It is the haunting season in Hollywood, with the likes of Five Nights at Freddy’s proving to be a major success despite very limited budget and hype. While on the big screen, Emma Tammi’s movie is holding the reins in the world of the horror genre, on HBO Max, adult animated science fiction horror Scavengers Reign is starting to both scare and impress viewers with its terrifying yet innovative world.
Created by Charles Huettner and Joe Bennett, the series follows the crew of a damaged deep space freighter stranded on a dangerous planet. As viewers start to explore the space-exploration drama, co-creator Bennett has taken time to explain what went behind the scenes to bring the animated series to life.
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Scavengers Reign Creator Explains How He Shaped the Animated Horror Series
Scavengers Reign is centered around the mysterious planet Vesta Minor. It sees five scavengers endure treacherous experiences for survival after their deep-space freight hauler, Demeter, explodes over the planet, which is filled with exotic and dangerous wildlife.
The plot of the series comes from a 2016 short film, which also inspired the mechanic of characters transforming alien organisms into human tools in the television series. During his interview with The Daily Californian, Joe Bennett remarked:
“The idea going into the series was cherry picking things from (the short film), and kind of retaining a lot of this lush ecosystem.”
What makes Scavengers Reign different from mainstream horror series is its dependency on intricate visuals to set the tone of its narrative rather than holding the hands of its audience and pointing everything through dialogues.
“All of that stuff just had no dialogue, and I just thought it would be a fun exploration,” Bennett noted. “And it did just start to slowly evolve more and more … there’s so much stuff that exists in nature on earth that has got a lot of that horror and creepiness to it”.
Bennett relied on nature documentaries and YouTube channels to explore the depiction of constructed things in silence on screen, while the show’s origins are “rooted squarely in the indie animation community” with many animators working from around the globe.
“The main takeaway would just be that this was a very passionate project. I think everybody that worked on it really poured their sweat and tears into it,” Bennett said. “There was no cutting corners and everyone had a true love for traditional, 2D animation.”
The decision to move away from 3D animation by Bennett and his team was taken to avoid the rigged and puppetted nature of American TV.
Scavengers Reign Creator Reveals His Favorite Moment From the Underrated Show
Akin to the short story, Scavengers Reign attracts viewers’ attention through different sequences of the “scavengers” interacting with the mysterious planet they are stuck in and their attempts to get by by transforming alien lifeforms into tools.
One of Bennett’s favorite moments from the show also came through one of these interactions, as Ursula, who is voiced by Spirited actress Sunita Mani – stumbles across a plant, which shows the entire life-cycle of an alien in just a few seconds.
“The idea was just focusing on a very tiny, seemingly insignificant, mundane thing and making it feel epic and regal and grandiose, just going bananas with that,” Bennett noted.
This very idea remains the biggest takeaway from the show, as Bennett wants his audience to take a second look at seemingly insignificant things, like an ant pile, and discover just how complex and magical that world is, which we consistently fail to acknowledge and appreciate.