365 Days of Horror, Day 9: INTO THE DARK: THE MONSTERS AND NIGHTMARES OF HORROR ANIMATION [Lecture: The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies]

“You coming to the pub, Chainsaw Phil?”

“I can’t – I’m going to a horror talk on animation at The Horse Hospital.”

“Look, man, if you don’t want to join us, just say so.”

It’s my first full season as a proper pass-holder, and my third lecture of this year’s winter semester of the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies. And not only was it on animation, but the venerable Robert Morgan (creator of the amazing The Cat With Hands), was there!

Also responsible for The Separation, Morgan joined the talk for the second half for a post-screening discussion of both The Cat with Hands (I squeed when I saw it in the MC’s playlist) and one I’d never seen before – D is for Deloused – originally part of The ABCs of Death 2.

Deloused [its original title was ‘Loused’, but the filmmakers had to bump him to ‘D’] is similar in style to The Separation: a strange world, with squelching sounds, populated by rotting, bleeding, sutured, unhygienic-looking figures resembling soft, squodgy humans, a bit like if a menstruating diorama enthusiast had just finished masturbating with some marzipan cake-toppers.

The human-sized lice are actually the least weird thing in this darkly comic short. This beautifully disgusting Lovecraftian play-doh nightmare takes you literally into the mind of a super-intelligent louse, and has more severed heads than you can shake an insect catcher at. By the end, you’ll probably be scratching your head at what you think you’ve figured this is about. Pun not intended.

The other shorts varied in quality, but another particular standout for me was The Pride of Strathmoor, by Icelandic animator Einar Baldwin. Directing his dog to walk on his coffee-sprayed drawings, this black-and-white scratchy, eye-bulging journey into one unnerved bigot’s mind stayed with me for days. Its animation style was just like nothing I’d ever seen before.

A grand entry in the Miskatonic canon. Can’t wait for next month’s festive horror talk!

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