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 ...
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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 »
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 senses have become painfully acute, while his sister has become nearly catatonic. As the visitor's stay at the mansion continues, the effects of the curse reach their terrifying climax, and he must choose between his concern for his hosts' safety, and his own.Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
great on imagery, but some of the actual story is... lost on me
For sixteen minutes Czech animator and filmmaker Jan Svankmajer does his job well with getting a real terror and doom and gloom and deconstruction of the house of Usher, one of those quintessential spots of horror of Poe. In just watching the images go by and the stop-motion utilized in creative and unexpected ways involving the house and walls and pools of water and mud, it's amazing work. But the problem for me was in the actual translation of the story itself. Perhaps it's being only most familiar with English, so with the DVD subtitles going by at a quick clip that it's hard to keep up with keeping an eye on all of these dark visions put on the screen. That there's also a complete lack of any actors (unless one counts a sole raven among the cast) is also a deterrent since the story features all of these characters decomposing along with the damned house itself. It's an expressionist experiment, somewhat reminiscent of parts of Last Year at Marienbad, but it's only successful in part because of the director's dedication to the imagery. It's great pictures put to a so-so execution of "story" if there is much of one at all; maybe I'll learn Czech one say and it'll appear better.
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