HIFF 2015: Extraordinary Tales

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Raul Garcia’s animated anthology of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories, Extraordinary Tales, was actually my first pick at this years festival. There’s a couple of good reasons. Firstly, I love horror and Edgar Allan Poe’s stories, and secondly, in the near past I’ve worked on some puppet animation myself.

Extraordinary Tales consists of five short stories adapted from the master of horror (and few other genres as well). As the director mentioned in a

Q&A after the film, some Poe’s short stories have very strong resemblance to each other. Thankfully, these stories are all well chosen from Poe’s catalogue, and each one holds it’s own particular flavor.

The stories work brilliantly together and form a dense thematic net: Poe’s typical subjects like death, disease and regret are strongly present. All the sequences are animated differently, which creates each a unique visual look. The use of watercolor in “The Masque of Red Death” is at the same time haunting and hypnotic to look at. Sergio de la Puente’s music amplifies the intensity of the stories.

This is also a fair chance at name-dropping as the story narrators are such as Sir Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi, Julian Sands, Guillermo del Toro and Roger Corman. Especially Sir Christopher Lee’s deep resonating voice creates intimidating atmosphere in “The Fall of the House of Usher”.

If you are one of those that is too scared to watch a horror film, this animation is an easy and soft entry to the hauntingly beautiful imagery of horror.

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