Thursday, May 26, 2016

#2,110. Land of the Heads (2009)

Directed By: Claude Barras, Cédric Louis

Written By: Claude Barras, Julien Sulser

Premiere: This movie had its U.S. premiere at the 2010 Nashville Film Festival

Trivia: Was nominated for Best Short at the 2009 Montréal World Film Festival

Here’s a macabre little tale that sprang from the minds of animators Claude Barras and Cédric Louis (who also teamed up to make 2007’s Sainte barbe). Released in 2009, Land of the Heads features a vampire and his wife, who reside at the top of a tall tower. Unhappy with her wrinkles, the wife has cut off her own head, and now forces her dutiful husband to go out each night in search of a new one. One young girl after another falls victim to the vampire, but each time the wife (who is a picky sort) rejects the new severed head. Before long, there’s a huge pile of noggins on the floor, at which point the vampire decides he’s had enough.

A fantasy / comedy with just a hint of horror, Land of the Heads is a vibrant, imaginative bit of stop-motion animation. Though the story is set primarily at night, there’s plenty of color (including lots of red), and the characters themselves, though unmistakably dark in nature, are humorous enough in appearance to keep the proceedings on the light side. Land of the Heads also marks that rare occasion where we’ feel sorry for a vampire; I couldn’t help but chuckle each time his wife knocked on his casket, demanding that he bring her fresh heads (for each venture, she gave him a new, more potent weapon with which to complete his task, including a chainsaw). Because he’s undead, the poor guy may be forced to carry out this arduous task for all eternity, and we share his frustration each time his finicky wife sends him out to kill again.

Not to worry, though, because Land of the Heads does have a happy ending.

Well, at least as happy as we are gonna get in a story of this sort!

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