The world of Claymation (where modeled figures are painstakingly moved and captured on camera one movement at a time) has been pretty quiet in terms of innovation of new creations since Nick Park’s Aardman Animations creations Wallace and Gromit took the world by storm. However, Lee Hardcastle could be the guy to shake up the medium with his new movie concept, Spook Train 3D.
Hardcastle is a writer, director and animator of all things Claymation. Living in the UK, his first entry in the world of animated clay came with his Evil Dead video for Empire magazine’s 60 Second Movie competition, which brought his work to the attention of the public. Filled with a whole lot of humor as well as being faithful to its source material, it was an interesting piece to watch. Now what Lee was doing was hardly an original concept as Claymation was originally created way back in 1908 and then made popular with shows like The California Raisins, MTV Celebrity Death Match and the aforementioned Aardman entries [editor's note: excuse our British friend here who might not have had the pleasure each year of watching the Claymation holiday classics like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.].
But one of the most intriguing aspects of Hardcastle’s work, first seen in this short and seen throughout his back catalog now, is his clever use of gore, something very rarely seen in Claymation movies and has given rise to the term “Claysplotation”. The only other time Geek has seen something as graphic as Lee’s work is with Sam Barnett’s surprisingly terrifying short film Operator.
Lee’s work is certainly eye catching because of this novel use of claret and it is one of the reasons he was invited to be part of the film called The ABC’s of Death, where each director had to create a short film using a letter from the alphabet. Below is his choice from the movie. It gets incredibly graphic in some of these videos so younger readers may be advised to give some of these a pass.
His mash ups of popular movies may also be of interest to film fans with movies like The Thing, Hobo with a Shotgun and The Raid treated to their own Claymation treatment. The Raid piece even managed to make its way onto the DVD release of the movie and The Thing video was remade into a version where the Claymation creation Pingu took up a spot of alien killing.
Lee now wants to create his own feature length Claymation movie through Kickstarter. With his gory and humorous style this could be the very first film of its type – an adult Claymation movie. Called Spook Train 3D, it will be an anthology movie featuring ten stories, all of which have a wrap around section involving some teenagers getting on board a long closed down, yet still working, ghost train. The mix of Claymation and 3D certainly seems an appealing one. Here is his reasoning behind wanting to make the movie (taken from his Kickstarter page) and below is the trailer for the proposed movie.
I developed this idea for Spook Train because I’m a huge fan of this genre and love the “the most fun you’ll ever have being scared” approach to horror films, you know like Evil Dead 2 and more recently I’ve heard people describe films such as Sinister and Insidious as a “spook-ride-of-a-movie”.
And it got me thinking, wouldn’t it be cool to make a film that was literally a spook ride in every way?
A friend of mine suggested that if I truly believed in my idea then why not make a fake trailer for it and raise funds to have it made properly. So here we are.
His work is certainly unique and people who grew up with shows like the California Raisins and who want to move onto some more adult themed Claymation cannot go wrong with Lee Hardcastle’s work. His Kickstarter project ends on the 12th of April , so anyone who is interested in supporting this should check out the Spook Train 3D Kickstarter. Casual viewers who want to see a bit more of his work can check out his Facebook and YouTube pages. Whether the movie gets financing or not it is fair to say that Lee will no doubt be continuing to create more of these shocking Claymation creations in the near future.