Creepy Cartoons - The Dark Side of Animation - Fri. Mar. 22 - 8PM

Oddball Films presents Creepy Cartoons - The Dark Side of Animation, a program of strange, dark, and unsettling animation from around the world.  Cartoons are generally thought of as light entertainment for children, but the medium allows the viewer to explore dark and surreal worlds and subject matter at a two-dimensional distance.  The devilish delights of this program include a pencil-drawn version of a 19th century British folk song Widdecombe Fair (1948) about an ill-fated trip to the fair on an old grey mare for Tom Pierce and a dozen of his closest friends. Comic strip Krazy Kat comes back to the big screen to fight off ghosts and other haunts, while his puppy fights with a skeleton in the silly romp Krazy Kat in Krazy Spooks (1933).  Adorable bunny rabbits teach us a lesson about gun-violence and racial inequality in the justice system in The Punishment Fits the Crime (1972). Looney Tunes animator Paul Julian creates a dark and surreal vision of Maurice Ogden's poem The Hangman (1964). The Czechs bring us two pieces, the clever cutout animation The Sword (1967) and Bretislav Pojar's tale of global annihilation, Boom (1979).  Yellow Submarine animator Paul Driessen gives us a strange vision of the Inquisition in a spider's web in Cat's Cradle (1974).  And because we can't get enough of them, we will be bringing back two of our all-time favorite cartoons of the collection, Bruno Bozzetto's dark and sexy examination of the working man's Freudian subconscious, Ego (1970) and Betty Boop teaming up with Cab Calloway for one spooky night in Minnie the Moocher (1932).

Date: Friday, March 22nd, 2013 at 8:00PM.
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street, San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 RSVP Only to: 415-558-8117 or programming


Widdecombe Fair (B+W, 1948)
Based on the Devon folk song, first published circa 1889, this pencil-drawn tale tells of Tom Pierce, who borrows his neighbor's old grey mare to take to the fair, only to load the poor creature with "Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney, Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke, Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all," eventually killing the horse and all it's many passengers.

Krazy Kat in Krazy Spooks (B+W, 1933)
Krazy Kat jumps back to the screen from the comic strip, (looking a lot like one Mr. M. Mouse) to battle ghosts, skeletons and gorillas in this silly short. Krazy Kat and his sweetheart (with a curiously tiny puppy in tow), head into a haunted house and squeal at everything!  The puppy tangles with a skeleton to adorable and hilarious effect, but when the danger becomes real, will they be able to fight off a Poe-esque twist?

The Punishment Fits the Crime (Color, 1972)
Adorable bunny rabbits tackle the issue of racial inequality within the criminal justice system, in a fuzzy, light-hearted kind of way. With the outbreak of bunny-on-bunny violence, you will never think of bunnies in the same way again. With artwork by children’s illustrator, Steven Kellogg.

The Hangman (Color, 1964)
Paul Julian, previously known as an animator for Warner Bros' Looney Tunes, directs this haunting adaptation of Maurice Ogden's poem of the same name.  A mysterious hangman comes to a small town, taking upon himself the responsibilities of town judge, jury, and executioner, but rather than questioning the stranger's arbitrary sentencing, the town's residents stay satisfied with their own well being, and look idly on as their community dwindles and their neighbors, one-by-one, face the noose-but might they too be beckoned by the hangman?  Surreal in its visual style with long shadows and sharp color contrasts, and made all the more unsettling by an eerie jazzy sort of score. Is it about the Holocaust, playground bullies, McCarthyism?  Discussion when the lights go up.

Boom (Color, 1979)
The global arms race as animated by the legendary Bretislav Pojar (Balablok). Takes a look at the history of aggression and the theory that might makes right. By extension, it carries us into the atomic and missile age, postulating various scenarios for planetary self-destruction, both planned and accidental. Without narration, using only sound effects and music, the film asks the question: is this THE END?  Awarded the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes in 1979.

The Sword (Color, 1967)
This clever Czech cutout animation is short and er… to the point, The Sword is an allegory on the ignorance of people who enjoy their life to those who are suffering or dying at the very same instant.

Cat’s Cradle (Color, 1974)
Directed by Dutch animator Paul Driessen, one of the principle artists who worked on “Yellow Submarine” (and immigrated to Canada in 1971 to join the NFB), this curious piece is reminiscent of the Blue Meanies style, but with a darker tone. Witches, cloaked riders and other gothic characters in a tale about the hungry natural world.

Ego (Color, 1970)
Screened recently here as part of the Valentine's show, this brilliant animation by Italy’s Bruno Bozzetto (of the cult favorite Mr. Rossi series) demands a re-screening.  Opens with traditional comic strip-style animation until the factory-working family man goes to sleep and unleashes his subconscious thoughts, sending him into a battleground of situations.  Utilizes a number of animation styles including optical printing and pop art imagery.  Features a wild soundtrack by the ultra-lounge master Franco Godi…

Minnie The Moocher (B+W, 1932)
All time classic featuring Cab Calloway and his Orchestra (seen live briefly at the beginning), Betty Boop and Bimbo. A happening song with thinly veiled sex and drug references: Minnie she meets up with a pimp, the king of Sweden, who gives her “somethin she was needin'”…then gets caught up with a pot headed coke-sniffing junkie who teaches her how to "kick the gong" (mainline heroin).