"Possessed," a Spanish feature directed by Sam, will screen in competition at Annecy next month. (Click to enlarge.) "Possessed," a Spanish feature directed by Sam, will screen in competition at Annecy next month. (Click to enlarge.)
Feature FilmStop Motion

Spain’s Latest Animated Feature ‘Possessed’ is A Tale of Supernatural Horror

Spain has delivered plenty of eye-catching animated features in recent years, with Nocturna (2007), Chico & Rita (2010), and Wrinkles (2011) attracting international audiences. The clay animation feature Possessed (Pos Eso), which opened theatrically last week in Spain, is the latest animated feature that looks set to transcend its country’s borders.

Possessed is currently playing the international festival circuit and will screen in competition at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival next month.

It’s the first feature film by Samuel Ortí Martí—who goes by simply “Sam”—and a co-production between his Conflictivos Productions and Basque Films. Before beginning work on Possessed, Sam had spent more than a decade bringing clay to life as an Aardman animator and as an independent director of shorts, including the Goya-nominated Vicenta, in his hometown of Valencia, Spain.

Director Sam working on "Possessed." (Click to enlarge.)
Director Sam working on “Possessed.” (Click to enlarge.)

“Jumping from shorts to my first feature was an adventure,” Sam told Cartoon Brew. “The biggest challenge was my insecurity, not knowing if I could keep the public’s interest for 80 minutes. However, in a feature you have the opportunity to go in depth with themes and concepts in a way that’s impossible in shorts. It was a formative experience.”

Possessed draws on the inspiration of Spanish classical effects guru, Segundo de Chomón, and even references Star Wars, but Orti describes the film as mostly a remix of The Exorcist and The Omen. It tells the story of a flamenco dancer and bullfighter couple whose son, Damien, seemingly becomes possessed by a dark spirit.

"Possessed." (Click to enlarge.)
“Possessed.” (Click to enlarge.)

The film was in production for four years, with a budget of around €1.5 million ($US1.7 million dollars). Sam says those four years were among the most difficult years of his life, but he’s satisfied with the final result. “Stop motion isn’t about patience; it’s about tenacity and persistence. Truth be told, my greater joy is to enjoy the movie in festival theaters and see how the public enjoys it.”

"Possessed" (Click to enlarge.)
“Possessed.” (Click to enlarge.)
"Possessed" (Click to enlarge.)
“Possessed.” (Click to enlarge.)
"Possessed" (Click to enlarge.)
“Possessed.” (Click to enlarge.)
  • jhalpernkitcat

    This looks like a lot of fun

  • chris

    Very happy he made this. Animation needs a greater variety of stories. I hope this scares the pants off of people.

  • chris

    I think I was wrong. Rather than being a truly scary film, It looks like it is more of a parody. And that’s even better. Animation should be doing LOTS of parodies – as anyone reading this blog knows, it is a medium uniquely suited to imitation and exaggeration.

    • Christian Bermejo

      It is heavy on humor but it is a fresh take on animation features. A lot of slapstick, sure, but gore in clay just makes it better.

    • Jamie

      “Animation should be doing LOTS of parodies..”

      Hasn’t there been tons of those already, like?

  • D

    This looks awesome. The style of animation is very much of the Aardman canon but based on the trailer this seems like its going to be a rather adult film. I enjoyed the horror movie parodies, over the top violence and dark atmosphere that was shown in the trailer.

    Anyways l like what I saw and hope this somehow makes its way to North America following the Annecy debut.

  • ea

    The Book of Life meets South Park

  • ea

    It may not get any Oscar noms, but I hope more films like this are made and distributed so people stop thinking animation is a children’s medium.

  • Leviticus

    Can someone answer this please. Did Sam work on animating this by himself for 4 years? Or did he have help with a couple more animators? On imdb there is no mention of animators. Just Sam writing and directing. Then obviously the voice actors, the editor, composer, and sound guys. Anyone know?

    • Christian Bermejo

      It is a team you would expect from a feature film. Around 10 clay animators, 10 “3D animators + compositing artists”, a couple of interns animating as well. The movie credits around 70 people between artists, voice actors, producers, musicians, etc.

  • Jamie

    Seems to be the second stop-motion animated horror flick to come out of Spain, the first being “O Apostolo” from a few years back, though this seems to come from a more jokey (and gorier) angle.

    I’m kinda depressed that nobody’s attempted to do sincere horror in animation more.