In 1985, director Will Vinton’s claymation film The Adventure’s of Mark Twain was released in limited theaters, eventually becoming a cult classic in its own right. The story was rather simple: Mark Twain has become displeased with humanity and decides to make an airship that will venture into the stars and take him to Halley’s Comet, which he believes is his destiny. He is joined by his own characters Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, and Becky Thatcher, who hope to become famous aeronauts. Their journeys take them through moments within Twain’s own stories.
One such vignette involves the children encountering a strange being on a small patch of land in the middle of nowhere. By “nowhere”, I mean there is literally nothingness in any direction outside of this land. The strange figure, who declares himself as an angel, entices and tempts the three with fruit and the opportunity to make “people” for a tiny kingdom.
Starting off innocent and light-hearted, the scene quickly turns into something far more unsettling and spooky. Satan takes the “people” they created and cruelly, with a sickening casual nature, brings about their end through a lightning storm and an earthquake. Satan’s acts shock the three, who beat a hasty retreat, leaving Satan once again alone on his island in the middle of nowhere.
The animation is top notch here and is actually rather shocking, considering that this was a film aimed for children. It’s grim and haunting and it absolutely would’ve been something that would’ve given me nightmares had I seen it as a child. Thank goodness, I managed to avoid it until now! You can watch the segment below.
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