Orchid, the Canadian stop-motion animated horror/comedy, was the eighth
short film admission to the Horror-Rama Film Festival. Unlike the others, this wasn’t on the program because it was a late entry. It starts with skeletons at the pub. One gets gunned down in a back ally. His brain ends up being surgically removed by a mad scientist which leads to a Frankenstein parody.

Directed by Christopher Walsh, it subverts expectations by taking unanticipated turns throughout the narrative. Told in the style of silent films, all the dialogue is on dialogue cards placed within the scenes. This style gives the film character separating it from the others. Despite the short runtime, a fully developed story driven by well-rounded characters is presented.

The animation is fluid so the characters are vividly brought to life…so to speak. It also includes amazing hand-drawn animation too for a stunning combination of art styles. The way they animated certain segments made me wonder how they did it. Each skeleton has a distinctive look and personality without saying a word. They all have a similar cuteness to them creating a cohesive aesthetic.

Overall, this entry was a pleasant surprise. It feels like a facsimile of A Nightmare Before Christmas, which is a massive compliment because it’s very reminiscent of the work of Tim Burton and Henry Selick, respectively. It’s full of hysterical moments with excellent stop-motion animation accompanied by an amazing score with a full orchestra effectively setting the mood. This very funny crowd-pleaser made the audience laugh out loud the entire time and they gave a resounding round of applause when it was over. I highly recommend this personal favourite from the Horror-Rama Film Festival. And remember, this film is bad to the bone…in a good way.

Grade 10/10

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Chris Majtenyi

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