Search form

AnimaFest 2018 Details Horror Theme Program

Festival’s genre focus includes a selection of short and feature films, exhibitions and open-air screenings.

In honor of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus, the World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb 2018 announces the Horror in Animated Film program.

The theme program includes a selection of short and feature films, exhibitions and open-air screenings.

Short films have been arranged into several program: One featuring short classics from around the world; three programs featuring films made after 2000; one Croatian horror films program; and three “under the stars“ programs at the popular Art Park. The feature films include cult titles from Japan, Korea and the United States. Two international exhibitions complement this homage to the genre, which inspired this year’s poster and festival trailer by Stipan Tadić.

Even before the advent of film animation, a special form of “magic lantern,” named phantasmagoria, was used to project animated images of spirits and creatures from hell onto walls and semi-transparent screens. The first stop-motion films featured surreal scenes (i.e., The Haunted Hotel, J. Stuart Blackton, 1907), just like the first serials (Felix the Cat, Betty Boop). Therefore, illustrating an early approach to this theme, the short classics program Memento Mori will open with Disney’s short film The Skeleton Dance, the first from the Silly Symphonies series (1929). As part of the same program, the festival will screen evergreens by many horror greats: Tim Burton (Vincent), Piotr Dumała (A Nervous Life of Cosmos), Chris Landreth (Bingo), Raoul Servais (Harpya), Paul Berry (The Sandman) and Ruth Lingford (Death and the Mother). Although it doesn’t completely conform to the genre, the program also features Street of Crocodiles by the brothers Quay, due to its grim and unsettling atmosphere, as well as the far-reaching impact it has had on a great number of subsequent puppet-film horrors.

Dread in Your Head and Blood!!! segments comprise films made over the last fifteen years. This selection includes films by Rosto (Splintertime), Einar Baldvin (Baboon), Suzie Templeton (Dog), Jason Carpenter (The Renter), Rune Spaans (The Absence of Eddy Table), Robert Morgan (D Is for Deloused), Lora D’Addazio (Juliette) and Peter Cornwell (Ward 13), as well as the obligatory Japanese artists Takena Nagao (Chainsaw Maid) and Yusuke Sakamoto (The Night of the Naporitan). The fourth segment, titled I Know What You Drew Last Summer, is a selection of this year’s entries made in the horror film vein, with the addition of two titles from previous years.

The fifth program presents a selection of Croatian masterworks of the genre under the name Croatian Bestiary. It features works by such authors as legendary Vladimir Jutriša and Aleksandar Marks (The Fly), Pavao Štalter and Branko Ranitović (Mask of the Red Death) and Zlatko Bourek (The Cat), as well as still-prolific classic authors like Joško Marušić (Fisheye) and Zlatko Pavlinić (The House of the Plague), and the current frontrunners of Croatian animation, Marko Meštrović and Davor Međurečan (Silencium) and Simon Bogojević Narath (Leviathan).

The feature film program includes the cult films Perfect Blue by Satoshi Kon and Korean zombie horror tale Seoul Station by Yeon Sang-ho. Perfect Blue (1997) is a psychological horror about a former pop singer turned actress, who copes with the challenges of her new vocation while dealing with a mysterious stalker, leading her to lose touch with reality. Inspired by the ambivalent relationship between reality and imagination in the works by Philip K. Dick, the film launched the career of its prematurely deceased director, influencing the work of many filmmakers and musicians like Darren Aronofsky and Madonna. It attracted a considerable critical attention, especially by feminist critics who saw in it themes of identity, voyeurism (gaze) and performance. The film was attributed significant influence by Hitchcock, while some saw it as critical of contemporary Japanese consumer society. Seoul Station (2016) is a narrative predecessor of Train to Busan by the same director and zombie apocalypse subgenre. The charming Frankenweenie (2012) by Tim Burton will screen as part of Children and Youth Program.

Some of the projections and special events related to the horror theme will take place in the open, under the name Animafest in Art Park: Three Nights of Total Horror. The section comprises Creepy Animation Night program, featuring short films selected by Anim'est Festival Director Mihai Mitrică (Bucharest), as well as a Claymation horror program, compiling stop-motion shorts by the viral star of trash-gore humor, Lee Hardcastle. Frank Sudol’s feature film City of Rott, another zombie creation marked by unique aesthetics, also will screen at Art Park.

The horror program is concluded by two international exhibitions. Einar Baldvin – award-winning Los Angeles animator from Iceland (The Pride of Strathmoor), founder of GLAS Animation studio and collaborator at Apple – will present his drawings and graphic art under the name The Crawling King, from the eponymous dark fantasy graphic novel that will also be presented at the festival. The opening of the exhibition will take place June 5 at Kulturni centar Mesnička (KCM). Morgan’s Organs exhibition by Robert Morgan opens on the same day, at the ULUPUH Gallery, showing a selection of his macabre works. This British artist (The Cat with Hands, The Separation, Bobby Yeah) is a master of claymation inspired by Švankmajer, Francis Bacon, David Lynch, the brothers Quay and Edgar Allan Poe.

The theme program was conceived by artistic director Daniel Šuljić, assisted by advisers Božidar Trkulja (who helped curate the Croatian films programme), Chris Robinson, Franziska Bruckner, Yves Nougarède, Olga Bobrowska, Piotr Kardas (who suggested the inclusion of comic and parody films), Ornela Čop (Lee Hardcastle films) and Einar Baldvin.

The 28th World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb 2018 will take place June 4-9 June in Zagreb, Croatia. The film program comprises almost 400 films from 44 countries, and is accompanied by prestigious competitions featuring Oscar-winners and global animation stars, as well as by the theme program dedicated to horror in animation, a multimedia celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Professor Balthazar animated series, retrospective programs dedicated to international and Croatian classics and Baltic cinemas, open-air events and animacycling, exhibitions and workshops, Animafest PRO program for professionals, and a varied children and youth program.

Tickets are available online at

Source: Animafest Zagreb 2018

Thomas J. McLean's picture

Tom McLean has been writing for years about animation from a secret base in Los Angeles.