Watch Charles Burns’ Illustrations Come to Life in the Animated French Horror Film, Fear of the Dark

Since Charles Burns’ ‘70s-set sex-hor­ror graph­ic nov­el Black Hole won a Har­vey, Eis­ner, and an Ignatz Award in 2006, Hol­ly­wood has been toy­ing with bring­ing the cartoonist’s dark visions to the screen. David Finch­er was rumored to be devel­op­ing Black Hole, until he picked up a copy of The Girl with the Drag­on Tat­too instead.

But why wait to see Burns turned into a live-action film when the com­ic artist him­self wrote and direct­ed a seg­ment for an ani­mat­ed French hor­ror anthol­o­gy called Peur(s) du noir/Fear(s) of the Dark in 2007.

The film nev­er received Amer­i­can dis­tri­b­u­tion, which is a shame, because this CG-ani­ma­tion brings Burns’ beau­ti­ful black and white brush­work to life, with a sto­ry of a col­lege romance gone hor­ri­bly, obses­sive­ly wrong. It’s close in sub­ject mat­ter to the “bug” at the cen­ter of Black Hole, but (maybe it’s the French dia­log) with a nou­velle vague twist. There are creepy insects aplen­ty, too.

The film also con­tains ani­mat­ed hor­ror tales direct­ed by oth­er car­toon­ists who might not be as famil­iar to Amer­i­can audi­ences: Blutch, Marie Cail­lou, Pierre di Sci­ul­lo, Loren­zo Mat­tot­ti, and Richard McGuire. Hav­ing seen the whole film, despite being hit-and-miss like all anthol­o­gy fea­tures, it makes one wish there was more oppor­tu­ni­ties for com­ic artists to ven­ture into film with­out hav­ing to com­pro­mise for live action, or exhaust an idea for a big bud­get.

In the mean­time, the future of a live action Black Hole is up in the air. Accord­ing a year-old post­ing on Screen­Rant, Finch­er was out and Rupert Sanders was in. But that was before he signed on to direct a live action ver­sion of the man­ga Ghost in the Shell (with Scar­Jo!). How­ev­er, he did have the idea to make an 11-minute short film teas­er just in case.

Relat­ed Con­tent
The Con­fes­sions of Robert Crumb: A Por­trait Script­ed by the Under­ground Comics Leg­end Him­self (1987)

Car­toon­ist Lyn­da Bar­ry Shows You How to Draw Bat­man in Her UW-Madi­son Course, “Mak­ing Comics”

The Last Sat­ur­day: A New Graph­ic Nov­el by Chris Ware Now Being Seri­al­ized at The Guardian (Free)

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the FunkZone Pod­cast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills and/or watch his films here.

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