An animated collection consisting of five tales and poems from the mind of acclaimed writer Edgar Allen Poe.
Edgar Allen Poe’s collected works have been inspiring horror creators for generations. Extraordinary Tales is the product of talented people across various mediums coming together to pay homage to the long dead writer in a beautiful retelling of a small selection of his work. Through a combination of haunting animation and dramatic readings from some of horror’s biggest names, Poe’s works are brought to life in this eerie rendering.
The overarching theme of the film is death and Poe’s seeming obsession with the Pale Rider. Anyone familiar with his works or the tragedy that surrounded him in his personal life will appreciate the many nods the film makes to the writer. However, this is a double-edged sword. If you’ve never been exposed to his work or know nothing of the man himself, these “easter eggs” will be lost on you. Extraordinary Tales is chalk full of symbolism and remarkable art, but if you’ve never read Poe, the experience could be overwhelming and hard to follow.
The movie opens with a conversation between Poe in the guise of a raven and the specter of Death. For a moment, I was completely lost trying to figure out what story this was from. The conversation is a way to connect all the stories together. It was an interesting concept, but the dialogue is sometimes clunky and sticks out when compared to Poe’s words, especially when they are being read by powerful performers such as Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee.
My biggest complaint stems from the brevity of the movie. The total run time clocks in at 73 minutes. This movie flew by for me and I found myself disappointed that it was so short. Neither of my favorite Poe works were included, though this can easily be explained away by probable budget constraints. What they’ve created here with a lower budget is miraculous, but more money would definitely have enriched the content.
The title is also horrible. This movie is available on Netflix, but I suspect this film has been passed over more than once by prospective viewers because of the lackluster title. It gives no context and does little to hint at its content. Something like “Nevermore: Extraordinary Tales From Edgar Allen Poe” probably would have been more appropriate. I’m just glad I found this little gem and read the given synopsis. I’m sure I’ve passed it before without even knowing.
Should you choose to watch Extraordinary Tales and have yet to read any Poe, I would advise reading the five short stories and poems the film is based on.
The Fall Of The House Of Usher
The Tell-Tale Heart
The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar
The Pit And The Pendulum
The Masque Of The Red Death
I also highly recommend The Black Cat and The Raven, two of my favorite Poe works. I was very sad to see their omission in the film, but The Raven is strongly referenced being his most famous work.
Have you guys ever read any Edgar Allen Poe? Does Extraordinary Tales interest you despite its extraordinarily generic title? Let me know in the comments below!