Latin America may be home to some of the world’s creepiest folktale traditions, but most would agree that the master of modern macabre was actually from pretty far north of the Río Grande. Of course, we’re talking about Boston-born Edgar Allan Poe, who, after a lifetime of tragedy, sickness, and death, turned his talents to the dark and unsettling corners of the imagination to create masterworks of gothic fiction that continue to inspire writers to this day.
But what would happen if Poe’s dismal tales of murder, insanity, and torture were crossed with that peculiar flair for the extravagant characteristic of the Latin imagination? Some of you might rightfully be thinking of Uruguay’s own heir to the Poe legacy, Horacio Quiroga, but in this case we’re talking about veteran Spanish writer-director Raúl García’s new animated take on a handful of Poe’s most emblematic stories.
Entitled Extraordinary Tales, the eerie anthology film draws upon García’s background as an animator on Disney’s Aladdin, The Lion King, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and takes a distinct visual approach to each of the featured stories. Taking on classics like The Fall of the House of Usher, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, and The Pit and the Pendulum, García employs everything from 3-D animation to stylized black and white renditions reminiscent of Sin City to transmit that unmistakable Poe feeling. Then, to put a bow on the whole endeavor, García managed to secure voiceover narrations from horror icons like Bela Lugosi, Roger Corman, Christopher Lee, and even Mexican monster master Guillermo del Toro to narrate the stories.
Take a look at the trailer to get an idea of García’s varied and highly original approach to this timeless material. Whatever your animation preferences, there promises to be a little something for everyone, and we’re confident you’ll leave the theater with that nagging sense of no sé qué.
Extraordinary Tales is playing theaters nationwide and is available on iTunes and Amazon.