Gary Larson's Tales from the Far Side
|Tales from the Far Side|
|Created by||Gary Larson|
|Directed by||Marv Newland|
|Country of origin||United States|
Toni A. Carmichael
Michael van den Bos
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original release||October 26, 1994|
Gary Larson's Tales From the Far Side is an animated short film created in 1994 by Gary Larson, based on his The Far Side comic strip. It was first shown as a Halloween special on CBS television, and later it was awarded the Grand Prix at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.
The film is loosely structured, jumping between several simple stories. Many of these situations use staple clichés of horror films, such as undead monsters and the dark and stormy night. The stories sometimes turn macabre, but are presented in a lighthearted fashion. They are mainly as those in the printed comic, including lots of background throwaway gags from well-known panels.
The characters and settings are all common to Larson's work, such as aliens, anthropomorphic animals and other objects, and cowboys in the Old West. The art style is essentially the same as that of The Far Side, though the film necessarily adds animation and sound effects.
In 1997 the film spawned a sequel, Tales From the Far Side II. This follow-up was never broadcast on American television, but it aired in the UK on BBC and it appeared in numerous film festivals. Both films were released on VHS and DVD and were available for purchase by U.S. addresses from The Official Far Side website, but are currently sold out.
When the first special was issued on video in 1999, Larson made numerous changes:
- In the original opening scene, in the house with the dead body, the caged bird is mimicking the telephone ringing; a joke which is repeated later in the jungle scene. In the video version, the bird is mimicking the phrase, "Is it loaded?".
- In the TV version, after the camera pulls back to reveal the snakes watching "The Bacon Bunch", there's a fade-out to commercial. The next scene is the "Wolf's Home Movies". In the video version, the camera pans into the forest for another vignette featuring an African warrior and a big-headed American tourist.
- The audio mix during the egg scene is drastically different. The video version includes a radio announcer, while the TV version does not. In the TV version, the scene depicting the next morning is edited differently and includes a much longer shot of the female egg screaming.
- Between the "Exploding Kid" and "Old West" scenes, there is an additional scene featuring a group of carrots.
- The "Old West" scene features the same narration in both versions. However, in the broadcast version, the narration came at the top of the scene along with the words on-screen. In the video version, there's no writing, so the narration simply plays over the action.
- In the video version, there's voice-over narration in the zombie "Dead Ranch" scene to make it seem like a travel infomercial. In the TV version, there's no narration, some of the audio differs, and the hayride scene plays intact, complete with a crossover from the Bride of Frankenstein cow who was featured at the beginning of the special.
- In the broadcast version, the "Bob's Monsters" truck was also stocked with "Exploding Kids". In the video version, the truck contains the less macabre Garden Rakes.
- In the original ending to the scene around the campfire, where the big-headed American tourist is telling the children the tale of his adventure, he finds out that the children are actually more "Exploding Kids".
- In the TV version, the end credits begin with a final shot of the aliens; the credits run thirty seconds and close with an animated variation of the FarWorks, Inc. logo. In the video version, there are no aliens, the credits are stretched over three minutes, and it closes with a still version of the FarWorks logo.