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Whether viral videos play a part in the resurgence of the
anthology, or not is debatable (but intensely likely), but the varied,
all-encompassing subgenre is certainly tailored-fit for web series—a place
where the alternative often thrives. Patrick Scott, creator of ZOOCHOSIS is
dealing in such.
Shining a light on a strange landscape, Scott is now
expanding on his ZOOCHOSIS shorts with a Machinima-produced web series that
finds a psychiatrist confronted with all manner of the horrific, sensual,
monstrous and absurd. All can be found in “Case 1: Aliens,” in which a bride
lays waste to her guest list after tentacled, squirming extraterrestrials find
their way in. It’s a low budget affair, but in Lynchian form, truly highlights
an off-kilter atmosphere. Slightly repulsive, with a psychologically
questionable protagonist, “Aliens” is a stylish arrival for ZOOCHOSIS, with seemingly
no rules on where it goes from here.
“[I have] always made my films a hybrid of genres,”
Scott tells FANGORIA. “For a while, my work was influenced by neo-realism, as I
really worked hard on directing and writing believable dialogue. In recent
years though, my childhood leanings are really coming out and the films feel
more like weird fiction. I've always been really bad about pushing my films and
working on my career. I'd just finish one film and move onto the next without
even putting the films out there. So ZOOCHOSIS just grew out of a need to find
a home for all these short films that I was making and writing that I was
producing. I'm a natural science junkie so when I had to come up with a name, I
chose ZOOCHOSIS because it's this great word that both encapsulates my view
that human nature is animal nature, and that we're all a bit messed up.”
The term “zoochosis” relates to a psychological effect of
being caged, a prospect Scott’s fictional bride, Kelsey is facing in marriage. “Case
1 went through a lot of title changes, but it was always about a young woman
who has been pushed over the edge in realizing that now that she's married, she's
essentially a baby factory,” says the director. “That realization leads her in
this very crucial moment to see her surroundings and people's behavior very
differently. If you look at my previous work, you'll see that even though on
the surface things are very sexy or slapstick-y, there's always a deeper
element there about the strain of how the individual conflicts with society.
This series—as the episodes wind their way through sci-fi and comedy and horror
and musicals—will explore that idea in different ways. Who am I? Who are you?
Who are we? What are we doing to this long-suffering planet? It's pretty big,
not only production scale but also in thematic ambition.”
The themes present, of the naturally suffocating and strange
in our world finds strong backing in the aforementioned unsettling air Scott
creates visually. He explains, “I think you'll find that the style shifts a lot
throughout the series but the work—whether it leans more heavily toward horror
or erotica or comedy—will always be very polished. And even if the work is
outright comedy that uneasiness will always be there. I don't try to disturb
people, it just sort of happens because as a guy from this very picturesque
tiny town in Northern Michigan, I'm always horrified by what I see in the world
and on the streets every day. So the unease is always there. Plus, I think it's
important to remember that the word ‘disturbing’ doesn't mean you're making
strange stuff up out of the blue, but means you're stirring up stuff that's
already there. That's Zoochosis.”
You can find Cases 1 and 2, “Aliens” and “Love”
respectively, below. For more on ZOOCHOSIS, follow its progress at the official
YouTube channel, Machinima Prime.
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