Director Raul Garcia (The Lion King, Aladdin) brings together five amazing depictions of some of Poe’s scariest stories and pairs them with voice talent like Christopher Lee, Guillermo Del Toro, and Bela Lugosi (archive). I especially loved using Del Toro to narrate The Pit and the Pendulum because the story takes place during the Spanish Inquisition, and his accent helps add to the setting in a way that just reading it couldn’t.
The Masque of the Red Death always stuck out to me as a reader, and the sumptuous style and rich colors of the animation were spot on. The style of each vignette is totally different from the rest, so you get to see a real variety of animations and interpretations of these classic tales.
It might be the most accurate to say that Extraordinary Tales is actually a collection of six stories, rather than five. Each segment is introduced by a conversation between “the poet” in the form of a raven, and “Death” speaking to him through the statues in a grave yard.
What I Thought of Extraordinary Tales
Though the aesthetic of folded paper used in these segments were probably my favorite stylistically, I felt these were actually the weakest. Granted, I am comparing them to stories written by a master and narrated by the pros, but that wasn’t the issue.
As a fan, I already knew a lot about Poe and his views, but whoever was responsible for the part that was supposed to be the poet talking about his own work didn’t do their homework. In the introduction to The Tell Tale Heart, for instance, “the poet” talks about how “justice prevails” in his stories. That was certainly not the case if you look at Poe’s whole body of work, or the point of that particular story.
But even with this shortcoming, overall it is an incredible collection. Every one of the five Poe stories are hauntingly beautiful in their own way. And I look forward to making part of my annual Halloween traditions!
Check out the trailer, or skip the wait and go over to Netflix streaming to see for yourself 🙂 (Available for purchase on youtube.com and Amazon.com)