Ray Harryhausen is going stronger than ever. The man is a legend among animators with his astounding work in the field of stop motion animation. If you don't believe me, just take a look at his resume. His accomplishments include Jason and the Argonauts, 20 Million Miles to Earth, and Clash of the Titans. There is no denying the advancements he has made. Now he is working to spotlight other artists using the "Ray Harryhausen Presents" tag. The first title to benefit from Harryhausen's involvement is The Pit and the Pendulum, a short based on the Edgar Allan Poe story of the same name. This deliciously creepy animation was directed by Marc Lougee and written by Matt Taylor. It delivers on all counts.
Stop motion animation has been a part of film for a long time. Early examples include Georges Méliès' A Trip to the Moon (which was immortalized in The Smashing Pumpkin's video for "Tonight, Tonight") and, more famously, King Kong in 1932. It was that film about the big ape that would inspire a young Harryhausen to create his enduring works which would go on to influence the next generation of animators, including Henry Selick, whose lush work has reached the big screen in the form of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Another man whose work is inspired by Harryhausen is The Pit and the Pendulum's director, Marc Lougee.
This film may run a mere seven minutes, but in that short time frame he is able to capture the essence of the Poe tale and create a memorable film that will haunt the back of your mind well after it is over. This is no jokey take on the material, don't be expecting Puphedz: The Tattle-Tale Heart! This is a moody piece with plenty of atmosphere and mood to spare.