By Admin | February 23, 2000

The Dignified Devil doesn’t look all that freaky. Oh sure, he’s got big pointy ears that make him look like a cross between Ross Perot and Mr. Spock, but he doesn’t look any stranger than Lyle Lovette…and he was married to Julia Roberts, for heaven’s sake! Yet, there our hero sits, all alone in a dingy big city bar, nursing his nightcap. Sadly trudging home later, he peers down an alley and notices a mysterious door, framed by blinking carnival lights, that he’d never noticed before. He enters to find an animated freak show — with an empty exhibit space reserved just for him — and finds himself trapped forever in this cartoon Hotel California. Aaron Augenblick trades off the cutting-edge color and flash so prevalent in today’s animations for a simpler, and in this case more effective pen and ink animation style that hearkens back to the classic moodiness of the Dick Tracy or Steve Roper comic strips. Augenblick has successfully crafted an eerie living and breathing world in “Midnight Carnival,” his characters silently conveying their creepy personalities through their expressions, his freak show door beckoning ominously in the inky night like an illicit strip club. You know our anti-hero shouldn’t pass through those doors…but you so want to see what’s on the other side. Sometimes simple is better and the intriguing “Midnight Carnival” proves it.

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