When a car hits young Victor’s pet dog Sparky, Victor decides to bring him back to life the only way he knows how. But when the bolt-necked “monster” wreaks havoc and terror in the hearts of Victor’s neighbors, he has to convince them that Sparky’s still the good, loyal friend.
Frankenweenie is a 1984 featurette directed by Tim Burton and co-written by Burton with Leonard Ripps. It is both a parody and homage to the 1931 film Frankenstein based on Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein.
Burton was fired by Disney after the film was completed, as the studio claimed that he had been wasting company resources and felt the film was not suitable for the targeted young audiences.
Tim Burton later directed a feature-length stop-motion animated remake of Frankenweenie with production help from Disney, which was released on October 5, 2012.
The 2012 feature-length remake of Burton’s 1984 short film of the same name is also both a parody of and homage to the 1931 film Frankenstein, based on Mary Shelley’s 1818 book Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. In the film, a boy named Victor Frankenstein uses the power of electricity to resurrect his dead Bull Terrier, Sparky, but his peers discover what he has done and reanimate their own deceased pets and other creatures, resulting in mayhem. The tongue-in-cheek film contains numerous references to and parodies of elements of Frankenstein and past film versions of it, other literary classics, various horror and science-fiction films, and other films which Burton has directed or produced.
Spicy City is an animated erotic cyberpunk television series created by Ralph Bakshi for HBO. The series premiered on July 11, 1997 and ended on August 22, with a total of 6 episodes over the course of one season.
Spicy City is a science fiction anthology series set in a steamy futuristic city. Each episode is introduced by Raven, a nightclub hostess who makes brief appearances throughout the series.
Talks involving an adult animated series entitled South Park created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone led HBO to contact Ralph Bakshi in order to produce the first animated series targeted specifically toward adults. Bakshi enlisted a team of writers, including his son Preston, to develop Spicy Detective, later renamed Spicy City.
The series premiered on July 11th, 1997, beating South Park to television by over a month and becoming the first “adults only” cartoon series.
Although critical reaction was mixed and largely unfavorable, Spicy City received acceptable ratings. The Los Angeles Times called the series “Adolescent Humor for Adults”. The Dallas Morning News said the series “exploits the female form”.
A second season was approved, but the network wanted to fire Bakshi’s writing team and hire professional Los Angeles screenwriters. When Bakshi refused to cooperate with the network, the series was cancelled.
A woman seeking escape from her abusive boyfriend finds true love in a virtual world in the guise of a geisha, while a one-armed former boxer tries to save the woman from being stalked.
Creator: Ralph Bakshi
Producer: Catherine Winder
Directors: John Kafka, Ralph Bakshi, Ennio Torresan, Jr.
Writers: Preston Bakshi, Lawrence Chua, Willie Perdomo, Franz Henkel, Lou Walker, Douglas Brooks West
Treehouse of Horror is a series of Halloween-themed episodes of the Adult animated series The Simpsons, each consisting of three separate, self-contained segments. These segments usually involve the Simpson family in some horror, science fiction, or supernatural setting. They take place outside the show’s normal continuity and completely abandon any pretense of being realistic, being known for their far more violent and much darker nature than an average Simpsons episode. The first, entitled Treehouse of Horror, aired on October 25, 1990, as part of the second season and was inspired by EC Comics horror tales. Since then, there have been 30 other Treehouse of Horror episodes, with one airing every year. Episodes contain parodies of horror, science fiction, and fantasy films, as well as the alien characters Kang and Kodos, a special version of the opening sequence, and scary names in the credits.
Take a look, if you dare, at the episode that started it all: the original showcase of Hallowe’en goodies that have come to be know as The Treehouse of Horror, found in the Simpsons archives, season 2 episode 3. Following, I have included Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven for reference to The Simpsons unique take on the classic poem.
Edgar Allan Poe (1845)
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore— While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. “’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door— Only this and nothing more.”
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December; And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore— For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore— Nameless here for evermore.
And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating “’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door— Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;— This it is and nothing more.”
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, “Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;— Darkness there and nothing more.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?” This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”— Merely this and nothing more.
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before. “Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore— Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;— ’Tis the wind and nothing more!”
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore; Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door— Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door— Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, “Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore— Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!” Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door— Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as “Nevermore.”
But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour. Nothing farther then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered— Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before— On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.” Then the bird said “Nevermore.”
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, “Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore— Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore Of ‘Never—nevermore’.”
But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door; Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore— What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core; This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er, But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er, She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor. “Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore; Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!” Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!— Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted— On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore— Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!” Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil! By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore— Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore— Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.” Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting— “Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!” Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming, And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted—nevermore!
Fantastic Planet is a 1973 experimental adult animated science fiction film, directed by René Laloux and written by Laloux and Roland Topor, the latter of whom also completed the film’s production design. The film was animated at Jiří Trnka Studio in Prague. The film was an international co-production between companies from France and Czechoslovakia. The allegorical story, about humans living on a strange planet dominated by giant humanoid aliens who consider them animals, is based on the 1957 novel Oms en série by French writer Stefan Wul.
The ‘?’ Motorist is a 1906 British short silent comedy film,commonly called “The Mad Motorist” or “Questionmark Motorist” and directed by Walter R. Booth. Released in October of 1906, the film features a couple on the run from the police. While running from the police, they end up driving over the policeman, who magically recovers seconds after and continues to run after the car. Soon the couple comes to a building and their car magically drives up the wall, evading the stunned policeman and leaving an amazed crowd behind. The car drives past stars on clouds, around the Moon, and around the rings of Saturn before crashing through the roof of Handover Courthouse. The car drives through the courthouse and outside once more, interrupting the hearing. Outside on the road, a policeman and court officials stop the car which suddenly turns into a horse and carriage. The couple drives off in the carriage victoriously having escaped a ticket. The trick film is “one of the last films that W.R. Booth made for the producer-inventor R.W. Paul,” and, according to Michael Brooke of BFI Screenonline, “looks forward to the more elaborate fantasies that Booth would make for Charles Urban between 1907 and 1911, as well as drawing on a wide range of the visual tricks that Booth had developed over the preceding half-decade.”
Booth later remade the film as The Automatic Motorist in 1911.
The film has also been compared to the work of Georges Méliès and “The Impossible Voyage.”
The Automatic Motorist
Walter R. Booth (1911)
A Trip to the Moon
Georges Méliès (1902)
A Trip to the Moon (French: Le Voyage dans la Lune) is a 1902 French silent film directed by Georges Méliès. It’s considered one of the first science fiction film.
The Impossible Voyage
Georges Méliès (1904)
The Impossible Voyage (French: Voyage à travers l’impossible) is a 1904 French silent film directed by Georges Méliès. Based in part on Jules Verne’s play Journey Through the Impossible and modeled in style and format on Méliès’s earlier, highly successful A Trip to the Moon, the film is a satire of scientific exploration in which a group of geographers attempt a journey into the interior of the sun. Since the film is silent and has no intertitles, the proper names and quotations below are taken from the English-language description of the film published by Méliès in the catalog of the Star Film Company’s New York Branch.
Wizards is a 1977 American animated post-apocalyptic science fantasy film about the battle between two wizards, one representing the forces of magic and one representing the forces of industrial technology. It was written, produced, and directed by Ralph Bakshi.
Wizards is notable for being the first fantasy film made by Bakshi, who was previously known only for urban films such as Fritz the Cat, Heavy Traffic, and Coonskin. It grossed $9 million theatrically from a $1.2 million budget, and has since become a cult classic.