Sunday, 11 September 2016

Rotoscope terror

Stills from Bakshi's Lord of the Rings.

I was shown this movie when I was pretty young and, for me, it's the defining version of Tolkien's tale. I'm not saying it's better than Jackson's verison, but was so seminal for me that I can't escape it. The red eyes peering out of the gloom against hallucinogenic backgrounds haunts me to this day.

Also, the costumes the Ring Wraiths wear are pretty bonkers. That, combined with the moaning, shambling, leper-like incarnations as black riders makes them the stuff of nightmares.


  1. Like most of Bakshi's work, there are brilliant ideas in his LoTR that still hold up. He developed rotoscoping as a cost cutting measure but managed to also make it an interesting form of animation in its own right. Thanks for the reminder of that.

  2. Wholeheartedly agree! It's still the scariest version of the LOTR movies in my opinion. The "badies" looked & sounded terrifying to me as a kid too. A few years back I introduced the movies to my son (The last time I saw it was when I was a teen) and even he thought it was scary.

    I don't care much for the newer incarnations of the movies, solely because they don't make you fear all! I don't fear the orcs, their just cannon fodder. I don't fear for the main characters lives, when they're counting how many orcs/goblins they can kill! Oh! and especially when they can surf of shields & shoot a bow at the same time :( FAIL!

    So yeah, the old ones hold up much better IMHO :)

    Thanks for the screen pics & the reminder of these great movies :)

  3. Great screen grabs. I'm still a huge fan of this thing, a lot of the design was really a product of it's time - pure 70/80's mash up from He-Man to the Black Cauldron, and everything in between. Ringwraiths were the high point for me. Pretty sure the 3/4 length trousers of the hobbits in this were acknowledged as being translated directly into the Weta designs for live action.

  4. All of wot they said. I still remember not really understanding why it remained unfinished. Thirty five years ago, I couldn't get my head 'round someone paying to make 2/3rds of a film.

    Would this happen today ? Probably not, they'd either make the film or not, I suppose.

    btw, these hobbits were they one's I did as one of the pieces of my Art O level.

  5. @M.O.T.O.N - I think Hobbits were often depicted wearing breeches in mid-century illustrations. Typical English rural wear that they are!

    @Zzzzzz - I belive they were intending to do the concluding movie(s), but the first one tanked so they couldn't get the funds. I think multi-film deals weren't really a 'thing' until later last century. You had to make one before you could get funding for a sequel.