Thursday, October 7, 2010

Can you do horror with little ‘ol cartoons?

I was talking to an animator a few weeks ago who expressed the opinion that you can’t do horror with animation.

This, he said, was because you can’t get as emotionally involved with animated characters as you can with live action ones. So if some animated chick’s getting chased by a knife-wielding maniac, you won’t be as on the edge of your seat as you’d be if he was chasing some blonde actress. (Depends on how annoying the actress is if you ask me!).

I don’t know. Sure, the stepmother from Disney’s Snow White still freaks me out when she changes into the witch. I think this is something fairly primal. Yes, The Black Cauldron with the Horned King and his skeleton army is the most inappropriate children’s cartoon ever (the nightmares!). But these are animated movies with some horrifying bits. Could you do a straight up horror movie in animation?

A few years ago, I’d probably have agreed with the cartoonist. But what about Waltz With Bashir? That’s pretty horrifying. And movies like Up and Wall:E have shown an ability to evoke an emotional response that I never thought I’d see from a cartoon. Not to mention all the bad-ass manga horrors out there.

Are we heading for the first mainstream animated horror? Or is the disconnect from animated characters just too big to bridge? Opinions on a postcard…

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