Then you’ll probably love this stop-motion, Lego version of Dario Argento’s Tenebre.
Often considered the “finest film that Argento has ever made,” Tenebre (or Tenebrae) was (surprisingly) branded a “Video Nasty” upon its initial release in the U.K. In America the film it had a delayed release and was eventually allowed to escape in a badly cut version as Unsane.
Tenebre/Tenebrae proved to be a highly influential film and contains many of Argento’s signature themes and visual set-pieces. Thankfully, it was restored to its proper g(l)ory in the late-1990s and has since been re-evaluated by Tim Lucas at Video Watchdog, and Ed Gonzalez at Slant, who described Argento’s masterpiece as “a riveting defense of auteur theory, ripe with self-reflexive discourse and various moral conflicts. It’s both a riveting horror film and an architect’s worst nightmare.”
Mickey Mouse in Vietnam is anti-war animation produced by Lee Savage and Milton Glaser in 1968.
The one-minute cartoon has Mickey arriving in Vietnam before being shot in the head. This unofficial Mickey Mouse cartoon was said to have angered the Disney organization so much that they attempted to destroy every copy.
Until recently, the only known copies available for public viewing were one owned by the Sarajevo Film Festival (although the last time it was played there was in 2010), and one included on the Film-makers’ Coop’s 38 minute, 16mm collection reel titled For Life, Against the War (Selections), available for rental at $75 (though only to members of relevant organisations). The only pieces of hard evidence of the short’s existence available online were a few screenshots (all but one found in a 1998 French book entitled ‘Bon Anniversaire, Mickey!’).
‘All of my films have really been statements about America, strangely enough,’ said director Terry Gilliam in this documentary about his work and career, made for The South Bank Show in 1991.
If you look closely at them, or I sit and try to describe them in some way, they’re all me reacting to that country I left. They’re seen through the eyes of somebody who lives in Britain, who’s been affected by this world, but they’ve all been messages in film cans back to America.
They’ve been disguised with the Middle Ages and the Eighteenth Century and everything, but it’s about that. This one [The Fisher King] has no disguise—that’s what’s interesting about it. It’s there, it’s naked, this is the world.
Gilliam concludes the interview by dismissing any possibility of complacency in light of the success of The Fisher King .
Let’s say this film is successful and America is going to offer me money, there will be that tendency to say, “Oh, I’ll make more like this.” It’s easier to make films like this because I don’t have the same battles and I hope the perverse side of my nature is still there to rescue me from this, because I think that’s what’s kept me going is the sheer perverseness and because the easy path is that way…(Makes hand gesture) [and] I don’t do it
I think I’ll know when I’m really middle-aged when I go that way. If the next film is an easy film—you know it’s over. You’ll know he’s middle-aged, he’s fat, he’s a slob, he’s given up the battle.
As if that is ever going to happen, Mr. Gilliam!
Watch Terry Gilliam’s latest film ‘The Wholly Family’ after the jump…
The Harryhausen family regret to announce the death of Ray Harryhausen, Visual Effects pioneer and stop-motion model animator. He was a multi-award winner which includes a special Oscar and BAFTA. Ray’s influence on today’s film makers was enormous, with luminaries; Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, George Lucas, John Landis and the UK’s own Nick Park have cited Harryhausen as being the man whose work inspired their own creations.
Harryhausen’s genius was in being able to bring his models alive. Whether they were prehistoric dinosaurs or mythological creatures, in Ray’s hands they were no longer puppets but became instead characters in their own right, just as important as the actors they played against and in most cases even more so.
If it wasn’t a monster movie, then it wasn’t worth watching. That was my narrow view of films when I was a child. There was the usual list of werewolves, and vampires, and stitched-together cadavers from Frankenstein’s lab, but there was nothing quite as thrilling as seeing Ray Harryhausen’s name on a film.
Harryhausen’s name on a movie meant unforgettable special effects that made any average film extraordinary. Before VHS or DVD recorders, we memorized those key scenes to replay in our heads, and discuss at our leisure. The ghoulish, resurrected skeletons that fought Jason and the Argonauts; the Rhedosaurus that tore up New York in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms; the Terradactyl that terrorized Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C.; the sinewed goddess Khali that fought Sinbad; these were memories that made many a childhood special - mine included.
It was seeing the original version of King Kong that started Harryhausen off on his career. His ability to duplicate some of Willis O’Brien’s groundbreaking effects led the young Harryhausen to meet and then work with his idol on Mighty Joe Young, in 1949. Their collaboration won an Oscar, and set Harryhausen off on his career.
Today, tributes poured in from across the film industry praising Ray Harryhausen‘s genius:
“Ray has been a great inspiration to us all in special visual industry. The art of his earlier films, which most of us grew up on, inspired us so much.” “Without Ray Harryhausen, there would likely have been no STAR WARS” —George Lucas.
“THE LORD OF THE RINGS is my ‘Ray Harryhausen movie’. Without his life-long love of his wondrous images and storytelling it would never have been made – not by me at least” — Peter Jackson
“In my mind he will always be the king of stop-motion animation” —- Nick Park
“His legacy of course is in good hands because it’s carried in the DNA of so many film fans.” — Randy Cook
“You know I’m always saying to the guys that I work with now on computer graphics “do it like Ray Harryhausen” — Phil Tippett.
“What we do now digitally with computers, Ray did digitally long before but without computers. Only with his digits.” —Terry Gilliam.
“His patience, his endurance have inspired so many of us.” — Peter Jackson
“Ray, your inspiration goes with us forever.” — Steven Spielberg
“I think all of us who are practioners in the arts of science fiction and fantasy movies now all feel that we’re standing on the shoulders of a giant.
If not for Ray’s contribution to the collective dreamscape, we wouldn’t be who we are.” — James Cameron
A sad loss, and a sad day, but what movies he has left us!
Although today we tend think of Betty Boop as little more than a trademark seen on various consumer items, or in advertisements, at one time, Betty Boop, a creation of Fleischer Studios (who also came up with Popeye the Sailor) was looked upon similarly to the way we regard The Simpsons or South Park today, animations where much of the humor is aimed primarily at the adult viewer.
First of all, unlike Daisy Duck or Minnie Mouse, Betty was drawn with cleavage and frilly panties. And she was a human girl, not a duck or mouse girl. Modeled on the archetypal 20s jazz flapper, singer Helen Kane and the “It Girl” of the silent movie-era, Clara Bow, Betty Boop’s sex appeal was seen as somewhat upfront for a cartoon character. She was also seen, in the course of her adventures in certain less than savory situations, squalorous nightclubs and against run-down backdrops.
Barely disguised sexual innuendo is plentiful in Betty Boop cartoons and even images of gambling, drug paraphernalia and alcohol abuse are seen in one particular vivid nightmare sequence. One cartoon showed Betty and Koko the Clown getting high on Nitrous Oxide. Eventually the gas escapes outside and even the mailboxes have a giggle fit. In two others, she is topless. By 1934, Betty’s bohemian antics were toned down to appease the National Legion of Decency and the Production Code.
Some of the best-remembered Betty Boop cartoons are the ones featuring jazz legends like Louis Armstrong and Cab Calloway. In 1932’s (I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead) You Rascal You, Armstrong appears in some of the earliest footage ever seen of the great musician as a menacing, disembodied floating head, chasing Betty, Bimbo and Koko the Clown through the jungle, and performing with his orchestra. (“The High Society Rag” is also performed).
Cab Calloway was featured in several Betty Boop cartoons such as the classic Minnie the Moocher, where he sings as a walrus surrounded by ghosts to a runaway Betty. In 1933’s Snow White, Calloway, in the guise of Koko the Clown, moonwalks and sings St. James Infirmary Blues. Koko’s dance moves came from rotoscoped footage of Calloway (Max Fleisher, in fact, invented the Rotoscoping technique). In The Old Man Of the Mountain, Calloway performs three numbers.
While dead bug puppets may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the pioneers of animation, Ladislas Starevich produced some of the most surreal and groundbreaking images in early film. Born in Moscow to Polish parents, Starevich started making documentaries when he was appointed Director of the Museum of Natural History in Lithuania.
His fifth film was supposed to be the combat of stag beetles, but the nocturnal insects kept shutting down when the lights went on. His solution, inspired by the work of Émile Cohl, “Father of the Animated Cartoon,” was to simply stage a mock battle with beetle corpses instead. After that, he developed theatrical narratives and story arcs for his “actors,” creating the unnerving, dreamy film you can watch below.
Although creepy bug theater will always be my favorite in his oeuvre, Starevich went on the make amazing live action films, and some other beauties with more traditional puppets. It ain’t Disney, but the dark humor and jarring storytelling is so innovative, especially when you consider that he did it with nothing but dead bugs, miniatures, some wire, and what must have been infinite patience.
Redditor jamieleto posted a fun series of classic Disney cartoons where a technique called rotoscoping was used (before computers, natch).
If you’re unfamiliar with rotoscoping, here’s some background information on the subject via Wikipedia:
Rotoscoping is an animation technique in which animators trace over footage, frame by frame, for use in live-action and animated films. Originally, recorded live-action film images were projected onto a frosted glass panel and re-drawn by an animator. This projection equipment is called a rotoscope, although this device was eventually replaced by computers.
In the visual effects industry, the term rotoscoping refers to the technique of manually creating a matte for an element on a live-action plate so it may be composited over another background.
Probably the most famous example of rotoscoping was A-ha’s 1985 music video for “Take on Me.”
Update: There’s some debate as to whether or not the rotoscoping technique was used for these cartoons or if they were just reference shots for the animators.
The eleventh incarnation of Hanna-Barbera’s Scooby-Doo cartoon was called Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated! which ran on the Cartoon Network from 2010 until earlier this month.
According to Wikipedia, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated! was ‘dark,’ paying homage to the likes of A Nightmare on Elm Street, the Saw franchise, David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, and the eldritch horror of H.P. Lovecraft.
In particular, in the second season, the central story arc of the show evolves to heavily feature the use of Babylonian mythology, exploring the Anunnaki, the Babylonian and modern pseudo-scientific concepts of Nibiru, and the writings of Zecharia Sitchin.
Fun fact: Actor Michael J. Anderson (little dancing man) lent his voice for these Scooby-licious episodes.
Japan’s Oorutaichi (aka Taichi Moriguchi) calls his music “imaginary electronic folklore.” His loopy loops and break beats come from whimsical and off-kilter inspirations. He often sings and chants in a made-up language.
In “Hamihadarigeri” he dices and slices a left-field choice, indeed, “Symphonique #1 (Portrait of a Monarch)” a piece by the legendary blind musician Louis Hardin, AKA Moondog, The Viking of 6th Avenue. It’s amazing and the animated video absolutely lives up to the music. What an audio-visual knockout.
One YouTube commenter, “originalpaulisdead” wrote:
“this video deserves to be played continuously on a hundred foot screen in times square.”