Sunday, October 11, 2015

Young Fears 11: The Dark Crystal

Each October I like to run a series of Halloween-themed posts on this blog. All this month, I'll be telling anecdotes about things which frightened me while growing up.

What is it about the 1980s that begat so many attempts at proper fantasy adventure films? I mean the likes of Dragonslayer or Krull - a kind of film we don't really see today; even the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit pictures eventually drifted into the war film genre. And yet, for a time it seemed as though Hollywood had been playing D&D during staff lunches and couldn't wait to roll up their campaigns on film.

And then you have The Dark Crystal, a charming children's fantasy adventure with noble heroes, wise elders, cute pets and (oh yes) villains who range from disgusting to frightening. Oh, the Skeksis, those shriveled-up vulture things with terrible table manners. The scene which really got me as a child is when the Skeksis' emperor dies a lingering, rasping death, his fellow uglies seemingly indifferent to his fate. The scene left me with strange feelings of pity and horror. Not bad for a puppet show death scene!

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