Guillermo Del Toro is coming to television this year with the vampire horror series “The Strain,” but he also has something special coming to theaters as well before the year is over with. In October, just in time for Halloween, Del Toro has a new animated movie coming called “The Book of Life.” Directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez, “The Book of Life” is a Romeo & Juliet styled love story based around the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday.
The movie joins a recent onslaught of horror-styled animated movies, which includes films involving monsters, zombies and vampires. Here is a look at some of the more recent horror-themed animated movies that “The Book of Life” will find itself compared to.
In 1984, Tim Burton directed a short film called “Frankenweenie.” He soon signed on with Disney and became a superstar director, but that short film always stuck in the back of Burton’s mind. Finally, in 2012, Burton had a chance to bring that story back to life in a black and white movie that pays homage to all styles of monster movies. A lonely young boy named Victor Frankenstein watches his dog Sparky die and then uses science to bring the dog back to life as Frankenweenie.
When his friends learn what he did, they follow suit to try to win the school’s science fair award. The result is animals brought back to life that paid homage to everything from The Invisible Man to Godzilla, the Wolf Man and more.
With Tim Burton directing “Frankenweenie,” most figured that his movie would be the most disturbing animated horror movie at Halloween that year. However, a second movie came out around the same time called “ParaNorman,” which has amazing visuals and a mind blowing final act. The movie features a young boy named Norman, who can see and speak to dead people. When some zombies rise from their graves and head to the town where they once ruled, the townspeople gather to fight them without realizing a greater evil is rising up. This was the second movie for Laika Studios, following “Coraline” in 2009.
While Adam Sandler has become box office poison over the past few years, he still had one of the most successful animated movies of 2012 at the box office. He voiced the lead role in the animated film “Hotel Transylvania,” Unlike “Frankenweenie” and “ParaNorman,” “Hotel Transylvania” plays it straight for laughs as Dracula runs a hotel retreat where monsters can stay and vacation to escape the persecution of the evil humans. An important distinction here is that, while Sandler and friends provided the voices, television animation maestro Genndy Tartakovsky (“Dexter’s Laboratory”) directed the movie.