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‘The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad’ & ‘Fear(s) of the Dark’

Horror films tend to inspire the majority of (if not the more popular) anthology films.  It used to be that animated films weren’t made as often as they are today.  It was even less often when they turned out to be horror-related (or at least considered appropriate enough for Halloween viewing).  Although they are hard to come by, they are certainly worth checking out once found.  For this special Halloween edition of Animation Corner, I’ll be looking back at The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad as well as Fear(s) of the Dark.

Co-directed by Jack Kinney, Clyde Geronimi, and James Algar, 1949’s The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is an anthology centering on two stories, one (an adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind In the Willows) involving a toad who falls for the latest fads and the other (an adaptation of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) involving a new schoolmaster who falls for the town beauty.  Featuring the voices of Bing Crosby, Basil Rathbone, Eric Blore, Pat O’Malley, Colin Campbell, John McLeish, Campbell Grant, Claude Allister, Leslie Denison, Oliver Wallace, and Edmond Stevens, this critically acclaimed film’s original title was Two Fabulous Characters (the link between the two stories being that the main character from each story was prone to disaster and would end up going on a wild ride).  The Wind In the Willows portion was originally intended to be feature-length, but the U.S. entry into World War II had diminished Disney’s ability to produce feature-length films (many of the animators were drafted to serve), and delayed work on it until after the war ended.  A couple of years after the war ended, it was decided that it would be included as part of their package films (it wound up being the last one).  Oliver Wallace, who wrote the terrific score, also contributes one of the voices.  The two stories were later broken up into separate releases.  Among the film’s accolades are a Golden Globe win for Best Color Cinematography.

Co-directed by Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Pierre Di Sciullo, Lorenzo Mattotti, and Richard McGuire, 2007’s Fear(s) of the Dark is an anthology film that centers on five stories that are tied by a woman’s monologue about her fears.  Featuring the voices of Nicole Garcia, Aure Atika, Guillaume Depardieu, Louisa Pili, Francois Creton, Christian Hecq, and Arthur H., this critically acclaimed film cost grossed almost $78,000 domestically in an extremely limited release (it grossed almost $373,000 internationally for a worldwide total of almost $451,000).  The stories were created by notable French comic book creators and graphic designers.  Fear would serve as the main character for each of the stories.  Among the film’s accolades are a Golden Marc’Aurelio Award nod from the Rome Film Festival, a Golden Reel Award nod for Best Sound Editing, a Gold Hugo nod from the Chicago International Film Festival, and a Jury’s Choice Award win from the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival.

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