‘The Forbidden Forest’ – Short film inspired by Arthur Machen’s ‘The White People’

Forbidden forest-3

Directed, animated, scored, and edited by filmmaker Keith Ronindelli, this amazing short film evokes the dark mystery and sacred terror of Arthur Machen’s classic tale “The White People” in just six minutes. I’m personally struck by the depth and richness of both the vision and the execution, and by the sheer awesomeness of the hallucinatory imagery arising from the young protagonist’s discovery of a pagan shrine in a forest, whose general character is indicated by a line from Machen’s story that appears as an epigraph at the start of the film: “It was so strange and solemn and lonely, like a hollow temple of dead heathen gods.”

Ronindelli explained his intentions and inspirations to Cartoon Brew back in 2011 when the film was released:

The Forbidden Forest is inspired by the work of Arthur Machen, who was a Welsh writer of supernatural fiction from the late 19th and early 20th century, specifically his classic tale “The White People.” I’m also a big fan of 1960s and 1970s animation and cinema, so the impetus for the piece was an attempt to marry the feel of Arthur Machen with movies such as René Laloux’s Fantastic Planet, Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man, and the films of Stanley Kubrick, namely 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Shining.

Outsider art is another longtime love of mine, and I wanted the piece to somehow fuse a 60s/70s widescreen cinematic language with the strange, obsessive imperfectness of outsider artists such as Henry Darger and Adolf Wolfli.

Here’s the high-res version of The Forbidden Forest from Vimeo. Headphones are definitely recommended for catching all the nuances of the soundtrack. If you have a problem with playback, try the lower-res version at YouTube.

RELATED POST: Cosmic Horror vs. Sacred Terror,” a Teeming Brain podcast featuring a roundtable discussion of the comparisons and contrasts between the respective weird fictional visions and philosophies of Arthur Machen and H. P. Lovecraft.

 

About Matt Cardin

Teeming Brain founder and editor Matt Cardin is the author of DARK AWAKENINGS, DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP, A COURSE IN DEMONIC CREATIVITY: A WRITER'S GUIDE TO THE INNER GENIUS, and the forthcoming TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN. He is also the editor of BORN TO FEAR: INTERVIEWS WITH THOMAS LIGOTTI and the academic encyclopedias MUMMIES AROUND THE WORLD and GHOSTS, SPIRITS, AND PSYCHICS: THE PARANORMAL FROM ALCHEMY TO ZOMBIES.

Posted on May 12, 2014, in Arts & Entertainment, Religion & Philosophy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I really dislike Pixar and Disney . I wouldn’t say that they make bad movies, but they’ve given the film industry everywhere west from Japan a serious kneecapping . It’s pathetically sad that the animated film industry fell off a cliff towards the end of the 70s and beginning of the 80s . I commented before that basically I find the novel indefensible for this reason. There’s no excuse to complain about that considering what I would call the highest arts.. videogames and animated film.. this mixing of various arts media.. sound motion the written word and so on.. has effectively been guillotined . The videogames industry even today gets 0 attention in the mainstream press, nothing but derision.

  2. I equate animated film to be up there with Shakespeare plays. You don’t just read Shakespeare, you watch it. Literature is no different. You don’t just read it to yourself, you read poetry out loud.

  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIFtnKyt_pM

    This is a good upload of Angel’s Egg, though it doesn’t beat seeing it on the big screen as I did at Fantasia Festival one year. Created by Mamoru Oshii ( Ghost In The Shell ) and Yoshitaka Amano ( Final Fantasy videogames ) , grew out of Mamoru Oshii’s dark night of the soul and loss of faith in Christianity , reminiscent of Rime of the Ancient Mariner . It’s about a girl wandering around in a deserted gothic town , a sole survivor, early on the film a man comes from a distant place riding by himself in a procession of biomechanical tanks that look kind of phallic, it’s war and conflict depicted as something exclusively male, and the female is depicted as the creator , so he starts stalking this little girl through this haunted gothic village until he finds the dinosaur bones of an angel and then sort of has this epiphany I guess that the soul of the world died long ago.. then the whole place gets flooded like God is really late for work and sick of it all . There is no other animated film quite like it . Gorgeous haunting score that sounds like the orchestra is flooded itself, and huge budget considering it was only like 70min long, completely anti commercial .

  1. Pingback: The Forbidden Forest | The Hermetic Library Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *