Extraordinary Tales (2015)
Directed by Raul Garcia
Stories by Edgar Allan Poe screenplay by Raul Garcia
Guillermo del Toro
This is an animated collection of five Poe stories. For the most part modern animation styles take a back seat and the styles of more intrinsic art are brought to life for the tales. They each carry their own distinct visual flair applied to Poe’s source material. We have the squared-off and skewed shapes in The House of Usher, the stark black & white imagery and cutting lines for The Tell-Tale Heart (in artist, Alberto Breccia’s style), and the graphic novel/Creepy magazine style of The Masque of Red Death. Voice overs and narration are done by Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi, Guillermo del Toro, Roger Corman and Julian Sands, amongst others, who each provide their unique expression to the benefit of the atmosphere. Lugosi is here courtesy of an old recording/reading remastered for the Tell Tale Heart segment. The wrap around concerns a crow in a graveyard talking to Death. The conversation between them leads us into the stories. Everything is backed by classic musical compositions by Sergio de la Puente with additional music from Javier López de Guereña. I’m surprised this has such a low rating, but with its gothic origins and gloomy mood, I guess that should be expected. The stories are edited into shorter form than Poe’s original works but they work well with the animation. Also included are The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar and The Pit and the Pendulum to round out the best tales from the gothic master. For someone who grew up reading horror illustrated comics such as Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella, and Heavy Metal Magazine, this is a pleasant throwback to a similar storytelling and visual style. Revisit Poe’s most popular tales with animation worthy of artistic merit in this fine collection.
This gothic animated film heralding the work of Edgar Allan Poe provides gloomy, yet interesting entertainment.
I give it 3.9 cringe inducing, caterwauling, death wails out of 5 on the gothic haunting horror scale.