After a successful festival run (including Nottingham's Mayhem Film Festival last year) and a release on Shudder's streaming service, Acorn Media International are releasing Philip Gelatt and Morgan Galen King's ambitious old-school animated fantasy THE SPINE OF NIGHT on Blu-ray.
Tzod (voiced by Lucy Lawless), a swamp witch, needs to find out more about a mysterious blue flower and its magical properties, and so she embarks on a journey, seeking out The Guardian (Richard E Grant). When she finds him, he has a number of tales to tell of the flower. They range from ultraviolent to weird to thought-provoking and we get to see them all via the stylised rotoscoped animation the film employs. Guest voices also include Joe Manganiello, Patton Oswalt and Larry Fessenden (as - what else? - the Prophet of Doom).
It's always good to see animated epic fantasy aimed at grown-ups and THE SPINE OF NIGHT definitely isn't for kids or the overly sensitive. There's buckets of violence, lots of nudity (Tzod wears next to nothing for the entire film) and some of the terrifically trippy imagery is designed to give you nightmares. The animation style has been compared to that of Ralph Bakshi but THE SPINE OF NIGHT is actually quite a bit better and more interesting than fantasy efforts like WIZARDS or his version of THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Its plot is that of a lengthy fantasy book sequence (or perhaps even a 1970s concept album) and gets the whole thing done and dusted in 94 minutes.
Shudder's Blu-ray comes with an excellent thirty minute Making of which includes a lot of the filmed footage that was then rotoscoped, as well as interviews with the writers-directors, composer and assorted 'cast' members (but not voice artists) and which concludes with an excellent further recommend reading / watching list from those involved. You also get the two animated shorts that preceded the movie, EXORDIUM (8 minutes) and MONGREL (3 minutes) as well as trailers for PSYCHO GOREMAN, MANDY and ARCHENEMY.
THE SPINE OF NIGHT is out on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital from Acorn Media International now