The story is a psychological portrait of a mad narrator. A murderer who can not stop hearing his victim's relentless heartbeat. "The Tell-Tale Heart" is a horror story and psychological thriller told from a first-person perspective.
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Colin M. Day
Glen E. Friedman,
Kelly 'Risk' Graval
The stories featured are "The Fall of the House of Usher," narrated by Sir Christopher Lee; "The Tell-Tale Heart," narrated by Bela Lugosi; "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar," narrated by Julian Sands; "The Pit and the Pendulum," narrated by Guillermo del Toro; and "The Masque of the Red Death," which isn't narrated. See more »
(around 1h 08 mins) A tombstone giving data for Edgar Allan Poe with birth and death dates is seen; also showing a quote from one of his most famous writings but is misquoted as 'QUOT THE RAVEN "NEVERMORE"'. All publications and references to The Raven have always used the proper verbiage of Quoth instead of quot. See more »
Sometimes I think the only thing that kept me from you was my beating heart.
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A great concept, with a somewhat disappointing result
The idea of an animated anthology of macabre Edgar Allan Poe tales, presented in different visual aesthetics, seems great on paper. But the promising concept suffers somewhat in the execution. Despite the diverse "looks" of the animated segments, the animation is all of a similarly limited CGI variety. The film's biggest weakness is the framing device, which involves the spirit of Poe in the body of a raven having an introspective conversation with the spirit of Death in a cemetery full of statuary. The animation in the cemetery scenes is particularly lackluster (almost like flattened objects in a three-dimensional space), the voice work is uninspired, and the whole thing is set in the bright daylight, which is a curious choice for an anthology of such dark tales. Luckily, the Poe stories themselves are appropriately atmospheric, once they get going.
The movie tells five classic Edgar Allan Poe tales. "The Fall of the House of Usher" is narrated brilliantly by British horror icon Christopher Lee. The animation is fluid and designed with a stylized, quasi-geometric, "carved-out-of-wood" quality. "The Tell-Tale Heart" is accompanied by a seemingly ancient audio recording of the great Bela Lugosi ("Dracula"), and presented in a stark black and white style inspired by the work of comic artist Alberto Breccia. Incorporating long-dead horror icon Lugosi is a cool touch, but the muffled audio seems too quiet and detached from the animation. "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" (with the voice of Julian Sands) has a comic book aesthetic. "The Pit and the Pendulum", set during the Spanish Inquisition, is narrated by Mexican filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro, and the animation approximates a photo-realistic video game. The medieval tale, "The Masque of the Red Death", is told solely through its imagery (no narration), and has a watercolor aesthetic. The stories are dark and eerie, and occasionally gruesome. Some use Poe's original words, some paraphrase within Poe's narrative, and one uses no words at all.
Edgar Allan Poe's short stories are well-served in the anthology format, and stylized animation captures Poe's eerie atmosphere better than live-action ever could. This movie seems like a match made in heaven, but the animation is not entirely satisfying and the cemetery framework is a drag. Still, you can't go wrong with the works of Edgar Allan Poe, and "Extraordinary Tales" (2013) would be a nice introduction to Poe's classic stories for modern audiences.
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