Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dart Adams presents 8 Animated Films That Warped My Fragile Little Mind

After reading Dallas Penn's drops about Ralph Bakshi's classic and highly controversial film "Coon Skin", I began thinking about other animated films I saw a young 'un that completely fucked my afroed head up. Here are just eight of many animated films I saw in my formative years that forever changed the way I thought about what a "cartoon" was from then on. Here we go:

Wizards (1977)

This Ralph Bakshi classic borrowed heavily from Vaughn and Mark Bode's "Cobalt 60" all the way down to the character design and worlds but it stands on it's own as an animated classic that is unadulterated Bakshi. His usage of archival footage and music in conjunction with original animation is genius. I first saw this flick when I was 7 years old and I had nightmares for a while afterwards. By the time I was a teenager, it was one of my favorite flicks.

Rock & Rule (1983)

Nelvana's classic animated feature was set in a post apocalyptic future where humans were wiped from the planet and rodents mutated and developed their own civilization. Music was provided by Cheap Trick, Blondie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire. I used to catch this at my friend's houses when it came on cable back in the mid to late 80's and it was out of print for the longest until it was remastered and released on DVD in 2005. Don't sleep on it.

The Mouse And His Child (1977)

This flick is so damn freaky! I remember watching it on Starcase Pay TV (for you young 'uns, this was before cable TV as we know it even existed) at night with my little brother and we were shook! This movie was weird and presented many concepts that a young child would never be able to grasp. To make it odder, this cartoon was adapted from a novel that adults used to love. Critics panned this flick for removing some of the best elements from the book from the film. It was a kid's cartoon! Someone posted the whole joint on YouTube...it still irks me to this day.

Hugo The Hippo (1976)

I used to love when the summertime came back in Boston because WSBK TV 38 or another syndicated station like WLVI TV 56 would air this animated classic "Hugo The Hippo". The soundtrack was on beast mode and it featured songs by Burl Ives and the saccharine sweet warbling of Jimmy and Marie Osmond over some funky tracks. Some of the scenes in this movie were downright culturally/racially insensitive and the fact alone prevents this movie from a proper DVD release to this very day. Check out many of the musical scenes on YouTube here thanks to one generous user.

Grendel Grendel Grendel (1981)

I first saw this animated film version of the tale of Beowulf and Grendel way back in 1981 on Starcase Pay TV. I was an innocent 6 year old boy and after that movie was done I was never the same again. It was a cartoon on acid. Peter Ustinov narrated the tale and the creepy ass hippie vocals mixed with some graphic cartoon violence had me like "Huh? What?"

I think it was the part when the seemingly evil hero (?) Beowulf ambushes Grendel in the Mead Hall, rips his arm out the socket and then drank some of his dripping blood from the newly separated limb as Grendel escaped that shocked me. Later on, Beowulf tracks down Grendel and kills him then swims to the bottom of a bloody sea to kill Grendel's mother! The cartoon painted Grendel as a young monster just doing his thang until he got merked. Later on, I picked up an encyclopedia (no internet, remember!) and learned the actual story of Beowulf...I was six!

Fantastic Planet (1973)

I first saw this movie when I nine or ten and it freaked me out so much I never dared to see it or seek it out again during my teen years. It wasn't until I was a senior in high school and some girl at Vermont Academy who was a big fan of watching this flick while she was high tried to get me to watch it again. This time I actually had the mental faculties to fully understand the story and appreciate the art, animation and the soundtrack.

Little did I know that as a backpackin' Hip Hop fan years later, I'd be hearing the score from this flick flipped in several Hip Hop classics like Rawcotiks "Magic Chef" and Quasimoto's "Come On Feet". Robbie @ Unkut.com hipped me to the fact that this generous lady posted the entire flick on YouTube. Say word!

Heavy Metal (1981)

I was eight when I first saw this movie and at first it scared the shit out of me. Several of the stories just freaked me out, especially the one set in World War II, the future cab driver story and the final segment featuring Taarna. As I got older, I began to appreciate it more and I used to be on point with the quotables like "It's my Loch Nar, you stupid bitch!". Recently they made fun of this flick on South Park...damn those rockin' tits!

American Pop (1981)

Yet another flick I caught at night on the weekend thanks to Starcase Pay TV (ultimately done in by pirates that stole the Starcase/Preview TV frequency and watched the programming without ever paying for it) that gave my young ass nightmares thanks to some of the scenes of violence in the film (quite a few people caught it or just died). This was my favorite Ralph Bakshi film for years based solely off of the story and the music until I finally got my hands on "Heavy Traffic" and "Coonskin". This was my flick for real!



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SusanD said...

Extra massive co-sign on this drop and thanks for putting me on to some shit I haven't peeped yet.

There was so much controversy around the release of Heavy Metal that it condoned drug use and was going to turn kids into serial killers.

I love animation for its ability to speak truth to power and to cloak itself as a cartoon.

SusanD said...

this is actually your boy DP using his old lady's laptop.

Anonymous said...

Killing it as usual...these flicks represent the apex of post-hippie era animation, aka; 70's psychedelia for cereal kids.

I thought me and my sister were the only ones who actually saw that Hugo the Hippo on VHS tape. Mindblowing...