Feature Film

‘When Black Birds Fly,’ A 106-Minute Animated Horror Film Made by One Person

When Black Birds Fly is a 106-minute animated horror film that was singlehandedly written, directed, and animated by Jimmy ScreamerClauz.

It’s the second animated feature produced by ScreamerClauz, who made Where the Dead Go to Die in 2012. Described as a “pre-apocalyptic propaganda nightmare set in another dimension,” When Black Birds Fly is set in the town of Heaven, ruled by a leader named Caine who demands that his subjects unconditionally love and obey him, and most importantly, never venture beyond the town’s walls. The story begins when two children disobey the latter rule:

If the insane trailer is any indication, the film probably won’t appeal to mainstream tastes, a fact that the filmmaker himself acknowledges. “It’s a completely original one of a kind experience that you won’t find anywhere else,” wrote ScreamerClauz on one of his YouTube videos, “and because of that, it’s not going to be for everyone and I accept those consequences!” But like his earlier works, Black Birds is finding favor with the horror crowd. The film won best animation at the Housecore Horror Film Festival in San Antonio, Texas last month.

Personally, I’m intrigued by how Screamerclauz used computer animation to create a surreal sensory overload that evokes the film’s warped nightmare world. Referencing visual styles as diverse as psychedelic and glitch art, Screamerclauz set out to achieve a certain visual effect, and he appears to have done so successfully. (Another five-minute clip from the film can be viewed here.)

ScreamerClauz animated the film by himself over the course of three years, and more impressively, in this day and age of crowdfunding, he used his own money to make the film. He explained on a YouTube video that he made it “without the aid of kickstarter, indiegogo or any other social networking illuminati reptilian prostitution ring,” and that he doesn’t have “rich parents or fancy big money investors.” He achieved the animation dream by living alone in a “small shit shack in the middle of woods PA [Pennsylvania] in an old age community,” where he finds “inventive ways to pay the bills every month.”

When Black Birds Fly will be released on DVD on January 15, 2016, and can be pre-ordered for $15.39. Learn more about the film on the official website.