Yokai for Sound

Too much enjoying the disintegration of Boris Johnson and his wretched chums to do much today, but this crazy thing is almost as delightful. Creepy in all the wrong ways — not cosy spook comedy but genuinely unnerving, hallucinatory, effed-up, at times racist, always a peephole into a vanished and unknowable era.

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4 Responses to “Yokai for Sound”

  1. When I was a kid, I loved these crazy things but it never occurred to me that they were supposed to be funny . When I encountered them again, working as an usher at midnight shows, they seemed even more wonderful. And not a jot funnier. I chalked it up to changing styles of comedy, but I don’t think that’s it. Things like this, “Bingo’s Initiation,” even the Mickey Mouse cartoon “The Mad Doctor,” are like transcribed fever dreams. The sight gags are bizarre transformations we’d categorize as body horror now. What was in the water? Because everybody was doing it, from the Fleischers to Van Buren to poverty row studios that opened Monday and filed for bankruptcy Thursday. I feel blessed that the local TV stations filled my Saturday mornings with this, and not the crudely animated power p@rn that replaced it when I was a teenager.

  2. It has to be, to some extent, a response to the possibilities of animation. A lot of the silent cartoons have a Simpsons-like “hinged cardboard” aspect, sans squash-and-stretch. Once animators got into the possibilities of rubber limbs and rubber bodies, they all-at-once seem to have wanted to take it to the limits with grotesque metamorphoses becoming the norm…

  3. bensondonald Says:

    An animation trope that endured for decades: Two or more characters moving in perfect synchronization, usually in a dance interlude. On the slightest reflection you realize the animator did just one character and cloned it by tracing, but the first impression is of comically, impossibly precise choreography.

    There’s a fleeting moment in “Emperor’s New Groove” where the emperor leads his guards in a Riverdance. They took the time to put them all OUT of sync (2:15), a fun touch in a sequence that’s all about impossibly slick moves:

  4. That’s lovely!

    CGI made the cloning of movement even easier, and you’d see it even in expensive jobs like Lucas’ vandalisation of Star Wars.

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