Haven’t we already done sleeping theme spook….yes. You’re very observant hypothetical reader. Allow me to explain. I was chatting with my residential sleep expert, The Moyatorium and the conversation went where it usually goes… moon children and castration anxiety.
Of course this was in the context of E.T.A. Hoffman’s short story depiction “The Sandman” and Freudian analysis of the piece. Hoffman’s fascinating interpretation of the sandman as more of a malevolent boogeyman has been one that has become a notable version. Not to spoil the fun, but this version of the sandman is not likely to give you a man with a lonely heart like Pagilacci or hair like Liberace. This Sandman is more akin to subtraction, you’ll see what I mean.
So when Moya had asked my if I have seen the short film based on the Sandman, being the professional and impeccable expert that I am answered….”what?”
Archived in the BFI this Oscar nominated short is definitely something to instill fear. While the short ended up loosing the Oscar to the fascinating abstract piece Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase this one is nothing short of technical bravado. Everyone in the comments bring up the very prominent Burton aesthetic with a ton of Burton-esque visuals. I on the other hand also found it to feel like a horror version of a Rankin/Bass animation. However, the Sandman is a little less whimsical than his Christmas counterpart in the Snow Miser ( does anyone else remember it as Freeze Miser, has the timeline been Mandela effected. Also maybe I should review the Rankin/Bass films for December???)
I think a really effective part of this stop motion is the bird like elements. That frantic chirping, as well as the feathered design adds a real congruity across multiple creative choices. Yes the puppet is creepy looking, and the cinematography is varied, and lightning is ominous but mute the sound for even just a few seconds and you’ll see a noticeable drop in the spooky factor.
It’s both bizarre and surreal but it comes together to be so artistically paranoia educing. Finding inspiration in expressionism really works to bring the creature into an eerie world of it’s own.
That will do it for today, play me out Satan!