Twisted Dark Fantasy
By Brody Rossiter
Animated French horror anthology, Peur[s] Du Noir (Fears of the Dark), offers up five deeply unsettling horror fables produced by celebrated comic book creators and graphic designers. Introduced by the smoky voice of an unseen female narrator ruminating over the nature of fear and its many guises, our journey into this series of insidious black-and-white fantasies begins with a traditional animation from respected artist, Blutch. Though it stands as the most undeveloped of the five narratives, this hand-drawn charcoal portrayal of an elderly deviant crowned with a powdered wig and wielding a leash restraining four rabid dogs offers the most sinister of bookmarks between the eerie episodes – a visceral and disturbing regression into Victorian devilishness.
The following four sequences are as equally rich and unique when it comes to nurturing fear between the pencil outlines and computer code. A tale of a young insect expert’s first love gone bad by Charles Burns; a nightmarish study of a meek Japanese schoolgirl’s dreams of cruel Stanley knife wielding classmates and an evil samurai ghost by Romain Slocombe; a Dali-esque descent into the plight of a young boy and his village plagued by an unknown “beast from the sky”; a troubling account of one man’s hunt for refuge inside a house haunted with hatred – harkening back to Edgar Allan Poe’s paranoid prose. All are beautifully animated, and though much skill is evident on the part of the five artists, the simplicity of the limited colour palette and resultant chiaroscuro shading breathes darkness and fear into every frame.
If you’re looking for an alternative horror flick that will resonate long into the night, the deep, black night, then Fear(s) of the Dark offers a unique and subversive microcosm of both world and animated cinema – time to turn out the lights.