Stop Motion films, also refereed to as Claymation films, are this unique sub-genre of animation. It is taking practical models (usually at a much smaller scale the humans) of the characters and sets and actually taking millions of individual pictures to simulate animation. For some reason I just love this style. Each film has its own cartoony like quality that makes the happy moments more meaningful and the scary moments that much more terrifying. Plus without Stop Motion, probably no one would know who Tim Burton is… Top 5 Claymation films!
#5: Isle of Dogs
Release Date: 2019
This movie is such a joy to watch. A story about a boy trying to find his lost dog in a weird dystonian world where all dogs are forced onto a trash island together. The political conspiracies mixed with the Asian mythological odyssey story elements makes this film all over the place, in a good way. Wes Anderson does what he does best by making a quirky and fun movie around a really fucked up and disturbing plot. The voice cast alone is worth the watch with stars like Jeff Golblum, Bryan Cranston, and Bill Murray all playing dogs.
Release Date: 2012
A story about a kid who’s a horror movie nerd in the middle of his own horror movie. The art in this movie alone earns it’s spot on the list; the style of the zombies reminds you of the old George Romero days, while also having its own creative take. This movie is also funny, be it however all the humor is childish… I mean why would a movie directed at kids have child like humor, beats me. But it’s still stuff you laugh at at any age. And at the end of the day Norman, and the kids in the audience, learn a valuable lesson about being true to yourself. You can’t beat that message. Plus John Goodman voices a crazy hobo.
#3: James and the Giant Peach
Release Date: 1996
I got to be honest, at this point any one of these movies could have held the top slot. James and the Giant Peach is a masterpiece. This is as ‘fairy tale’ as it gets. A British orphan boy has to live with his evil aunts who want to steal his inheritance, only to meet a stranger with magical bugs that launches him into a crazy adventure. All of the bugs he shares his peach living quarters with have their own personalities and charm, yes I said the earthworm has charm too! It’s a movie about friends helping friends overcome their fear and grief and unfortunately in this world, you need to watch a movie like this every once in a while.
Release Date: 2009
Like I said, this movie could have very well have been number one. The art in this movie is down right terrifying. It starts out with some weird Edward Scissorhands tearing apart a doll in some really grotesque fashion only to then turn it inside out and make it look like our main character. Seriously I don’t even know where to start, maybe with Kieth David voicing a cat. But more importantly this movie is about showing you that getting everything you want, might not be what you want. Having undying love and happiness might cause you to go blind to the real horrors around you. Like as if someone sewed buttons into your eyes.
#1: The Nightmare Before Christmas
Release Date: 1993
Was there even any doubt this was going to be number one? I honestly don’t think I had much of a choice. This list might as well have been “best movies directed by Henry Selick” (also directed Coraline, James and the Giant Peach, and…. sigh…. Monkeybone) But what everyone remembers is who wrote the movie, dirty mop sprung to life, Tim Burton. The art and style is amazing and at the time never really seen before. I mean this movie kind of started the hard crooked lines, everything is dark but bright colors, haunt the child art style. The music is perfect too, people still sing these songs every year, hell year round. This is the best stop motion film as well as maybe the best musical, Christmas movie, Halloween movie, and shit one of the best movies of all time. All Hail to the Pumpkin King.
Bonus: Moral Orel
Release Date: 2005-2008
I couldn’t talk about stop motion without mentioning that one stop motion TV show that’s on Adult Swim. No, not that shitty one from Seth Green that’s basically nostalgia porn. Moral Orel, if you’ve never had the pleasure, is about a morally great kid who is truly innocent, goes to church every Sunday, and believes in God. The people around him (including his parents) however are just… the worst. Saying this show is “fucked up” doesn’t really do it justice. But no matter the truly horrifying things that happen to this kid, every episode always ends with him doing his own little stop motion movie. The end of the very last episode, after everything this kid has been through, is what earns its spot on this list.
Movies watched and list generated by: Troy Smith