Wednesday 26 December 2012

Santa's a Monster

As Christmas has now transformed into yet another day, it is only appropriate that Santa transform into something else—like a hideous old crone. It happened in the fine cartoon “Felix Dines and Pines.”

Things are always turning into other things in a Felix cartoon, but the transformations move into the creatively grotesque when Felix is hallucinating. “Dines and Pines” may be the best of the Felix horror cartoons. Things are constantly changing and threatening him. He even gets caught in a psychedelic spinning wheel that could have come from the 1960s.

In one scene, St. Nick beckons to the out-of-it cat, then becomes a monster.

The drawings don’t actually morph. Otto Messmer, or whoever is animating, simply replaced each drawing. But it’s 1927, so who’s going to quibble? Bonus points for having a spider move about on the creature’s nose. There’s also cycle animation of Felix’s tail, where it registers fright by changing shape, a trick Carlo Vinci would still be using on Hanna-Barbera TV cartoons 30 years later.

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