Friday, December 9, 2016

Extraordinary Tales (2015)

Creepy horror animated horror film is based on the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. While the animation is interesting the real reason to see this film is the killer voice cast which includes Christopher Lee Guillermo Del Toro and Bela Lugosi.

The film is framed by a conversation that a Raven (actually the reincarnation of Poe) has with a statue in a grave yard (actually death).  The conversation has Death trying to get the raven to go with her. He pauses periodically to talk of a story he wrote and then the film shifts into a short film recounting one of the Poe stories.

The stories in order are as follows:

Christopher Lee does Fall of the House of Usher. The animation style is mixed affair but Lee's performance is sterling. Its a wonder that he didn't do more voice work because he manages to achieve chills purely through his voice.

Bela Lugosi's reading of The Tell Tale Heart is from an old radio show and its absolutely chilling. When you hear it you'll be heart broken when you realize what a mint he might have made in today animation and voice over industries. The film is done in the style of artist----.

Julian Sands recounts the  Case of M Valdemer. Has Sands playing a mesmerist who stops Valdemer from crossing over. Its a nice variation on the story though it doesn't get as icky some do in the final moments.

Director Guillermo Del Toro's vocal acting in The Pit and the Pendulum will make you wish he did voice over work. Sadly the way the story unfolds is much to slack. There are long gaps between Del Toro's powerful performance during which we are treated to some of the weakest animation in a film

The final story is Masque of the Red Death which is  largely wordless expect for a single line from Roger Corman as Prospero and one other line. This story is a visual delight and a nice bump up from  the weakness of the previous story.

Over all this is a a nice retelling of some classic Poe stories and it's nice that GKids has brought the film to the US and gave it a real release to theaters.

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