Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Kiss of the Vampire: Hammer's cartoon bats

Here's a little something for Halloween...

Last month I posted about Hammer's best-known usage of stop motion. What is less well known is that the studio also dallied with drawn animation... albeit very, very briefly.

The climax of Hammer's 1963 film The Kiss of the Vampire sees a flock of bats attacking a castle. Although most of the sequences uses model bats, the very first shot was achieved with animation. The background is related in Wayne Kinsey's book Hammer Films: The Bray Studio Years:
Of course, the most memorable sequence in the film is the climax, when Professor Zimmer conjures up the horde of bats to attack Ravna's minions. This task befell Les Bowie and his team of special effects wizards. The scene opens with an animated swarm of bats descending on the castle. Among initial ideas to capture this scene was to film burning paper as its black wisps spiralled up into the air. In the end they settled for cartoon animation. Ian Scoones remembers, "The job was farmed out to a guy called Pearce. Alan Tavner, who ran an optical company in Slough, suggested it to Les."

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Golden Wolf: Superman and the Justice League

In the eighties, the Richard Williams studio made a series of anti-smoking public information films starring Superman. Now, a Superman short has once again been animated in London - this time, by Golden Wolf. Celebrating the character's 75th anniversary, the short was conceived and directed by Bruce Timm and Zack Snyder.

This was not the first time Golden Wolf animated DC's characters - earlier this year, the company put together a Target advert featuring the Justice League.