Veteran feature animator Raul Garcia (ALADDIN, THE LION KING, POCAHONTAS and many others) has finished his personal short film, THE TELL-TALE HEART, an adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s classic short story. It’s a film that Raul had wanted to make for many years, but the impetus to finally produce it came when he stumbled across a late-1940s recording of Bela Lugosi reading Poe’s story. “It was from around 1947, when Lugosi was doing a one man show, touring the US and looking to expand his career into television,” explains Garcia. “As far as I know, it is the only copy still in existence.”
Of course, the animation world has already seen one other version of THE TELL-TALE HEART, the now-classic 1953 UPA short directed by Ted Parmelee. Raul is not only familiar with the earlier film, but he was telling me at Annecy last year that that was one of the films which inspired him to get into animation and which opened his eyes to the incredible potential of the animated art form. Garcia’s vision for the Poe tale shares little in common though with Paul Julian’s painterly approach in the UPA short. The stark black-and-white styling in Raul’s film takes its inspiration from the work of Argentinean illustrator Alberto Breccia. He says the film is also an “homage to all the artists who influenced me when I was growing up — Lugosi, Breccia, Hitchcockâ€¦the world of Milton Canniff and the horror magazines CREEPY and EERIE — in a sense they’re all there, represented in the film.”
The film made a smashing debut last month at the 12th International Festival of Young Filmmakers in Granada, Spain where it won top honors for Best Spanish Short Film and Best Director. It’ll continue to play at other festivals in the coming months. A website about the film will arrive shortly at TheTellTaleHeart-TheShort.com.