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Extraordinary Tales 

Wednesday, Oct 21 2015
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Horror anthologies have been on the upswing in recent years, with series such asV/H/SandThe ABCs of Death. Less popular these days is Edgar Allen Poe, who has long since been supplanted as the most popular old-timey horror writer by H.P. Lovecraft, since modern readers seem to prefer Lovecraft's monsters and spooky mythologies to Poe's psychodramas. Those psychodramas get the anthology treatment in Raul Garcia'sExtraordinary Tales, a collection of animated shorts based on five Poe stores. The framing device finds Poe himself (Stephen Hughes) as a crow visiting a cemetery, where Death psychoanalyzes the poet's obsession with mortality, and, as is the case with anthologies, the segments are hit-and-miss. The highlight is "The Tell-Tale Heart," animated in a stark black-and-white style of Uruguayan graphic novelist Alberto Breccia, with narration provided by a 1940s acetate of Bela Lugosi reading the story, scratchy record sounds thankfully left in.Other big names include Guillermo del Toro narrating "The Pit and the Pendulum," and Roger Corman voicing Prospero's one line in the otherwise word-free "Masque of the Red Death." Corman is an inspired choice, having directed that and other Poe films in the 1960s, including a live-action anthology, 1963's Tales of Terror. Haunted by death as he was, Poe would have been pleased to know that everything comes back around.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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