Fear(s) of the Dark
The Gallic term ‘outre’, meaning beyond or excessive, perfectly describes this imaginatively conceived and immaculately executed French language portmanteau horror. Much of its impact is derived from its unique nature: the Paris-based producers commissioned six cartoonists to work with animators to make five short films, plus a linking segment, that exploit our dread of the gloom. So it’s a subtitled, black and white, feature-length animation, utilising a variety of styles from digital imagery to woodcuts, directed by comic creators. That alone makes it weird and wonderful to behold, but beyond its inherently unusual nature this chiller is as gruesome and nerve shredding as horror films get.
A balmy Saul Bass-style stroboscopic credit sequence featuring a gloriously demented musical score by Laurent Perez sets the tone for what’s to come. But little will prepare viewers anticipating a cartoon for Blutch’s opening tale in which an 18th century Marquis hunts children with a pack of hell-hounds, or Charles Burns’ nauseating nightmare about a man who’s abused by his girlfriend after she becomes host to an intelligent insect, or Marie Caillou’s blood-splattered Japanese anime concerning a young girl who’s terrorised by the ghost of a dead samurai.
The final sequence by Richard McGuire alone, in which a terrified man fumbles around an old dark house with only a box of matches to illuminate the dark corners, makes this worth the admission price.
Cameo, Edinburgh (matinees only) and selected cinemas from Fri 24 Oct.