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Jay Alan Christianson,
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Different black-and-white animation techniques tell several scary stories. There's a story of a teenage boy who meets the wrong girl. Another tale deals with a small community where people disappear and are never seen again. Then there's the narrative of a little Japanese girl who suffers from horrible nightmares followed by a tale where a man doesn't get the rest he hoped for in an old not-so-abandoned house. These stories are connected by the story about a man with a devilish smile and four enormous dogs from hell and by a woman's monologue about her fears. Written by
Marco van Hoof <firstname.lastname@example.org>
An ambitious experiment in B&W animated horror-suspense
A short preface: the device of chopping up and interspersing the segments was not completely successful, in my opinion. The individual episodes would have been more cohesive and effective if each had been told uninterrupted, and this would have benefited the film as a whole.
Richard Mcguire's final segment was far and away the most inventive in the use of shadow/light, and i think was easily the most elaborate and accomplished of all the segments (hence my decision to begin with it). His short alone would have warranted a recommendation for PEUR(S) DU NOIR. (thankfully the producers chose to leave this one intact, and it serves as a glorious ending to this collection. Splendid! 9/10
Lorenzo Mattotti's young-boy-reminiscing/mysterious-beast tale comes in a close second for me.. i especially liked its superb gunshots-in-the-dark climax. 8/10
The impressionistic, primal style of Blutch's opening segment (wild dogs being led around London by a sadistic handler) was more disturbing than frightening (that said, it was hardly unenjoyable), and offered some of the more haunting images of the movie (i daresay this short suffered the most from being split up). A seamless telling would have netted an 8/10, but as it stands, i give this a 7/10
I wasn't so impressed with Charles Burns' segment (creepy tale about a young lad being dominated by a mysterious love interest), although it had its own perverse charm. Reminded me instantly of the Black Hole comics in its artistic style as well as its psycho-sexual overtones (no surprise, then, when i discovered they share the same author!). This one squeaks past 6 to 7/10
Marie Caillou's tale was the least memorable primarily because of its flash-animated visual style. Still, it was surreal and interesting. Once again, this suffered from being told episodically. 6/10
If i had to pick an overall weakness in particular, it would be Pierre Di Scullo's freestyle monologue linking the segments. Occasionally amusing as it was, its accompanying abstract visuals were disappointingly uninspired. Not only was it thematically somewhat incongruent with the rest of the film, the absence of this light-hearted intermission would have made the film more powerful in its entirety (no doubt the intention of the film-makers WAS to afford audiences a brief respite every few minutes from the terror , i felt this decision unnecessary) 5/10
Overall score: an impressive 8/10 (bumped up from 7 thanks to Mcguire)
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