Steampunk inspiration and resources

“Extraordinary Tales” Packs 5 Classic Poe Stories into a Single Collection

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I am an avid reader, but not much of a book collector. Personally, I tend to pass a book on if I enjoy it, especially since I started moving so frequently and didn’t want to slog box after box of books with me. Luckily, I’m living with the Mister’s folks right now, and they LOVE to collect books. One room is dedicated to biographies, the fiction dominates the family room, nonfiction lines the shelves of the music room, and the poetry section shares a space with children’s books in the living room.

I absolutely adored my Poe unit back in high school, but I wanted to refresh my memory of his tales as part of this year’s Halloween celebration. Given where I am staying, imagine my shock when I combed the shelves of every room and couldn’t find ANY of this fantastic author in the house. (I suspect someone just borrowed it and hasn’t brought it back) Luckily, Extraordinary Tales popped up on my Netflix recommendations a few days later.

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Director Raul Garcia (The Lion King, Aladdin) brings together five amazing depictions of some of Poe’s scariest stories and pairs them with voice talent like Christopher Lee, Guillermo Del Toro, and Bela Lugosi (archive). I especially loved using Del Toro to narrate The Pit and the Pendulum because the story takes place during the Spanish Inquisition, and his accent helps add to the setting in a way that just reading it couldn’t.

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The Masque of the Red Death always stuck out to me as a reader, and the sumptuous style and rich colors of the animation were spot on. The style of each vignette is totally different from the rest, so you get to see a real variety of animations and interpretations of these classic tales.

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It might be the most accurate to say that Extraordinary Tales is actually a collection of six stories, rather than five, because each segment is introduced by a conversation between “the poet” in the form of a raven, and “Death” speaking to him through the statues in a grave yard. Though the aesthetic of folded paper used in these segments were probably my favorite stylistically, I felt these were actually the weakest. Granted, I am comparing them to stories written by a master and narrated by the pros, but that wasn’t the issue.

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As a fan, I already knew a lot about Poe and his views, but whoever was responsible for the part that was supposed to be the poet talking about his own work didn’t do their homework. In the introduction to The Tell Tale Heart, for instance, “the poet” talks about how “justice prevails” in his stories, which was categorically NOT the point of that story.

Still, over all it is an incredible collection available just in time for Halloween this year!

Check out the trailer, or skip the wait and go over to Netflix streaming to see for yourself 🙂 (Available for purchase on other platforms like youtube.com, as well)

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