As summer approaches, I have been thinking of fun things to do with my laser cutter, and as a result, have again been thinking about shadow puppets and scary silhouettes. Which reminds me of one of my favorite short films: The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello. Nominated for an Academy Award in 2006, Anthony Lucas’s animated masterpiece is definitely worth checking out if you’re not familiar with it.
Jasper the airship navigator is haunted by the memory of a previous crew mate’s death, a death he feels responsible for. Meanwhile, his city of Gothia is plagued by a horrible disease, and his wife Amelia remains at high risk given her hospital work caring for the ill. A reinstatement leads to a new airship voyage, but a “brilliant but discredited” scientist and a strange series of discoveries make this one of the creepiest pieces of storytelling that I have ever encountered. It definitely gave me nightmares the first time I watched it, and even now years later has greatly impacted my ideas about horror and gothic storytelling.
Visually, too, this short has stuck with me for several years, and continues to impress even now as I rewatch it while writing this article. The mix of very flat silhouette shapes layered with hazy 3D computer generated backgrounds is brilliant. And the glow and visual decay as the citizens of Gothia grow sick with plague is both amazing and totally nightmare-causing creepy. I had never had a fear of glowing luminescent wounds before this movie. Now I do.
Rumor mill around the internet is that there are three more parts that have been written, but have never had the funding for production. A great tragedy, I feel, as I would definitely enjoy more stories from our guilt-ridden narrator.
Please check out this creepy dark story below, and let me know your thoughts!