Thousands of decaying bodies adorn a near-future Eiffel Tower, twisted and mangled amongst its ironwork the way creeping ivy would blend with a trellis. A handful of the bodies dangle loosely, strung up by some unknown material. Some drip down to the ground. Are they already dead, or dying?
Neill Blomkamp's teaser for the new shorts series Oats Volume 1, which will be available on Steam, is dark and twisted; and it could be the grizzly science fiction fans need right now in a year when a new Alien film disappoints.
Blomkamp, renowned director of science fiction-cum-social commentary movies like District 9 and Elysium is no stranger to creating stark, lived-in stories of plight. District 9 was a smorgasbord of racism, apartheid, and poverty.
But, as announced in back in April, Blomkamp's next creations will be experimental short films released onto Valve's PC gaming service Steam—giving Blomkamp creative freedom unrestrained by Hollywood's shackles.
Oats Volume 1 will be the first such film released by Blomkamp's new venture Oats Studios, and tells the story of reptilian aliens invading Earth and humanity's subsequent resistance. It's a familiar scenario in science fiction, but Blomkamp's decision to release via Steam, alongside his self-confessed "experimental" direction, could herald some truly innovative and unhinged science fiction.
It's an interesting platform to release on. Valve started selling movies in 2015, and in 2016, a partnership with movie giant Lionsgate saw more than 100 titles added to Steam's catalogue as Valve looked to compete with rivals such as Netflix and Amazon. But while reviews of Steam's non-gaming content has thus far been fairly negative, Valve's scoop of a juicy director like Blomkamp mixed with short films perfect for the thousands of gamers on Steam may well be a recipe for success.
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