Comic book fans, horror nerds, and lovers of early Atari video games all understand the seductive lure of a good cover. You get something that promises you thrills, chills, feats of daring-do and adventure, and once you’ve peeled the plastic off, well, you’re stuck with 24 pages of Jimmy Olsen antics, or terror-free time-wasters, or barely play-tested garbage that the developer may have spent a week on before it was published to a cartridge and sold to your unsuspecting parents. We, too, know this pain: while we respect and love Ralph Bakshi’s feature-length Frank Franzetta tribute Fire and Ice about as much as one can, it could never, ever live up to its poster/VHS cover, which seared itself into our memories on trips to the video store back in the day. But, thankfully, The Spine of Night is here to pick up where Bakshi left off.
What is The Spine of Night? Well, some would say it’s simply a new animated fantasy film from directors Philip Gelatt and Morgan Galen King, done in the same rotoscoped fashion as Fire and Ice was. Others would say, from this brief teaser dropped earlier on Thursday in advance of the film’s premiere at SXSW next week, that it will probably melt your face off, as it looks as if the cover art from Dio’s The Last in Line fucked a stack of Conan paperbacks while immersed in creamy bong smoke to the sound of that nasty riff you liked, but slower.
Peep it, ye mere mortals, and weep at its glory:
Here’s a synopsis, though you should be warned that, upon reading, your computer or phone screen will start emitting a milky fog and may or may not sweep you off to a magical universe of heroes and villains (or get you high as shit, who knows):
“This epic begins many years ago when an ambitious young man steals forbidden knowledge from a sacred plant and, as he falls to its darker temptations, unleashes ages of suffering onto mankind. As his power grows over the years, there are many who stand against him. Among them are a daring tomb-robber, star-crossed lovers, a maniacal necromancer, winged assassins, and an undying guardian. ‘The Spine of Night’ is an ultra-violent, hand-rotoscoped epic fantasy inspired by the cult classic works of animators Ralph Bakshi and Frank Franzetta. The film is set in a fantasy land ripe with magic and intrigue where a dark force is unleashed sending mankind into an age of ruin. It falls on heroes from different eras and cultures to fight back, and stars Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless, Patton Oswalt, Betty Gabriel, and Joe Manganiello, also featuring Abby Savage, and Larry Fessenden, and Rob McClure.“
The Spine of Night will have its world premiere at the digital SXSW festival on March 18, and we absolutely cannot wait to check this out.