stop-motion animation

All posts tagged stop-motion animation

Mad Monster Party: The Best Halloween Ticket in Town

Published October 31, 2015 by vfdpixie

Mad Monster Party

Mad Monster Party (1967, 1 hr., 35 mins.)

 

After searching for a party to attend this Halloween, I finally found the ultimate shin-dig, but I’m going back, way back, to a classic movie that some of you may remember.

When I was a kid, for several years in a row, Mad Monster Party aired on Halloween night, and I would always watch it as I got ready for trick or treating. Putting on my costume, I would giggle as Baron Von Frankenstein held court with his monster dinner guests, ready to reveal his crazy plans.  Directed by the king of animated specials Jules Bass, this “Animagic” feat is a heap of silly but I still marveled at the skill needed to create this wacky stop-motion film.

Baron Boris von Frankenstein (Boris Karloff) has completed his ultimate goal and is retiring. After mastering the secret to creation with his monster and his mate, he has now created a deadly elixir and would like to share the news with his monster colleagues and announce his successor.  He decides to throw a dinner party at his Isle of Evil where he’ll reveal his destructive formula and his human nephew, the allergy-ridden pharmacist Felix Flankin, as the new head of the World Wide Organization of Monsters.  Francesca (Gale Garnett) his secretary is not pleased with his choice, and when his ghoulish guests arrive, they are also upset a human will be taking over.  After a night of eating, dancing and rough-housing, everyone plots to get rid of Felix, and devilish double crossings throw all plans into chaos.

This is some silly fun that fills the nostalgia void. The characterizations of classic monsters such as Dracula, the Hunchback, and the Werewolf are beyond cute, and the relentless one-liners they spew are ridiculous.  Silly gag after silly gag, my favourite being the Baron’s assistant Yetch and his detachable head, make you chuckle, and the musical numbers are really clever, not to mention all the little horror details like the zombie bellhops and a skeleton band that pepper this old-school gem.

A cast of four was all it took to bring the monsters to life. Along with Boris Karloff, the always hilarious Phyllis Diller played the monster’s mate, Gale Garnett husky tones voiced the sultry Francesca, and veteran voice actor and impersonator Allen Swift mastered the rest of the characters, adding unique personalities such as Peter Lorre (Yetch), and Jimmy Stewart (Felix) to each horror icon.  Pay attention to the film’s theme sung by Ethel Ennis as well.  It’s a jazzy treat sung in a James Bond style.  This is entertainment through and through, and a must-have for any horror collector.

Mad Monster Party is a creature caper that will have you laughing in spite of yourself. It’s campy, sometimes sophisticated, but most importantly, a joy to watch every Halloween.

Have a safe and happy Halloween my creepy peeps!!

 

My favourite number in the movie.  The monsters are so cute!!

Foxed! A Crafty Tale

Published October 23, 2014 by vfdpixie

foxed

Foxed! (2013)

I love stop-motion animation.  It takes me back to all those holiday specials that I watched as a kid.  It is a refined, time-consuming art pioneered by Ray Harryhausen, and one that seems to endure despite all the computer generated animation out these days.  Take, for example, Foxed!, a 3 minute short screened at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival directed by James Stewart and written by Nev Bezaire.  It tells the tale of Emily, voiced by Athena Karkanis from the Saw series, a wide-eyed little girl who has been kidnapped by sneaky and shifty looking foxes to work in their Blue Goo mines.  Sounds kooky, but when you see the film, you are drawn in by Emily’s despair and literally shout for more of the story when it ends.  It has a creepy fairytale feel that makes you want to watch at bedtime with the covers pulled up over your nose.  Stewart, whose inspiration came from films like Coraline, has stated that there are many themes in the main story, ones of parent-child relationships, finding your individuality and facing personal demons, adding some real depth to Emily’s plight.

The film has made the festival circuit, winning several awards and charming audiences everywhere.  Not only is it created with the painstaking stop-motion technique, but it is also the first to use stereoscopic 3-D, which adds depth and cinematic scope to the tiny sets.  For really great behind the scenes video, commentary and more, go to the official film site:

http://www.foxedmovie.com/

and download the film at ITunes :  https://itunes.apple.com/ca/movie/foxed!/id922682834

So what happens to Emily? How did these foxes kidnap her?  Who are these snaggle-toothed burrowers and what do they want?  If you check out the clips on the Foxed! site, Stewart has confirmed a feature-length film coming from this intriguing short, so I think the growing number of fans will get what they want:  More!!

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