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Animated Horror In 2-D? Brad Bird Thinks It Can Be Done

by on 09/21/2015

Few present-day names are more revered in animation than Brad Bird, who was responsible for The Iron Giant and The Incredibles. Lately, however, he’s been shifting his attention to the genre of live-action, where he hasn’t been so lucky, his latest effort being the box office flop Tomorrowland. Perhaps this is why he’s returning to animation again (thank the stars). He’s now working in preproduction for The Incredibles 2, but his dreams are far wilder than sequels.

Brad thinks traditional, 2-D, hand-drawn animation is poised for a comeback, but the only way it can do so is if it breaks into different genres than the musical format that dominated it until the advent of CG. This is what he told the website Collider during an exclusive interview….

I actually think it’s a lot more valid than other people do. I think the industry tends to like to think in the narrow sort of mindset of a businessman, and businessman absolutes, and movies really exist in a much grayer region of dreams and stuff like that, and instinct is prized in movies; it’s not prized with the businessmen in movies, but movies themselves often reward instinct rather than pie charts. And what has not been done is that there’s been no American animation done on Disney-level quality that has really gone into different genres.”

What kind of genres? Any under the sun. Bird thinks hand-drawn animation could produce an effective horror movie.

[T]here’s never been a horror movie in animation executed at Disney-level quality and hand-drawn. I’m not talking about CG; I’m talking about hand-drawn, but it doesn’t take a lot to imagine how cool that would be. If you think of the scariest parts of Snow White or Pinocchio or Fantasia with Night on Bald Mountain, you could do something really scary in animation, and I think if you did it right, if you did it with all the art that Spielberg did Jaws, I think that it would be an amazing experience because there’s something intuitive about when people are drawing directly with their hands.”

Whether he could pull it off is the real question. The only studio in town open enough to bankroll such an experiment would be Pixar, and horror isn’t their market. But there are other options these days. With the weight of Bird’s name, it might be possible to find funding from HBO or a streaming service. Right now, however, his attention is focused on the Parrs. Read the full interview at Collider.

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