At the tender age of 11, Lars (not-yet-“von”) Trier filmed a surprisingly sophisticated stop-motion animated short called Trip to Squash Land… A Super Sausage Film. There’s cheerful music, bright colors, and dancing bunnies rescued from the clutches of villainous frog-like creatures. Initially, I found the “cuteness” of Trier’s debut kind of ominous—it felt too twee not to belie some kind of dark evil—but I assumed it was just me projecting. Even the guy who created The Kingdom had to be am innocuous child at some point, right?
Wrong! Apparently Lars von Trier has never been anything short of truly disturbed mind! If you don’t believe me, take a look at this short he made at 14, with the sociopathic title of, Why Try to Escape from Which You Know You Can’t Escape from? Because You Are a Coward!
The plot is simple, but intense. A kid on a bicycle is hit by a truck. Another kid inspects the injured party, only to flee in terror—it’s not clear why he runs, but I think the implication is that kid #2 was the truck driver. The injured kid is suddenly animated through some kind of paranormal force (the candles are a dead giveaway), and he begins to pursue kid #2, now with sinister bandages over his face. There’s a great psychological thriller-style chase scene, but I won’t ruin the ending. The sound is pretty low, but if you crank up the volume you can hear pulsating acid rock, heavenly choirs, and some deep-voiced narration of what the Internet informs me are biblical references, but what I suspect are actually Satanic incantations in an unholy tongue (or Danish!). Oh and there’s some terrifying laughter, because why not?
Once again, creepy-kid Lars created a really sophisticated little film, with a precocious talent for editing, detail and really unnerving his audience.