The Grim Fandango Stop-Mo project is an unofficial, fan-based and non-commercial attempt at recreating some of the famous scenes of Grim Fandango, an adventure game designed by Tim Schafer, and published by Lucas Arts in 1998.
Why Grim Fandango?
Grim Fandango is the best story ever told in a computer gameGrim Fandango is probably the best personal computer game ever produced in the now almost-defunct "graphic adventure" genre. The game broke several new innovative technical and game-play grounds back then in 1998, but the cult-following Grim Fandango (which was still ranked 20th in IGN's 25 PC games of all times in 2009, 13 year after its release), and an explanation for its fan-base longevity, lies in its plot and its unique design style.
I remember purchasing my copy of Grim Fandango in my local superstore. I was intrigued by the "film noir" design of the box, by the skull of Manny, and - that was the seller - by the fact that it had been designed by the same guys that produced "Full Throttle", another cult game I had enjoyed from the now legendary Tim Shaffer.
The next thing I remember, after hours of puzzle solving trials and errors, is the emotion I had when I realized that I had just reached the end of the game. I felt a little uneasy about it, in the exact same way as when one turn the last page of a great book. The characters had grown on me, and I did not want to let it go. Ironically Grim Fandango take place in an afterlife world where the hero, Manny Calavera, is "stuck". From what I can tell looking at the vibrant GF fan community, quite a few players got stuck as well in the Land of the Deads.
Why a stop-motion movie project?
I have always fantasized becoming (among many other things) a movie director. Doing a short stop-motion movie, however daunting the project can be, looks like the most reachable goal that approach it. Redoing some of the full Motion Video cut-scene of Grim Fandango, as a fan-based project, looks like a good idea to learn the ropes of Stop Mo animation for several reason :
1 - Animating a skull looks easier and more forgiving than animating a flesh & blood character
2 - GF is all about the story, and offers, right "out-of-the-box" many dramatic full-motion Video cut-scene to emulate (or parody, depending on the result!).
3 - There is a great GF fan crowd out there. I don't know why, but these turns out the be very fine people : they are supportive (and hungry for) any fan-driven project that keeps their GF dreams alive. And they tend to be forgiving too...
I don't know if "Nightmare before Chrismas" or "The Corpse bride" from Tim Burton are influencing my views, but I feel that the world of Grim Fandango is a perfect fit for the look and feel of a stop-mo movie : Stop-Mo movies seems always to shine with creepy-funny genre.