576. The Frog, The Dog and the Devil – Bob Stenhouse

sundaenewyork

SUMMARY: A drunk plays a trick on a bar owner in order to get some booze but as a result his horse ride home becomes a descent into hell.

WHY IT’S HERE: Based on poet Ernie Slow’s ballad ‘The Devil’s Daughter’, New Zealand director Bob Stenhouse’s ‘The Frog, the Dog and the Devil’ is one of the most forgotten Oscar nominated shorts of the 80s. Exactly why that should be is unclear, since Stenhouse’s film is extremely handsome, atmospheric and blends comedy and scares brilliantly. Stenhouse worked largely alone to produce this little gem, in which a drunkard finds himself terrorised by hellish visions. The narrative is quite hard to follow but the visuals and characters are so enjoyable that the necessary multiple viewings (which do not entirely clear up the plot) are a pleasure to undertake. The short lost out on the Oscar, along with ‘Luxo Jr.’ (mystifyingly), to the feeble ‘A Greek Tragedy’.

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