Anthology films. Some people love them. Some people hate them. Some people eye them with a raised eyebrow and skepticism in their hearts.
They tend to be mixed bags, each comprised of a few standout entries, a few filler entries and a few outright duds.
For some reason, almost every anthology I know of is a horror anthology. Seems strange, right? There is something about the horror story being suite for the short form, I suppose. It feels like there’s plenty of room in the world for at least one Western anthology film.
I sure hope there’s room for a fantasy anthology film, because that’s what we’re making over here.
The Spine of Night is compromised of 5 individual stories and 1 wrap-around story that unites them and contextualizes them.
With the film we're trying very hard to match the gold standard set by the best of the anthology form and also advance it, push it and expand it.
Each segment in The Spine of Night tells a self-contained tale about an individual character and their journey.
But the mega-story of the film is a tapestry showing the history of this strange fantasy world.
Each segment of our film takes place in a decidedly different moment in this world’s development. The effect of watching the film in its entirety will be propulsive, taking the viewer from the primitive swamps and frontier shanty towns all the way through to a mechanized, almost robotic future.
The astute viewer will be able to pick up on how the flow of history has taken certain aspects from the first segments all the way through to the last. Anthology film as world-building tool.
I’ve never seen an anthology film that worked that way before. It feels like a great way to push at the boundaries of what anthology films, and film in general, can do. Here’s hoping we can pull it off.
And now, without further ado, I give you the titles of our five segments:
In Doom, I am Reborn
The Road of Straw
And the sixth, the wrap around segment that introduces each of the others and connects them all on a lonely mountain top, rife with mystery and magic:
Much more on each of those in the coming weeks.
Next week, we'll delve a bit into our favorite anthology films.
In parting, here's Death, rimmed in red and stitched in white on a medieval tapestry: