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Nathaniel

best films about moving statuary

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What moves me about moving statuary? What are the best movies about statues that move?

Next month, I'm doing a small presentation on the horror genre, and at some point, I'd like to steer the conversation toward one of my favorite motifs in le cinema fantastique: effigies that become animate. I suppose someone's already done a study in which they trace the through line from the myth of Pygmalion to E. Nesbit's "Man-Size in Marble" and Clark Ashton Smith's "The Disinterment of Venus" to Kelly Link's "Stone Animals." But for the purposes of this project, I'm mainly interested in film and television.

The earliest example I can think of is The Magician (1926), which centers on a lurid dream sequence whereby a giant sculpture of Pan comes to life and starts carousing. Then there's Wegener's Golem trilogy, which draws its inspiration from the Jewish legend about a clay statue brought to life to protect a village in Prague. The preeminent example from my childhood is Talos, the skyscraper-sized automaton who awakens and terrorizes the crew of the Argos in Jason and the Argonauts (1963). Other, minor examples might include Dan Curtis's The Norliss Tapes (1973), a made-for-TV movie that climaxes with the statue of an ancient demon taking on flesh; a Night Gallery episode entitled "Last Rites for a Dead Druid"; and "Blink," an ingenious episode of Doctor Who that aired in 2007 and has since become a Halloween favorite.

Are there any others? I'll consider expanding the query to include mannequins.

Edited by Nathaniel

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NBooth   

Not a whole movie, but one of the best moving statues of all time has to be in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor:

 

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One of the more intriguing moments to consider would be the end of Battle for the Planet of the Apes.

It! (1967) also comes to mind. 

Edited by Ryan H.

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56 minutes ago, Ryan H. said:

I can think of many bad movies where this happens (i.e. Tomb Raider). But good movies? That's harder.

Yeah, me too.  Unfortunately, Conan the Destroyer was the first thing that came to mind after reading the films in the first post.

 

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StephenM   

The Weeping Angels in Doctor Who recur in several other episodes as well.  I think The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone two-parter is as good as Blink. And of course the show has a long history of mannequins coming to life that foes back to the Third Doctor's first episode, I believe.

In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the White Witch turns various people including Mr. Tumnus into stone, and later Asian restores them to life.  Not sure if that counts.

Hmm. There are many movies where paintings come to life, but that's not quite what you want, is it?

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Nathaniel wrote:
: The misogyny of those creations are only apparent with adult hindsight.  

Actual misogyny (i.e. hatred of women), or just sexism? There's a difference.

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21 hours ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

Nathaniel wrote:
: The misogyny of those creations are only apparent with adult hindsight.  

Actual misogyny (i.e. hatred of women), or just sexism? There's a difference.

Perhaps gynophobia is more precise. After watching The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, I had nightmares for weeks about that wooden figurehead with her blank, unfeeling eyes, cruelly downturned mouth, and tumescent nipples. In Jason and the Argonauts, I was equally fascinated with the bust of Hera, whose eyelids pop open when Jason calls on her, and the eerie way she whispers into his ear. Ditto the bizarre cobra dance in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. I adore these films, but realize now that there is a distinct current of horror feminae running through them.

Edited by Nathaniel

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