Animating Horror

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by Lee Price
October 31, 2012 8:00 AM
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This is the fifth of six essays based on the list of “250 Great Animated Short Films,” recently published here at Press Play.  These six essays are celebrating the inspiration behind some of these films; a complementary series of 20 essays on my cultural history blog, 21 Essays, focuses on common themes.

“Still I waited while time slowed… stopped… ebbed out.”
              The Tell-Tale Heart (1953)
              Directed by Ted Parmelee
              Story adaptation by Bill Scott and Fred Grable

It’s the witching hour…

The Sandman (1993), directed by Paul Berry.

The Tell-Tale Heart (1953), directed by Ted Parmelee.

Harpya (1979), directed by Raoul Servais.

The moon is out…

The Tell-Tale Heart (1953), directed by Ted Parmelee.

The Sandman (1993), directed by Paul Berry.

A lonely house at night…

The Tell-Tale Heart (1953), directed by Ted Parmelee.

Harpya (1979), directed by Raoul Servais.

The Sandman (1993), directed by Paul Berry.

Inside, there’s a staircase…

The Tell-Tale Heart (1953), directed by Ted Parmelee.

Harpya (1979), directed by Raoul Servais.

The Sandman (1993), directed by Paul Berry.

Shadows lengthen and fall…

Harpya (1979), directed by Raoul Servais.

The Tell-Tale Heart (1953), directed by Ted Parmelee.

The Sandman (1993), directed by Paul Berry.

There are many remarkable images of nightmarish horror on our list of 250 great animated short films.  The images in this essay are drawn from three particular films that succeed in merging expressionist and surreal nightmare images with a traditional horror narrative—the type of tale that’s told around a campfire as the sun sets and the shadows lengthen.

The Tell-Tale Heart (1953), directed by Ted Parmelee

Harpya (1979), directed by Raoul Servais

The Sandman (1991), directed by Paul Berry

Happy Halloween!

Lee Price is the Director of Development at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (Philadelphia, PA). In addition, he writes a popular fundraising column for Public Libraries, writes a tourism/history blog called "Tour America's Treasures," and recently concluded two limited-duration blogs, "June and Art" and "Preserving a Family Collection."

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