Parents' Guide to

Extraordinary Tales

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Poe's creepy, unevenly adapted tales aren't for young kids.

Movie NR 2015 73 minutes
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Spanish director Raul Garcia's take on Edgar Allan Poe is visually stunning but occasionally too slow to capture more than fleeting attention from mainstream audiences. Although he uses animation to depict Poe's works, Garcia shies away from making the stories kid friendly, instead focusing on their creep factor -- so don't be misled into thinking the anthology is a good early introduction to Poe's horror classics. One of the more memorable segments is the utterly adult "The Masque of the Red Death" -- a tale of a masquerade ball during a plague -- which has one line of dialogue in it, coincidentally spoken by none other than Roger Corman, who once directed a live-action adaptation of the very same story.

The scariest segment is, fittingly, "The Tell-Tale Heart," with its modern black-and-white animation juxtaposed with Lugosi's voice. But the longer the anthology draws on, the more audiences will feel compelled to turn it off, because a little goes a long way, and the segments aren't all equally riveting. Non horror fans will be through with it rather quickly, but even those who favor Poe's stories might want to fast forward to the better shorts and skip the Guillermo Del Toro-narrated "The Pit and the Pendulum," about a prisoner waiting for a terrible fate. Overall, this is definitely the best fit for aficionados of art-house animation and teens already interested in Poe, horror, and independent film.

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