Alma, by Rodrigo Blaas

Happy Halloween! Or, rather, Happy Morning-After-Halloween! There’s nothing better to cure a candy hangover than cartoons. In honor of this indulgent holiday, here’s something of an indulgent (if brisk) extravaganza of horror cartoon history. Animation brings a unique skill set to horror and suspense. On the one hand, the difference in the representation of physical space dramatically changes the ability to produce jump scares. It’s not that it’s impossible to put instant shrieks into cartoons, but the impact is different. The fear in animation is often less visceral, more slow-burning. Animators can create self-contained stylistic universes with very specific moods, and terrifying ones at that. A great scary cartoon can sink into your soul, keeping you up at night with memories of something that will never quite fit into the waking world. They’re masterpieces of suggestion and imagination, showing that an image need not be possible in the live action world to scare us to the core. Here are the ten creepiest animated shorts of all time (that you can watch online right now).


How to Train Your Dragon

After Rise of the Guardians in November, DreamWorks Animation movies will no longer be distributed by Paramount. It’ll be the job of Fox, and it’s still a bit unclear what (if anything) that business switch will mean when it comes to style and quality. It might be a good faith agreement or it might be the kind of partnership where Fox has its fingers in several pies. One sign that it’ll be the latter option, or at the very least a sign of why Fox was so keen to partner up, is that DreamWorks’ slate for the next 3 years features a nice handful of sequels and spin-offs. Still, the bulk of the list is original concepts. That’s commendable. Even more on the optimistic side, there are some really great bright spots amongst the list, and . Here are the dozen films that DreamWorks Animation has promised fans through 2016.


Many people think that DreamWorks Animation is in a constant battle against Pixar. That’s because they are. However, the near-total domination from Disney’s arm means that DreamWorks gets a bit of leeway as the underdog, and they’ve capitalized on that standing with some offbeat and clever choices for production. It’s that mentality that must have given them license to bring Alma to life. The beautiful, unnerving short film from Pixar animator Rodrigo Blaas (which we featured on the site back in September) is going to grow into a feature length film under the tutelage of Guillermo del Toro and the team over at DreamWorks. With any luck, they’ll maintain the crawling sensibility featured prominently in the story of a young girl in a toy store. To that point, there’s an odds on chance that the feature will feel a lot like the short simply because DreamWorks has the brass buttons to do it. So is this reason to celebrate? Absolutely. Why? Watch the short for yourself and you tell me:


Why Watch? Our spotlight on Fantastic Fest short films from the past continues with an impressive animation bit from Rodrigo Blaas – an animator for Pixar films ever since Finding Nemo. Slightly creepy, slightly cheery, this movie takes us (and a child) to the toy store with wondrous results. What does it cost? Just 5 minutes of your time. Check out Alma for yourself:


For some time now, we’ve been in love with the art of short filmmaking, but we’ve never found a good way to cover them. So once a week, we will bring you a short film that we’ve enjoyed, or that we find interesting, in a new feature we call Sunday Shorts. This week, Sunday Shorts presents Rodrigo Blaas’ Alma.



Luckily we had a list of the winners sent to us because we didn’t remember all the names. Or where our pants went.

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published: 12.22.2014
published: 12.19.2014
published: 12.18.2014

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