Extraordinary Tales | Chicago Reader

Extraordinary Tales

Poe lovers rejoice: animator Raul Garcia has collected his impeccably faithful short films The Tell-Tale Heart (2005), The Fall of the House of Usher (2012), and The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar (2013), along with two new episodes and a framing device involving a philosophical raven, for this memorably eerie and beautiful feature. "Heart" is the standout, patterned after the black-and-white comics of Alberto Breccia and floridly narrated by Bela Lugosi from a scratchy old LP; running a close second and third are "Valdemar," whose homage to 50s horror comics perfectly suits a climax in which the title character collapses into goo, and the new "Masque of the Red Death," given a haunting mock-watercolor treatment. Roger Corman, who produced a string of belovedly cheesy Poe adaptations in the 60s, supplies the voice of Prince Prospero, and Christopher Lee lends his sonorous tones to "Usher."

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