BEAR FROM AREA X (ANNIHILATION)
Alex Garland’s cerebral sci-fi Annihilation takes you deep into the weird, warped parallel universe of the Shimmer, an alien environment that is fast absorbing nature and distorting it within a zone that scientists are dubbing Area X. The film follows five researchers (played by Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, and Tuva Novotny) into the isolated bubble, where the very DNA of all living things are corrupted into bizarre mutations — like vining plants growing in the shape of humans and trees growing toward the sky in glassy crystal spikes.
But there’s one particular mutation that’s likely to haunt your nightmares most: a massive, violent bear with its face peeled off, which terrifyingly emits the distorted voice of its last human victim, screaming “help me” over and over again as it attacks the team.
To create the bear, artists used 3D software to visually mash human and bear skull and facial features together. “We looked at that and said, ‘That’s horrible, that’s really very visually striking and interesting, what can we do with that?’” Whitehurst said. “The rest of the creature, in terms of its physiognomy, is very bear-like, but in order to get the idea of the sickness, we had parts — particularly around the face, the skull, and flesh — atrophied in a way. We gave it alopecia and other skin complaints so the creature looked like it was suffering.”