First Trailer: ‘The Spine of Night’ Promises to be An Epic of Suffering & Violence

In the press notes for The Spine of the Night, the essence of the plot is explained as, “an ambitious young man steals forbidden knowledge from a sacred plant and, as he falls to its darker temptations, unleashes ages of suffering onto mankind.”

So one’s decision to see the much buzzed about flick may just depend on whether one has already had quite enough of suffering during these last four years of President Sociopath and an exceedingly fatal pandemic. And with the first trailer having just arrived for directors Philip Gelatt and Morgan Galen King’s hand-rotoscoped animated film, there is one thing that is being made abundantly clear: there will be blood, and lots of it.

It’s premiering at next week’s virtual SXSW (March 18, to be specific), and being proffered by Yellow Veil Pictures, with quite a lot of genuine hype already swirling around it. The trailer is nearly wordless, so insightful interpretations of the action are a bit difficult. But it’s reasonable to reckon that there is a Game of Thrones sort of narrative at play, and a similarly rich cast of characters that seem to be crossing chronological lines – and also surely philosophical ones. The swordplay is vividly violent, with hands being lopped off, graphic decapitations – and that’s all before the catapults start unleashing their hellish destruction. The animation, haunted, ominous and chillingly evocative, distinctly recalls the style of cult-hero Ralph Bakshi.

Rotoscoping, by the way, involves the painstaking tracing over of live-action footage. And The Spine of the Night boasts a serious human cast, including Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless, Betty Gabriel (Get Out), Patton Oswalt and Joe Manganiello. So, you know, expect all the bloodshed to come with a heavy helping of gravitas.

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