For me, stop-motion animation was the most logical choice of mediums because you can create the illusion of life in any object. The goal was to create characters that people would believe were real -- to create a world beyond normal understanding, but to give the impression of a real place -- and to transport the audience there for 20 minutes, to be a part of that world and to feel for the characters. Stop-motion allowed for this and more; it has a nightmare quality that cannot be duplicated in any other art form, including computer graphics. While computer images may be designed with horrific elements, in my opinion their fluidity is more dreamy than nightmarish.


The Annabel Lee film owes a great debt stylistically to the early cinematic period of German Expressionism and its short-lived avant-garde cousin, American Expressionism. The idea of psychic acoustics, where the environment takes on the characteristics of the protagonist's anguished mental state, was found to be very inspiring and visually dynamic. Edvard Munch (The Scream) is probably the best known painter that used that technique.

 

When the Poe Puppet himself was sculpted, both his works and those of Ivan Albright (The Picture of Dorian Gray) were on the workbench. Other painters that inspired the look of Annabel Lee include Beksinski, Bosch, Bacon, and many Symbolist and Romantic artists, including Bocklin and Friedrichs. All of these influences evolved into the final style of the film, which I have dubbed 'Neon-Gothic'.

Much like how Lovecraft would insert characters into his stories that would represent himself, I was inspired by the poem, Annabel Lee, to do the same for Edgar Allan Poe – only with the magic of stop-motion animation. The poem is quintessential Poe - a haunted soul, a lost love and a nocturnal grave-quest... culminating in an Orphic adventure where Poe must overcome the Envious Angels that ruined his world, in order to be reunited with his lost love.

Annabel

Lee

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© 2019 by George Higham.