This week I wanted to do something a little different from the normal formula. In observance of Halloween, just six days away, something horror related seemed apropos. Originally I had selected “Little Shop” an early nineties adaptation of the musical “Little Shop of Horrors” starring Rick Moranis and Steve Martin. But then I wondered if I could find anything scarier. The problem with this endeavor is that the Venn diagram of Saturday morning programming and nightmare fuel doesn’t have a whole lot of crossover, except for “Inhumanoids” maybe.
The simple explanation, I thought, is that animation is wholesome on the whole, made for kids and trusted for its family friendliness right? Surely there are no disturbing animations outside of the hallowed halls of that anime stuff your mom never let you watch. In that assumption it seems I was wrong, horribly, terribly wrong.
Turns out there are plenty of animated stories that delve into the somewhat creepy or downright disturbing edges of the Venn diagram. So today I got up while it was still dark and watched a handful of animated horror shorts, three of which I’m sharing with you.
I’ll give them to you in order from “Whoa, that was kind of weird” all the way to “Jesus Christ, why would you make this.” You’re welcome. First up is-
“ALMA” Written and directed by Rodrigo Blaas; Run time: 5:29. Released June 24, 2009
This short film has no dialogue and relies on the implications of certain events to lead you along the story. We follow a little girl named Alma, who is identified when she writes her name on a chalkboard at the beginning of the story. Alma walks along a snowy street when she becomes fascinated with a doll in a toy store window. The animation is solid, reminiscent of Pixar, probably because Rodrigo Blaas was an animator on a couple of flicks you may have heard of (“Finding Nemo,” “The Incredible,” “WALL-E” to name a few). I’d give it a rating of 5 on the scare scale. It’s a creepy concept with alarming implications, but probably still okay for kids. The same can’t be said of-
"MEMORIA" Directed by Elísabet Ýr Atladóttir; Run time 6:28; Released September 27, 2013
This is the only one of the three shorts that has any dialogue, though it’s pretty minimal. We open on a house with an obviously storied past. A homeless man encounters the house and begins exploring but he finds that each door he opens shows him more than he expected. This one gets a 6 on the scare scale, it feels like a horror movie condensed into six minutes. Probably not appropriate for younglings for murder/suicide reasons, but hey I’m just a random blogger, not a child services agent. Raise your kids how you like.On the topic of raising little hellions. Have you ever asked the question “What do I have to do to get my kid to just never sleep again?” Ya, me either but if you hate peace and quiet and your child’s mental well being, show them-
"Escape from Hellview" Written and directed by Hadas Brandes; Run time 6:46; Released May 17, 2011
Or, if you’re not a monster, send your kid someplace happy and watch this by yourself, then question your decisions.
This short is based on and named after a song by CKY. I remember almost nothing about CKY other than that it had some connection to skateboarding in my teenage years and that they’re music rubbed me the wrong way. Apparently they write songs about perfectly distilled children’s nightmares because that’s basically what this flick is. It’s ever changing and incoherent yet somehow connected, and it moves from innocently scary to full blown pile of corpses torture terror in a few minutes. I’m giving it an 8 on the scary scale, the animation style lends to its creep factor, and the lack of dialogue forces you to rely completely on the little boys expressions for an emotional connect. Sadly the only emotions you see on his face are “Holy sh*t!” and “WHHYYYY!!!”
In retrospect, I’m sorry for putting you all through this. Maybe next week I’ll do “Little Shop” after all, feels really tame now.