Feat of Claymation

The scene with Satan is from the Adventures of Mark Twain, a decidedly mature claymation that mixes Twain’s character with a number of his stories. Here evil is not depicted as passionate, but fundamentally self centered, and unconcerned with others. In its quiet, unnervingly innocent depiction it succeeds where a louder, more brutal image of the dark prince would fail. It’s just like Neil Gaiman’s comments about the way he wanted Lucifer to be depicted in his Sandman series. The difference, however, I feel is that there seems to be a more cosmic element to Mark Twain’s Satan, whereas Gaiman’s Satan is still, for all his character, an anthropomorphization of something decidedly human.

A different Sandman, this time the claymation directed by Paul Berry in 1992 based on the depiction of the figure of the Sandman from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s novella of the same name, presents an alternative, but equally unsettling image of evil. Elusive, erratic, silent, working toward ends which we can only partially understand, and yet also strangely personal, like a shadow.

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