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Horror gets animated in Fear(s) of the Dark

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Sinister and beautiful, the mostly black-and-white French animation Fear(s) of the Dark culls the talents of six artists and designers – Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Pierre di Sciullo, Lorenzo Mattotti, and Richard McGuire – who were asked to explore their most primal fears. Their styles run the gamut from comic-book pen and ink (Burns) to expressionistic pencil work (Blutch) to geometric abstraction (di Sciullo), but their sequences all reach into the obscure shadowland of the human psyche. Artistic director Etienne Robial has integrated the artists' works so smoothly that one hesitates to single out any particular segment, though the one that really made my bowels clutch was Burns' tale of a virginal college student who's seduced by a pretty classmate, implanted with larvae, and harvested for a race of giant humanoid insects. In French with subtitles.

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