In this animated version of Edgar Allan Poe's story, a traveller arrives at the Usher mansion to find that the sibling inhabitants are living under a mysterious family curse: The brother's ... See full summary »
A bust of Stalin is cut open on an operating table, leading to an elaborate animated depiction of Czech history from 1948 (the Communist takeover) to 1989 (the Velvet Revolution). Some ... See full summary »
A man sits down to watch a football match, which seems to consist of the players being violently mutilated in various inventive ways. The players then leave the football pitch and invade ... See full summary »
BREAKFAST: After eating breakfast, a man is transformed into an elaborate dumb-waiter-style breakfast dispenser - and the same fate befalls the man who obtains breakfast from him. LUNCH: ... See full summary »
THE PENDULUM, THE PIT AND HOPE (Jan Svankmajer, 1984) **1/2
An imprisoned man finally escapes from an underground torture chamber. A relentlessly grim and oppressive rendition – comparable, in fact, to Alexandre Astruc's definitive TV version from 1964 – but the source material's despairing prose is sorely missed throughout. Famed Czech animator Svankmajer would later lend his uniquely surreal hand to such literary classics as "Alice In Wonderland" and "Faust" but this initial stab – his second from Poe material – is decidedly less appealing despite its very brief running time. Although the original source material was a short story itself, it has often been opened up for its cinematic adaptations which range from the popular Roger Corman/Vincent Price classic from 1961 to the little-seen but not ineffective Stuart Gordon/Oliver Reed version from 1990.
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