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Extraordinary Tales

Extraordinary Tales (2015)

October. 23,2015
| Animation Horror Mystery

Five tales by Edgar Allan Poe come to life thanks to a pictorical style animation, five tales that exude madness, pestilence, murder and torture.


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Jesper Brun

I love both animation and Edgar Allan Poe and that made me curious about this animated anthology movie. Let me start off by saying that the narration and the voice acting is the most consistent in its quality through the relatively short running time. I can't pick my exact favorite of the narrators, but I think my over all favorite of the segments was "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar". It really comes down to personal taste. Each segment has its own unique visual style, and even though it can be a little hard on the eye adjusting to new styles for every segment, I found it adding to the atmosphere and the experience. The one which awoke the fewest reactions of "wow" or "interesting" in me was the last segment in which it looked nice when characters remained still, but didn't have fluid movements. An interesting watch with great atmosphere done through great narration, ominous music and mostly nice visuals, but too uneven to be called extraordinary.

Mark Turner

Edgar Allan Poe has fascinated readers for decades in both his personal life and the stories he told. Many have combined both for some great movies, most notable Roger Corman with the Poe films he shot starring Vincent Price. More recently was the film THE RAVEN featuring John Cusak as the tortured writer. Anytime word comes out of a Poe related film interest is high and so are expectations. So when I heard there was an animated feature involving a collection of short films based on his writings I was interested to say the least.My hopes were satisfied with this film. Using various forms of animation the movie takes on several of Poe's classic tales of mystery and horror and gives them life on the screen. My only surprised was to find that the movie was released in 2013 and I had only just now heard of it. With the ton of bad movies playing in theaters one would think there would be room in a multiplex to show this one.As with most anthology films there is a story tying them all together. Here it is a raven speaking to statues in a cemetery. It isn't long (and not a spoiler) before we gather that the raven is Poe's spirit and the statue is Death come to take him home after his passing. With each story we get more of a glimpse into Poe as he comes to grip with his death and fear of being forgotten.The first story is THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER and is presented in the current popular form of animation using computer generated images. Rather than go the route of trying to make them look like real people the style used here is reminiscent of THE CORPSE BRIDE with stylized features on the characters. The tale of madness that brings on the eventual end of the Usher family is well presented, perhaps more clearly than the previous version of this story told by Corman.Second comes THE TELL TALE HEART. As with each of the following episodes here the style of animation switches to something more akin to a combination of standard and CGI animation. The story itself remains a gruesome one that may cause nightmares for younger children as they recall the eye of the victim staring at the murderer.Third is THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF M. VALDEMAR, a story of an attempt to delay death with dire consequences. Filmed once before in TALES OF TERROR, another anthology film this time directed by Roger Corman, both stand the test of time in relating horror in a graphic form. A cautionary tale of man's trying to play at being God is quite well thought out and presented here.The fourth story is one most associate with Poe, THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM. What is interesting here is that the story is presented more in line with the written word as opposed to what Corman brought out in his film based on the same story. Torture and fear brought about by the Inquisition are on display here as a man contemplates his fate while a swinging pendulum continues to get closer and closer.The last tale offered here is THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH. This one goes a more artistic route in the animation style on display using more painted images than drawn or computer generated. My only surprise on this one was the loss of the character of Hopfrog whose image and fate were fairly gruesome as I recall.I will say that not all of the styles of animation work to perfection and some will definitely be more easily accessible to viewers than others, but in the end the entire production is worthy of the subject matter. This movie would make a great introduction to the works of Poe for younger, though not too young, viewers. That they could take the written word and turn it into a film like this might inspire those young viewers to seek out the source material and who knows, maybe even get them to actually read.Various stars read the material on hand as narrators including Guillermo del Toro, Julian Sands, Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi and even Roger Corman himself. While the stories tie together it offers a great way to change not just the style of the story but the way it is read as well. Yet another item that might inspire people to read the source material knowing it can be read in more ways than one.In the end this is an inspired production that can be enjoyed by fans of Poe and those who aren't quite familiar with him just yet. It was enjoyable enough that I'll be adding it to my shelf here with the thought of pulling it out from time to time to enjoy all over again. I can't say the same for some animated projects out there. Hopefully more will discover this one.


it is too short, the style of each story is too different, the script could be better. but it is a beautiful occasion to remind the work of Poe and good challenge to rediscover his writings. than, it is a nice way to meet voices of actors who are the gift to create not bad frames for old pictures. and it remains a film with special flavor, slice from lost universe, who rebuild emotions and memories from a long time ago. far to be perfect, it has a different form of seduction , first for the Poe's fans. and that does it interesting. sure, it is not the best animation but the good intentions are, in that case, relevant. a film about love and the past. about desire of immortality. naive. but not bad.


In the time of excessive CGI, it's nice to see that there's still a place with distinct comic book, video game and ever classic painting style. This anthology is a delightfully eerie visual parade of short stories, each account spans for approximately ten minutes. While this eccentric niche unfortunately might not appeal to everyone, it's a great homage to the poet and frighteningly quirky enough for fans to thoroughly appreciate.The tales are treated as separate stories, with different production value and narrator. For those who like graphic style of Corpse Bride, Coraline or even Sin City, they might find fascinating surprise here. There's even a nod to comic book signature, as well as my favorite "The Masque of the Red Death" which seem like a living portrait from centuries before.They have one underlining theme of dread, with scare and gore one would expect from horror nowadays, although nothing too intrusive that it would repulse audience. Most have narrators and voice acting, these instances have such surreal feel about it. Many, especially gamers and animation enthusiasts would recognize the voice of Christopher Lee. However, the silence can just be equally effective to deliver the short burst of fright.Its main obstacle is, ironically, its own unworldly styles. They can be so strange that one or a couple of them might alienate the audience. Among even fans of comic book or horror, not every tale would resonate on the same level. Still, they are relatively short, so one would most likely find something to adore here.This collection is a myriad of uncanny tales affectionately crafted with unique visual. They are unmistakably bleak yet charming and designed to charm viewer with sheer oddity.