror Session series, and Jason Blum, producer of Halloween, Black Phone and Invisible Man, the film tells the story of an out-of-control artificial intelligence miracle that turns into a Chucky-like killer doll and spreads terror takes the subject. This production, which we can call a post-modernized Frankenstein story, makes references to the 1988 film Child’s Play and the character of Chucky. (Even the battle between the characters Gemma and Megan is inspired by Child’s Play’s final climax where Karen Barclay confronts Chucky) Artists who created M3GAN include director of photography Simon Raby (Deadly Machines), production designer, supervising art director of Avatar Oscar-winning Kim Sinclair editor Jeff McEvoy (The Game) is the costume designer, Daniel Cruden, the successful costume design assistant for Avatar: The Way of the Water, and composer Anthony Willis (Young Talented Woman).
PLOT OF THE MOVIE
A marvel of artificial intelligence, the M3GAN is a lifelike doll programmed to be a child’s best friend and a parent’s greatest ally. Designed by Gemma, the smart roboticist of the toy company, the M3GAN can listen, watch and learn while being the friend, teacher, playmate, protector of the child it connects to. When she takes care of her 8-year-old orphaned niece Cady, Gemma is unprepared and insecure to be a parent. Under the pressure of her job, Gemma decides to pair the M3GAN prototype with Cady in an effort to solve both problems. However, this would be a decision that would have unimaginable consequences.
Stars; Allison Williams, Violet McGraw, Ronny Chieng, Amie Donald, Jenna Davis, Brian Jordan Alvarez, Jen Van Epps, Stephane Garneau-Monten, Jack Cassidy and Michael Saccente.
GHOST IN THE MACHINE
M3GAN, which stands for “Model 3 Generative Android“, covers the cutting edge of technology and science in a frightening way. In the production, which centers the mind and consciousness phenomenon thanks to artificial intelligence, the problem of mind-body dualism, which emerged as a direct result of the scientific revolution in the 17th century and the concept of objective physical reality that guided this revolution, emerges. René Descartes, a French philosopher and mathematician who is known as the father of modern philosophy, in his view of Cartesian dualism; Since we can think of the mind without a physical body and the body without the mind, he said that these cannot be one thing and divided the essences into two. British philosopher Gilbert Ryle argues that this substance dualism is based on a “classification error” with the phrase Ghost in the Machine, and proposes his own solution, behaviorism. American philosopher Thomas Nagel, who is a professor of philosophy and law at New York University, one of the biggest living names in the field of philosophy of mind, published “ What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” He has signed one of the most influential texts of the twentieth century with his article. The reason he chose the bat in this article is that the bat is more human-like compared to other species and has a very different movement variety and perceptual equipment from humans. Nagel in this article (roughly); He states that Bat Sonar cannot perceive with any of the senses we have, but one must use the perspective of the bat to know what it’s like to be a bat. Nagel; “If one can use this point of view roughly or to some degree, one’s opinion will also be sketchy or partial.” He states that this is directly related to the mind-body dualism because it is a phenomenon related to experience. In the movie, we see that the character of M3GAN learns what it is like to be human by making some observations and experiencing it in his own way.
Creating the Model 3 Generative Android for the movie, MEGAN for short, required the collaboration of multiple teams from different disciplines, including a human actor, visual effects, animatronics, and a puppeteer. Working in harmony, they have created a cutting-edge, unique new horror icon. Director Gerard Johnstone and producer James Wan talked about what makes a doll scary while working on MEGAN. First, they decided that a child should be like a revived toy. Wan says: “Tobe Hooper did that very well with the clown in Evil Spirit. He built the expectation that something bad would happen, but you don’t know when or how. After a lot of design changes and talking with Gerard, we finally started to make MEGAN physically more realistic. It’s a rare case where a “Strange Rift” adds to MEGAN’s creepiness.” It’s Johnstone’s team leaders who bring the character to life. Puppet supervisor ADRIEN MOROT (X-Men: Days of Future Past); puppet director KATHY TSE (The Long Nightmare); animatronics technician DEVIN SEAMAN (Beast of the Water) and his team; visual effects supervisors RHYS DIPPIE (The Luminaries) and DAMON DUNCAN (The Luminaries); art director and senior concept artist JEREMY HANNA (Desert Planet of Dune), VFX producer MELISSA BROCKMAN (They/Them) and crew; WETA Workshop’s SPFX supervisor TALEI SEARELL (Desert Planet of Dune) and SPFX production manager RITA MAXIM (Blade Runner 2049); stunt coordinator ISAAC “IKE” HAMON (Black Adam) and crew; The SFX hair and makeup team at MOROT FX STUDIOS; STEFAN KNIGHT (The Wrinkle in Time) and the team from makeup and hairstyling; movement coaches LUKE HAWKER (I Am Mother) and JED BROPHY (Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power); dance instructor KYLIE NORRIS and young dancer AMIE DONALD. Taking his initial guidance from James Wan, who has experience working with non-human main characters, director Johnstone made the visual impact of MEGAN particularly frightening.
PLACES AND CONSTRUCTION DESIGN
-MEGAN is set in Seattle Washington and was shot in and around Montreal in Canada and Auckland in New Zealand.
-Oscar-winning art director Kim Sinclair did not retire to take part in the production design of MEGAN.
-Gemma’s home was filmed in Sunnyhills, a suburb east of Auckland. Sinclair and her team looked at over 100 homes to find the right home and found it in a cul-de-sac called Meanda Greens. The house was built in 1970 by New Zealand architect John Cooper.
– As the house was renovated during production, it allowed Sinclair and his crew to make multiple adaptations for the shoot without the host’s limitations.
-The producers wanted the size and style of Gemma’s house to be simple. Gemma is a single career woman. She is well-earned but not a traditional housewife and the interior design of the house reflects that. The aesthetic is from the 1950s but with a few minor touch-ups. Most of the furniture is new. Gemma is very busy with her work and therefore she has not focused much on the decor of the house.
-The production team used the exterior and selected areas of the house, the entrance, dining room, kitchen and hall for filming. Other scenes in other parts of the house were shot in the studio.
-The lobby of the Funki toy company was filmed on the campus of Auckland University of Technology.
KILLER ROBOT BABIES AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
A few years ago, MEGAN executive producers Michael Clear and Judson Scott were joking around Atomic Monster’s office with producer James Wan and colleague Rob Hackett. James Wan says: “We’re all movie addicts and we were talking about not making enough killer baby movies. I was like, “It’s so funny. There is a perception that I make such films. It’s weird, but my dolls never kill anyone. They are the conduit of a supernatural being or a demonic power lives within them. For example, there is a talking puppet in The Saw Jigsaw Legend.” As the conversation progressed, they came to an idea; Wan says: “Wouldn’t it be nice if we did a killer doll movie where Annabelle meets the Terminator? We thought it would be great to have a version of ‘technology gone wrong’ rather than a supernatural movie.” For the ideal screenwriter to bring this premise to life, they went to storyteller Akela Cooper, the author of all episodes, from Marvel’s Luke Cage to American Horror Story and Star Trek: Strange New World. Wan knew he needed a strong female perspective for the story, and Cooper was perfect for the job. Wan says: “He learned how much he was liked by girls from Annabelle. We knew this part of the horror tracker was very important to us. That’s why we knew that we needed a feminine energy and perspective at MEGAN. Akela is very intelligent, knowledgeable and very good at structuring. She knew very well the film I wanted to make. She is not afraid to do things that others see as ridiculous or exaggerated. She understands that in order to differentiate from recent horror films, it is necessary to turn to slightly more exaggerated concepts.” Cooper tapped into her own fears for MEGAN as she began building the film’s premise. Gemma, a career woman, is caught off guard to care for her newly orphaned niece. Says: “I used to babysit my nieces and suddenly realized how scared I was if I had to take care of a small child. We had to push our hero, Gemma, to make the rough transition to adulthood. She doesn’t know how to deal with the role she’s been thrust into. That’s why she puts her career into it. That’s MEGAN. Gemma’s assurance “Now I can take care of my niece without really having to. I don’t know how to deal with childhood trauma, but this robot can do it.” Cooper highlights the fact that Gemma not only shied away from her custodial responsibilities, but also created a bigger problem by refusing to be an emotionally involved adult near her niece Cady.
Horror, thriller and science fiction genre M3GAN movie tells us; Science and technology, which have become an integral part of human life at the socio-cultural and communal level, it discusses how we’re becoming more and more dependent, and that it’s a potential threat if it starts to get out of control.
Thomas Nagel, Zihin ve Evren: Materyalist Neo-Darwinci Doğa Görüşü Neden Neredeyse Kesinlikle Yanlış (Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materalist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Certainly False), translate. Özge Çağlar Aksyon, İstanbul: Jaguar Kitap press, 2015