Hair High (2010)

by | Nov 9, 2010 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Hair High (2010)

Animated Gothic comedy/romance/horror by Bill Plympton
Voices include: Sarah Silverman, Beverly D’Angelo, Keith & David Carradine, Ed Begley Jr., and Matt Groening
Studio: [Distr. by Microcinema International]
Video: 4:3 color
Audio: PCM stereo
Extras: Audio commentary track by director, Scene breakdown & voice-over sessions, Anicam, Cockstume, Film premiere, Interviews, Trailers
Length: 78 minutes
Rating: *** (adult/disturbing content)

Bill Plympton, a Portland, OR native, is considered The King of Indie Animation.  He’s the only animator to have drawn by hand an entire animated feature, and in fact done it six times now!  He’s gotten Oscar nominations for the hilarious shorts Your Face and Guard Dog, and created hilarious political cartoons and caricatures for the New York Times, Playboy and National Lampoon. You may remember his kissing couples whose faces morph into unbelievable shapes and one another – Hair High has a lot of that.

Unfortunately it also has a totally outrageous story line which starts with a typical exaggerated high school hell for a nerdy newcomer, but slowly morphs into a creepy and disgusting Tim Burtonesque (who at least shows some taste) tale of a school bully who murders a teenage couple on prom night and leaves them for dead at the bottom of a lake. But they come back to the next year’s prom as skeletons and freak everyone out. I should have been prepared for this by the classroom scene in which the constantly-smoking teacher accidentally swallows his lit cigarette and proceeds to cough out all his inside organs which the hero then stuffs back into him. If you dig this sort of thing, more power to you. But pardon me if I’ve given up on Plympton.

It’s new, but still 4:3 (less drawing work for poor Bill, you know) instead of 16:9. And there’s even a separate audio CD available of the original high-school-oriented pop tunes created for the soundtrack, if anyone wants that.  Must have been a fun voice-over recording session though! The presence of David Carradine here illustrates the length of time it takes to create an animated feature all by oneself – Carradine died last year. (His Wikipedia bio lists seven different genres of film projects he did which will be released posthumously, but it omitted animation.)

 – John Sunier

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