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The Adventures of Mark Twain

By now most of you have probably seen this hell of creepy kids' claymation scene, but it's worth noting because the animation is just wonderful. If you're high right now, all the better!



"The Adventures of Mark Twain" (1986) was created by Will Vinton, known also as the animator of another rightly horrifying phenomenon, "The California Raisins." Contrary to all the hype on YouTube, it was neither banned nor a television show.

You can find the entire movie here — it's in three parts, and actually has a cohesive plot. I haven't gotten through it all, but I imagine the "Mysterious Stranger" scene (which, like everything else in the film, is based on Twain's work) is less of a bad drug trip in context.

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I have this movie, and no, it's not less of a bad trip in context - it's still fucking pants wetting creepy. What I find odd, however, is that the Injun Joe scenes are just as frightening or morseso, though people seem to focus less on them, probably due to how short and contextually dependent they are. The Mysterious Stranger as a story itself is taken out of context for this film, but is still a fairly critical and nearly nihilistic view of the world and religion in general, which makes it questionable for child viewing (notice how 'Satan's actions correspond almost exactly with that of the biblical God's). This might explain why, when aired on the Disney channel, this scene was edited out.

I won't argue against presenting children with slightly more adult views, however - giving them more credit would be a worthy service.

This entire movie is a treasure, though - full of bizarre nonsequiturs and all manner of unsettling imagery. It's a shame Will Vinton directed the only claymation full-length feature film to exist, but then again perhaps there's a reason to it, being that claymation itself is inherently disturbing as a practice possibly not meant for mortal hands. Just, something about it adds to any scenario a certain level of uneasiness, as you so effectively display by calling the California Raisins phenomenon 'horrifying' - and I don't think that's due purely to its cultural impact.
Oh, good! I was hoping I was wrong, but the first few minutes of the movie seemed so... normal. So I kind of jumped to the conclusion that someone took the one really bizarre part out of context and made a deal of it. Will definitely watch the rest soon.

Without launching into a diatribe, I have to agree with you that exposing children to more adult concepts (gah, it sounds like I'm talking about pornography) would be good for everyone. Children's TV has gotten so watered down.
Yeah, there are quite a few bizarre moments. Even if the beginning is a bit cheery and misleading it's not long before we're given the premise that these kids stowed away on an airship piloted by a man attempting to commit suicide by crashing into Haley's comet. The most boring parts are those dealing with the story of Adam & Eve, IMO - which somehow manage to feel out of place in a film traversing the wide vagaries of Mark Twain's insane mind. (apparently Vinton made the Adam & Eve portions first to gain funding from religious organizations or something)

Anyway, the film does approach a variety of adult topics, but delivered with all the cheery promise of colored clay - which was brilliantly subversive, but nothing I wouldn't show a child older than eight. I hope you enjoy it!

Also, I think you can buy the DVD from Amazon for >$10.
This is truly one of the best movies ever. Hooray for adult themes in kid films. I swear, it's so dark, but totally acceptable to a younger audience.
This video was creepy and unsettling (don't get me wrong - I actually enjoyed it. I found it disturbing though). The animation is strange and stunning, and adult concepts definitely need to be introduced into children's shows.
[ "The California Raisins." Contrary to all the hype on YouTube, it was neither banned nor a television show.] >>

" A Saturday morning cartoon series, The California Raisin Show, debuted the following year but lasted merely 13 episodes." <The California Raisins

Edited at 2013-06-16 09:28 am (UTC)
The adventures of Mark Twain is worth a late weekend evening, relaxed viewing all the way thru. I found it quite stunning in it's art.
Living in Northern California I made the acquaintance of a Bob Gardiner who co-developed 'Closed Mondays' with Vinton when he lived in Portland. It was much more raw yet very unique. It won them an Academy Award in 1975, the first for this type of animation, I believe.
Talk about haunting and psychedelic, Closed Mondays is quite disturbing yet beautiful.