Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.
A while back I bemoaned the fact there were so few animated horror movies targeted for adults. Making its world premiere at the Nightstream Film Festival, Frank & Zed may not be a cartoon, but it definitely falls into a type of film that is normally seen as being for children. It is a dark fairy tale that is entirely acted out by puppets. It is also one of the most engaging and unique horror films of the year.
The movie is about the titular characters. The two monsters were once servants of an evil wizard. For centuries, they have lived a peaceful existence and have managed to survive by helping each other. This serenity is placed at risk when nearby villagers decide to storm the castle home of Frank and Zed in order to end a curse.
The first thing audiences will notice about the film is how beautiful it is. Writer-director Jesse Blanchard spent six years working on the film and it shows. Frank & Zed is a technical marvel that will impress all who see it. Characters move very smoothly and the jagged movements sometimes found in movies or shows with the puppets is not seeing here. It is award worthy work.
Nowhere is this more clear than in the chaotic final scenes. The third act of Frank & Zed becomes a frantic action sequence that would make Sam Raimi blush. The long fight scene includes just about every character introduced over the course of the movie. It is appropriately frenzied as the camera moves back-and-forth between a number of different fights. These scenes truly demonstrate Blanchard‘s passion for his film.
As great as the final act in the movie is, it also highlights the film’s major problem. Quite simply, there are too many characters. Motivations become hard to keep track of and the amazing fight scene stands out more for the spectacle of it all.
The large number of characters does not negatively impact Frank & Zed, however. The main reason is the title characters. Audiences will enjoy the tale of friendship. There is a genuine bond between the two, the strength of which is punctuated in the movie’s final moments. It is in this moment that the story truly comes together. Blanchard’s labor of love comes to life on the screen.
Frank & Zed is a great piece of horror storytelling. The technical aspects of the movie are spectacular. The love and dedication of writer director Jesse Blanchard leaps off the screen. The film’s story is a universal one that will find widespread appeal and is a must watch.
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