Lost & Found: Mark Twain’s Nightmares Brought to Life in Claymation
Back in 1985, someone decided that making a stop-motion film comprised of some of Mark Twain’s short stories would be a good idea. And on the surface, it’s not a bad idea. But when director Will Vinton got to Twain’s final work about an angel Satan and human nature … well, the product was perhaps less child-friendly than it could have been.
The work being referenced here has been published under different titles, but is commonly referred to as ‘The Mysterious Stranger.’ More so than other works by Twain, ‘The Mysterious Stranger’ delves into the futility of life — you know, something for the kids.
Without comment or concern, the Twain in this video reveals to the children in his charge an angel named Satan. It doesn’t say it here, but this isn’t the Satan, but rather a younger angel named after his uncle, the fallen one. That piece of information doesn’t make this video creepier at all (we’re still waiting for a font designed specifically for conveying sarcasm through text).
Possibly, one aspect that makes this video high-octane nightmare fuel is the lack of music. A little orchestra piece playing in the background would have gone a long way toward breaking the existential tension here. And it may have distracted us somewhat from the angel’s sing-song whisper of a voice.