Trailer Inspiration 2

I have found some variations in the way a spider has been used as a symbol of fear coming across seriously and comedically. Some of these examples may help make our story ideas stronger with incoporating some ideas that have come before. I particular like the Ice Spiders trailer, it has a great set up and has a similiar story type to what we wanted to do.


A bit of background of the horror genre from 'Monster and Horror Movies' by Thomas Aylesworth

As a lot of our stronger ideas have been leaning towards the horror genre in one way or another I have decided to just provide some background research into the actual genre around the time period 30's - 60's to identify what was popular and what could be useful to work into our story.


  • Always been some sort of Monster hanging around as a sort of fear symbol into the minds of people.
  • Just before 1930, Horror stories were creatures of Prehistoric origin such as the early 'Lost World'
The Lost World (1925)

  • This later led to Kong and Godzilla as missing link symbols and symbolised as destructive gods
  • The Creature from the Black Lagoon in 1954 was a beginning of a hybrid mash, in this case half man, half fish
  • rubber suit

The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

  • A lot more low budget horror movies in the 50's such as It came from Beneath the Sea, a giant octopus - mutated by atomic radiation and attacks San Francisco, another example: The Abominable Snowman
It Came From Beneath the sea

  • Also in the 50's were films of experiments gone wrong and one example is Tarantula (1955), a spider treated by serum and grows to a weight of 50 tonnes title creature was a result of effective matte photography
  • The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) - "best effects of radiation films of all time" - Pg 34

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

  • The Attack of the Crab Monsters - idea of creatures absorbing it's victim's minds and sending out telepathic messages to survivors and lure them to destruction

 The Attack of the Crab Monsters

  • A lot of giant atomical insect films 'The Monster that changed the World" a giant caterpillar and "The Deadly Mantis" - Praying Mantis
  • Gorgo (1960) - monster with maternal instinct destroying most of the city to rescue her baby
 The Deadly Mantis


  • Most well known is Frankenstein "Modern Promethus" created in a lab, scientist taking on a parental role over his creation
  • Golem made from clay and mud, everyday becomes bigger and heavier, idea of growing in form


The Human Fiend

  • Popularity of crazed doctors doing strange thing to plants, animals and humans
  • Individuals forced to hide away and carry out their ambitions
  • The Island of Dr Moreau
  • The Fly - accidentially achieveing a horrific result


Image References for Robot Spider Character 2

I found some more images related to robot spiders, cyborg organisms with interesting structures and designs. I specially like the sixth image as a strong influence of how menacing and exciting the creature could look. I also like the mechanisms and clockwork parts in some of the concepts to make the creature feel a bit more manufactured and could be something to consider if we end up taking the route of the creatures created by an evil scientist.


Development - Basic Plot for Narrative Project

Development - Basic Plot for Narrative Project

·         Our party members are threatened, with only one character wishing to preserve the robot spiders for the sake of science.

·         The film must be the spirit of time. By making something formidable; Robot spiders/virus threatens to spread the whole Earth.

·         Maybe there is a motion detector based on the Geiger counter (like in Ridley Scott’s, Alien) used to locate the movements of the spiders.

·         Somebody operating in the shadows?

·         The robot spiders are virtually indestructible. Therefore, the team must stick to run and hide tactics.

·         Concepts such as the emergence and evaluation of human characteristics

·         Scientists who meddle with things better left alone. In the end, it is American servicemen and sensible scientists who win the day over the robots.

Thinking about the metallic properties of Captain America’s shield/ using this metal as a design for the spiders in our narrative:
“The shield is created by a fictional American metallurgist named Myron MacLain, who had been commissioned by the US government to create an indestructible armor material to aid the war effort. MacLain experiments with the vibration-absorbing metal vibranium.”

Story 1

Mashing together random elements in hope that we can extract something that we think would potentially work.

A scientific expedition in a US laboratory in search of a rare metal is faced with a horrific creation: Hidden under the guise of a machine, the robot spider. A group of experts tries to decode the nature of the spider, but it flees with the help of its speed/aviation (?). It leaves behind part of its shell, resembling an orb. Upon discovery of the orb, as well as a suspicious remote, they are studied by the team. The spider, understanding it is being controlled, which it does not like – returns to attack; dividing into several more spiders, managing to strike and remove the female of the group. A male member is wounded, and the team realise the remote is destroyed.   

By investigating further, the team find pieces of paper discussing a case involving the suspicions and speculations about the purpose of the spider.


Development: Group Meeting Second Week

Development: Group Meeting Second Week

Reinventing the synopsis/logline:
In a large underground laboratory, scientists are mysteriously murdered when their experimental creation is deliberately released.

Hidden under a normal building, is an abandoned facility for research on biological weapons and illegal genetic engineering. Below awaits something unimaginable.

Survivors are brought to a large underground lab, where they attempt to determine the nature of a robot that lingers in shadows before it starts a world-wide epidemic.


·         A rag-tag group consisting of scientists and a news crew (2-3 main characters, and a selection of character bios).
·         The queen robot spider divides into smaller spiders. The properties of the nanobot metal allows her to do this.
·         The spiders are hidden from the characters/viewer at the beginning of the trailer, forcing suspense from the unknown.
·         Possible mcguffin: Hunting down news crew until spiders attack and remove battery from camera, which is the source of irritation/provoke; battery attraction.
·         50’s setting
·         Think about location; where is the building (lab) going to be?
·         Bug horror movies; tradition of bug movies
·         Character drops handheld torch, revealing spider movements. As they lean down to pick it up, revealed is the body of the spider-- a blind spot to the character; they will not notice.
·         Electronic legs in darkness, characters walking blind essentially
·         Character understanding/Realisation
·         Security Camera (?): Looking at movements in the corridor
·         Update the themes/not the instrumentalities
·         A building which has depths; happens to be an ordinary visual but the further they go down, the lowest you can go; Do not go in the basement!
·         Abandoned warehouse, penitentiary
·         Human vision, robot spider vision, camera vision, security camera vision
·         Blurry “Siren Blood Curse” type of vision. (A bloody red and grunge green hue through spiders eyes.)
·         Spider vision: Colour co-ordinate/ redness. Their vision works on colours based around: Body temperature, environment temperature, etc.
·         Catalysts such as a motion detector; scanning radar, to detect presence.
·         Electromagnetic detector; energy pockets.
·         Radar goes off when spiders enter vicinity. Local radius/zone. In ceilings, underground, in the walls...etc.
·         Hypochondriac (female news reporter)
·         Props which force the idea earlier on that this place is a desolate lab.

Potential techniques/Cuts:

·         Grizzly goings-on in the lab every time the lights go out.
·         Closed-circuit television/ Surveillance; long foreboding corridors
·         Losing grasp of flashlight, falls to ground, reveals spider silhouette(s).
·         Electromagnetic, hand held radar; pulses of spider movement.
·         Leap of faith; “Indiana Jones”; one member of news crew must enter a dark room; the sounds of electronic legs moving.
·         We gradually reveal the ferocity of the spiders and their scope; because we the characters are underground, we can play on the nighttime before plunging the protagonists in an eclipse that will seriously complicate their survival.
·         A “realistic” spider design, first overexposed and very dark
·         Rather than devouring the victims, the spiders eat metallic objects (spider expansion). Though, the spiders’ movements appear hostile to the characters as this technique questions whether characters should reconsider if they’re arachnophobic.
·         Use of background flashbacks at the beginning of the trailer past to the present, during which the audience certainly hear, feel, and experience the trauma of the victim/scientist
·         The fascination for the female character
·         Tension grates on the viewer from start to finish. The ending if you can call it that poses no resolution-- only an unanswered question, yet is not unsatisfying.
·         The soundscape is inhabited by screaming or gnashing and the images are overloaded with accessories, patterns introducing visual field disturbances.
·         Strict direction of the horror front, but they leave the viewer's mind to roam around the suggested! (Spider shadows, shapes and sizes)
·         Filmed in an anonymous manner; giving the audience the impression that the camera is another character.
·         Different members hold camera (members get lost).
·         Bivalent logic: The scenery is enhanced with geometric shapes - to allude the sense that something monstrous or otherworldly is incredibly notorious, tyrannising.

Movies to look at for inspiration
Deconstructing ideas, and then reconstructing them for our whole narrative:

·         Tarantula! (50’s)
·         Eight Legged Freaks
·         Devil (2010)
·         Arachnophobia (1990)
·         Cat People
·         Pitch Black


Character Suggestions for Attack of the Robot Spiders

I decided to start thinking about some of the character stereotypes that could feature in the story. I used some the ideas that were mentioned in our group discussion with Alan, Dayle and Sean as well as other ideas that I thought about. We will probably discuss this further during the week but I hope this list is a good head start to begin thinking about it.

Character Suggestions


First Image references in response to Robot Spider

On top of actual robot spiders, I thought about Louise Bourgeois's contemporary spider sculpture and the Racnoss from Doctor Who offers a more organic approach to the robot spider.


Trailer Inspiration 1

I found some trailers from the 1930 - 1960 period to look at ideas and techniques used in the genres of Science fiction, Horror and Film Noir.

War of the Worlds 1953 trailer – similar machine against human / Sci Fi theme, use a lot of bright colours and scenes of machines falling from the sky and emerging from the meteorites. Also depicts a scene where the humans are trying to leave their invaded city but turn against each other to save themselves and escape.

Psycho 1960 trailer – Uses soundtrack to describe the atmosphere and the chill of the horror genre. In classic black and white and skips between scenes to match the intensity of what the music offers. A good selection of scenes of Bates as he explains ‘I just get mad sometimes’ and final shot of someone peering through a hole in the wall suggests the film returns to basic ideas of horror as a predator stalking it’s victim but also that there might be a deeper meaning.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956 trailer – uses dramatic music and an intense voice narrator to describe the basics of an invasion of creatures from another planet and the main character running wildly and exclaiming that the human race is in danger. They don’t reveal the creatures though, which creates some of the suspense and fear to the audience.

The Invisible Man 1933 trailer – Reveals how the character wrapped in bandages helps the audience focus on what ‘ the invisible man’ has to say in dialogue scenes and therefore uses what the audience recognise as the terror because it later reveals the character to unwrap those bandages so that the audience are left with a psychotic voice that travels around the room and objects becoming inanimate by themselves. A similar technique to Psycho, using the voice or sound as the weapon of horror.

The Touch of Evil 1958 trailer – Mostly narrated using the technique of revealing big actors and the fact that it is directed by Orson Wells. It also has some action scenes thrown in to make it clear it is a thriller but the narration does a lot of the promises in hyping up the film and how the audience will react to this film.


Ideas for Attack of the Robot Spiders

Even though we now have a rough idea of what we want to do for our trailer I have included some of my alternative thoughts and ideas to show other ways we could of gone with it and as something to possibly fall back on.

Attack of the Robot Spiders Ideas


Studio Name Ideas

These were a selection of names I thought of to call our production group, Crawler was the name with the most potiential and eventually as a group we decided on StudioCrawler.

Studio Name Ideas


@ Sean and Adam

Hey guys, the blog is a bit of a mess at the moment. Let me know what aspects of it you think are working and what aren’t. Namely; colours, borders, titles for sections. I’ll do my best to sort it out. Want your input on designs so we can make it better! :)

@Sean: You should create a logo, give it a go. Maybe we can come up with several designs and then go from there? I've got a few (my mock logo reminds me of a holiday resort. Lol).

@Adam: Feel free to upload your work. Would you prefer if I sorted out the blog first so that text errors don’t appear?

@Sean & Adam: I’ve uploaded all of the ideas we recorded yesterday. Sounds good so far.


Ideas: Early Discussion (subject to be edited/ text assorted)

·         Story Ideas
·         Logo ident > Act 1 – Introduction > Act 2 – Problem > Act 3 - Climax > Credits
·         Mixing the ordering of the acts
·         Starting with someone walking somewhere. As a group; they get lost. Encounter with the baby spiders in a nest. Gradually, they start to grow as victim walks through the hive. Main area of nest lies mother spider.
·         Cyborg humans?
·         Cropped cuts. Jaggered scene editing similar to Kill Bill. Two scenes will play together. Instead of remodeling all of the geometry, change the lighting and improvise on these elements.
·         Uncanny. Hospital scene. Could be blood everywhere. In these points set the characteristics of what is alive and what has destroyed the place.
·         POV parts.
·         Shifting towards the 50’s - 60’s setting; giving us more back in the day technology to use in our story maybe.
·         Cold war spider creation. The predecessor.
·         Making use of the timeline. So playing around with our constraint, which is the timeline condition.
·         Radio broadcasting at the start. Through the ident leading through to the trailer we can have over the top broadcasting material. Danger is climatic and all fast-paced. Goes through into aftermath.  
·         Good VS. Bad robot spiders.
·         Spiders reincarnate from acidic/metallic leftovers.
·         Spiders eat metal or similar property to reproduce.
·         Starts out in ladies kitchen. Electronic sound grabs her attention. She is curious. Looks around. Looks at it. Screams.
·         Clever transition through character’s eyes and thought processes. Films such as ‘Taken’; Liam Neeson’s mental vision à transition to another cut.
·         Double transition.
·         Scientific words which relate to specific parts of robotics/spider/parts of a lab. SFX and off-screen suggestion.
·         Some kind of static image. Sounds play the big part and it comes into focus as the clip progresses along. Cloverfield-esque. Camera source has fallen down, viewer is impaired to see what exactly is happening. (Good type of production cut as saves lot of time modeling what would have been in perception of action or background).
·         Pre-Blair Witch breakthrough.
·         Camera could alternate between POV, Security camera field. Extracting general sci-fi elements from Cloverfield/in a lot of sci-fi films where a shot is approaching a door (a red screen – representing the camera) and incorporating it into.
·         Based in an environment (some kind of interior – lab, science arena/advanced science research center with added levels of cheesiness).
·         Characters hairstyles/ costume unique to era.
·         Characters look at something and it looks like a flicker of a ghost scene. The effect of presence in the room.
·         Spiders take refuge in a sewer in absurdly spacious underground canals with ample room to move.
·         Camera starts on a waste point. Camera slowly pans; engulfs the shot of a sign, which warns of hazardous waste/depths. No ENTRY.
·         Silly 30’s-60’s style blonde, and scientist.
·         Robot spiders. They infest something, such as an old fashioned computer.
·         An alpha/mother robot spider that divides into baby clones (chrome/silvery neonates).
·         Machinery.


About This Blog

StudioCrawler is a team of students working together on a collaborative project at the University of the Creative Arts Rochester, studying CG Arts & Animation. Stick by and watch us as we are challenged to create an animated film trailer for the festival Retro-Fest. Keep an eye on our news section and Twitter feed for latest StudioCrawler news and updates.