An image generally holds more prominent impact on human mind than words. And if it’s animated, the impact seems to be even more as, being a dynamic medium, it manipulates images or objects on screen.
In a time when the likes of Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks are coming up with animated content that has been mostly associated with something adorable, jovial, entertaining, having a feel-good factor and happy endings, some of the directors and animators are using this medium to narrate horror stories that are disturbing and scary at the same time.
Since animation is also limited by the bounds of the artist’s imagination, it can also tend to be creepier and far more surreal in terms of treatment and content. Each of these super-short animations brings a unique angle to the horror genre sending chills down the spine as much as a live-action movie.
Few scary horror animated films are:
This animated short features Lily who suffers from sleep paralysis that leads to horrific implications on her waking life and on her sister Beth. The film tackles the concept of Sleep Paralysis by combining few disturbing horror tropes – that of a the creepy kid with an imaginary friend only she can see, her sister who suffers from the doppelganger looking to steal your life away, the supernatural invader; they all combine into a story with unusual impact.
The ‘other’ Lily is represented as a twisted and disturbing version of Lily who was trying to get into the real world of Beth, using their dreams as a gateway. Finally the demonised other Lily either killed the real Lily or took both Lily her sister Beth into her realm.
Directed by David Romero, the animation style is smartly executed and impressive as it accomplishes all of this just with just sound effects and no music or dialogue.
Directed and animated by Erik Rosenlund, this horror short was nominated for a Golden Palm for best short film at the Cannes film festival in 2007. The film begins with a little girl enjoying a cartoon on TV on a stormy night. Her leisure is disrupted when the TV suddenly turns into a mirror with her own reflection trying to chase her.
Terrified, she runs for her life until it’s revealed that her reflection is trying to warn her against an impending doom. She is ultimately caught by the invisible attacker, with her mirror-image as the sole witness of the incident. It’s left open-ended for the audience and viewers to guess what perhaps must have happened with that little girl.
The animation style is very unique and effective and the main character seems like a chalk-drawn image. This film too is devoid of dialogues and the entire frame is achromatic perfectly supported by audio effects.
Another horror fiesta from David Romero, this film finds a homeless old man taking shelter in an abandoned house, unaware of the horrifying experience that’s waiting for him. Hungry and tired he desperately looks for food but finds none, until a throbbing sound wakes him up at the dead of the night.
He surprisingly gets hold of a piece of meat from the kitchen wall which he happily eats after cooking it. His sleep is again disturbed by a similar throbbing sound that leads him to encounter a scary female figure coming out of the same wall who screams- “Give me back my heart”.
Horrified, he tries to run out of the building but fails, as the figure gets hold of him. The next scene shows the spirit with a hole in her chest and her heart throbbing.
The title and the execution of the story truly demands appreciation with the animation style seamlessly blending with the story. The theme of feeling the pangs of hunger, deep within our heart is very appealing the way it’s used both literally and figuratively.
This animated short is creepy as well as disturbing. The film follows the life of a drug addict Vincent, who ends up in an abandoned house, where a dark and twisted entity forces him to face his suppressed past.
The dramatic plot line and the animation takes a walk down his memory and we get a glimpse of his life, rather what exactly led him to this condition.
The animation beautifully plays into the surrealism of a few scenes though it might seem a bit confusing at some parts. Despite being morbid and disturbing, Memoria is a commendable piece of animated horror that journeys into the dark depths of one’s soul.
Horror as a genre seems quite enticing. And when it combines with animation, it just gets better. Some of them mentioned here, there are several such horror films that deserve both attention and appreciation as it captures the mysterious unknown- the fear that’s latent in all of us.