The Tell-Tale Heart (2006)

*. There’s always been something a bit cartoonish about Edgar Allan Poe. You hear his stories in your head being read by Vincent Price and illustrated by Edward Gorey. And it’s fair to ask in a lot of cases just how seriously he intended them to be taken. He was a master of the spoof, and even sent up genres that he invented, at the same time as he was inventing them!
*. So in this version of “The Tell-Tale Heart” there’s nothing surprising about the humour. The art is Gorey-esque, but brightened with a lot of vibrant colour and vibrating animation. The narrator’s hair makes him look like he’s receiving electroshock while certain motifs, like the fly (perhaps borrowed from the moth in the 1953 version) and the giant eyes play up the sense of exaggerated, grotesque decay.
*. The jumping from different styles of animation and colour schemes gives the film even more energy to add to its already fierce pace, which tells the story in under 7 minutes (there are over a minute of end credits to fill out the rest of the running time).
*. There have been a number of film versions of “The Tell-Tale Heart” but this one by Annette Jung is perhaps the liveliest and most inventive. I like the attention to detail in things like the headboard of the old man’s bed being a spiderweb. And I don’t recall ever seeing it suggested before that the narrator is actually the old man’s son, though I guess it’s a fair enough reading.
*. As many different times as I’ve seen it done, however, there always seem to me to be avenues or possibilities in the story that remain unexplored. Credit to Poe. But credit to Jung for giving us this little bit of crazy fun.

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