Auteurs in the Uncanny Valley: Trailer Roundup

Proving once again the difficulty of having an original idea in Hollywood, last month saw the release of no less than three trailers for horror-themed, big-budget animation features, all set for late summer/fall release.
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First on the release schedule is ParaNorman, in theaters August 17.  This date is an interesting choice, since the story of a young clairvoyant and his pals taking on a centuries-old zombie-causing curse seems like good fit for release closer to Halloween.

While the voice cast for ParaNorman has potential, it’s worth noting that Sam Fell (Flushed Away, The Tale of Despereaux) is directing, so here’s hoping ParaNorman won’t be the narrative mess that The Tale of Despereaux was.

And since we’re on the topic of directors, let’s talk about Tim Burton for a moment, my dears.  I’ll admit he has a certain cachet in horror circles, but let us be frank – for every film that was a wonder, we suffer through a handful of Johnny Depp be-wigged abominations.  You say Bettlejuice?  I give you Batman Returns, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Sleepy HollowEdward Scissorhands? Alice in Wonderland and Planet of the Apes.   So it is with qualified interest that I offer you Frankenweenie, a stop-motion remake of an early Burton short film about a young boy that brings his dog back to life, à la Dr. Frankenstein.

The trailer does have a certain charm and the stop-motion looks well done.  It is also somewhat amusing to see this film as a Disney release, since Burton was working in the Disney animation shop when he made the original live-action short, which was considered a waste of Disney resources and resulted in Burton’s firing, thus freeing him to bring us such treasures as Batman Forever and the new Dark Shadows movie. Frankenweenie hits theaters October 5, so will be well placed for Halloween viewing.

Finally, there is Hotel Transylvania, with the story of a resort for monsters (or perhaps some kind of hunting lodge for rich weirdos?) that receives an unexpected guest.  Assumedly heart-warming chaos ensues.

Since this is rapidly becoming a post on auteur theory, I will gloss over my concerns with the voice cast (Adam Sandler, Kevin James, David Spade) to say that I am willing to give this film consideration based on the involvement of the legendary Genndy Tartakovsky, best known for his work on Star Wars: Clone Wars, Samurai Jack and Dexter’s Laboratory.  However, he is the fourth director associated with the film, so we shall see, darlings.  Hotel Transylvania is scheduled for release September 21.

Related Posts:

- I Strained to See What Paced There: Trailer Roundup

- Five Horror Trailers to Give You Hope

A Dose of Horror

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21 thoughts on “Auteurs in the Uncanny Valley: Trailer Roundup

  1. I will probably see Hotel Transylvania as I have facination with old school vampires in fact I have begun writing a book to bring vampires back into the glory and respect they deserve unlike the way they are portrayed in twilight.

    • I’m cautiously optimistic, I must say. When Burton stuff is good, it’s very, very good. But when it’s bad, it’s rotten. And not in the fun way! Also, I did hate “The Family Dog” and I think he reused some of the concept art from the original Frankenweenie for that, so perhaps I’m just jaded.

  2. The ParaNorman trailer is one of my new favorite trailers. Love that we don’t hear anything from the characters and the use of Donovan’s Season of the Witch is such a perfect fit for the tone of the trailer. Really hope this one succeeds

    • Steve, can’t wait to hear what you think. Joss Whedon’s involvement had me really interested but I wasn’t blown away by the trailers. However, the reviews from SXSW were glowing, so I’m definitely going to give it a chance. I haven’t decided about Dark Shadows yet.

  3. I will definitely see FrankenWeenie cause I liked the short – whether that can be sucessfully turned into a full-length film remains to be seen. But I will always give Burton my full attention cause his good ones are are just so full of his style and personality. (to me, Frankenweenie looks good and Dark Shadows looks like the loser) ParaNorman looks interesting, but Hotel T. ? I get the feeling we saw all the good scenes in the trailer and they weren’t even that good.

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