We cannot discuss creepy puppets and dolls without discussing the modern masters of creepy dolls: The Brother Quay and Jan Svankmajer. We shall touch upon the great Jan Svankmajer at a later date, perhaps even tomorrow. For today let us look at the genius of the the Brothers Quay.
I know countless film makers who list them as a major inspiration. They’re two brother from Pennsylvania who do stop motion animation. Very… creepy stop motion animation, inspired by a Polish film makers Walerian Borowczyk and Jan Lenica whose most well known work was in the 50s through the 70s.
Allow me to demonstrate:
Stephen and Timothy Quay are twins, born in 1947 in Norristown, Pennsylvania. During their 20s, beginning in 1969, they lived and studied in England and the Netherlands and finally in 1979 settled in South London, hooked up with Keith Griffiths, who would go on to produce all of their films, and got down to their bizarre and unorthodox film career.
This is one of their more well known examples. Like i said, creepy dolls? They’ve got the trademark on creepy dolls.
Their films almost never have spoken dialogue. Well, no meaningful spoken dialogue. Weird, grating, high pitched noises don’t exactly count as dialogue. Their influence is astounding. They have dominated film festivals and avante garde film circuits. They’ve even done theatrical set design. In 1998 their Tony-nominated set designs for The Chairs was well lauded on Broadway.They’re still quite active and have even done a number of music videos. They don’t have a website or i would send you there, but a good resource page is here.
YouTube is a great place to start watching their work and of course you can buy collections of their work (which i recommend. Everyone’s got to eat!)
I leave you now with a personal favorite of mine. The design for this is just gorgeous. It’s a delight to view, although, you know, in a delightful creepy way. The Quay Brothers: The Comb.