Edgar Allan Poe Collection, Volume I: Annabel Lee (2008)
Dir. George Higham, Alfonso Suarez, Peter Bradley
Starring Thunderbirds, Paul Naschy
Unfortunately, this one does not do it well. It does it badly. Astoundingly badly. Let me ask you a question, you like Edgar Allan Poe’s Annabel Lee, right? It’s a sensitive, profoundly heartbreaking evocation of the depth of human love, loss and despair, yes? So when you visualize it, you don’t really jump to a garishly lit, Argento-esque gorefest populated by naked cenobites, do you? I thought not. Me neither. Seems like not the best idea, if I may be so bold. But then wait, it gets better, because you also probably don’t imagine the poem being intermittently read (it’s only 6 verses, and the film is 20-some minutes) by a teenager trying to sound like he imagines Glen Danzig would if he read verses from the Satanic Bible. And then you also got someone playing music who seems determined to try every single keyboard tone, one after another. Not sure if this was supposed to be symbolic of something but to me it symbolizes and also embodies being terrible. Not to put too fine a point on it.
|Poe is right to look extremely skeptical|
Not that there’s not stuff to like here. I mean, the puppets and sets are really well done, in a BEING JOHN MALKOVICH sort of way. It’s obvious that someone worked really hard to get the details just right. Unfortunately the details are just completely wrong for this particular project. Interpreting Annabel Lee as a story of Poe and his beautiful bride (who does not appear to be 13 or his cousin) frolicking happily on a sunny beach, and then having her soul stolen by cenobites, then having him go on a quest to find her and in the process becoming a zombie just doesn’t fit with the themes of the poem or it’s notable style of not sucking. I can only assume that director George Higham has an uncle or something who owns the distribution company, because even if Christopher Lee had actually been in here this is not something anyone puts on DVD. And if they did, they certainly wouldn’t also include a feature-length documentary about the making of the film (roughly three times longer than the actual film) or a mind-blowing two separate commentaries by the director, because why stop at one when there’s so much more to say? Fittingly, there’s also a two-slide written biography of Poe, because, you know, respect.
|This is an actual still from the adaptation of Annabel Lee, I shit you not.|
PS: Don't take my word for it! Take a look at this highlights reel and bask in the hilarious shittiness!
Or, if you value your sanity, try the Raven instead, it's shorter and possible to watch without your eyes bleeding.