The producer of the Horror Movie, Fears of the Dark, summed it up like this:
Spiders’ legs brushing against naked skin… Unexplainable noises heard at night in a dark bedroom… A big empty house where you feel a presence… A hypodermic needle getting closer and closer… A dead thing trapped in a bottle of formaldehyde… A huge growling dog, baring its teeth and staring… So many scary moments we have experienced at some point in our lives – like the craftsmen of this journey straight to the land of fear. Six of the worlds hottest graphic artists and cartoonists have breathed life into their nightmares, bleeding away colour only to retain the starkness of light and the pitch black of shadows. Their intertwined stories make up an unprecedented epic where phobias, disgust and nightmares come to life and reveal Fear at its most naked and intense…
Bringing together the work of graphic artists Blutch, Marie Caillou, Pierre Di Sciullo, Jerry Kramski, Lorenzo Mattoti, Richard McGuire, Michel Pirus, and Romain Slocombe this is obviously a fantastically visual treat for the eyes as well as being genuinely scary.
Charles Burns contributes a story of an isolated and shy college student who is seduced by a woman who seems to somehow be the offspring of a giant praying mantis.
This is perhaps the creepiest of the lot, having definite echoes of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis and is well served by the beautiful yet sparse illustrations used to depict the nightmare scenario. Another story takes on the Anime themes of schoolgirls and syringes and sexual provocation, mixing in a ghost story and a wildly imaginative and incredibly disturbing looking creature.
There’s a great somewhat Saul Bass ((legendary film graphic designer who created memorable title sequences for Hitchcock) piece and a more straightforward though no less artistically satisfying and emotionally chilling story of a man with a team of ferocious dogs who attacks a little boy. What doesn’t really work is the annoying voice over in-between the animated segments where a woman reels off a list of things she wants to avoid becoming.
It’s a French language film with subtitles but the beauty is in the imagery rather than the words. If you like art house animation, you’ll love this movie, and if you just want a good horror, you can’t do better.
Original Name: Peur[s] du noir
Director: Blutch,Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Pierre Di Sciullo, Lorenzo Mattotti, Richard McGuire
Cast: Gil Alma, Aure Atika, Fancois Creton, Guillaume Depardieu, Sarah-Laure Estragnat, Nicolas Feroumont, Nicole Garcia
Nominations: Motion Picture Sound Editors