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Deadsy, Door (Film script, 1989-1990)

"Deadsy" (1989) and "Door" (1990) are two surreal animated short films written and narrated by Russell Hoban and directed by David Anderson.

On 18th December 2011 David Anderson wrote on the Russell Hoban Facebook page: "I did 2 short films with Russell in the early 90's 'Deadsy' and 'Door', I am forever grateful I had the chance run alongside the 'word-monger' of brilliance and deep mystery for a short while. Even though you didn't believe in it - 'bon voyage' my friend."




The following are liner notes from a David Anderson collection on video, called "Works on Film." (A Connoisseur Video Animation Collection release from Argos Films and the British Film Institute.) It includes "Deadsy," "Door," and the 24-minute 1990 documentary on the making of the films, "Deadtime Stories for Big Folk" which features interviews with both Russell Hoban and David Anderson. Chris Bell has this tape in his possession and was kind enough to share these notes:

On "Deadsy": "Winner of many awards, including a Special Jury Prize at the 1990 Edinburgh Film and Television Festival. The film is a graphic interpretation of Russell Hoban's narration of man's fascination with weaponry and the sexual power of military aggression. Using a combination of live action, xerography, hand-rendering, laser xerography and model animation, DEADSY is a powerful and disturbing piece."

On "Door": "DOOR concerns man's relentless and impetuous curiosity and the results of his actions when he takes one step too far. It examines our ability to shut our eyes to what those results are, or may yet be. The film employs a mix of animation, pixillation in outdoor locations, animation of photographic images and xerography. Like DEADSY, it was written and narrated by Russell Hoban. Among many awards the film won are the Silver Mekeldi Award for Animation from the 1991 Bilbao Film Festival and the Best New British Animation Award at the 1991 Edinburgh International Film Festival."

Additional program notes: "In 1989 Anderson directed Deadsy, the first of two Russell Hoban scripts specially commissioned by Redwing for Channel Four. Deadsy won 'Best In Category' Awards at the 1990 festivals in Zagreb and Melbourne, together with a Special Jury Prize at the 1990 Edinburgh Film Festival. More recently, Deadsy was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Los Angeles Animation Celebration and won the Golden Plaque Award at the Chicago International Film Festival. In 1990 Anderson completed Door, the second of the Russell Hoban collaborations. Both films were premiered on British television in November 1990, together with a specially commissioned documentary examining the whole of the director's work and the particular techniques and ideas found in Deadsy and Door. Door won the Critics' Award at Annecy and was awarded the Prize for Best Animation Film at Melbourne in 1991. It was also winner of the Post Office's McLaren Award for Best New British Animation Film at the 1991 Edinburgh Film Festival."


Dave Awl writes: Russell Hoban was kind enough to send me the scripts to both "Deadsy" and "Door," and I was right in my guess that the text follows a Riddley Walker-esque kind of spelling. The text itself recalls the language of Riddley, gutteral and monosyllabic. Mr. Hoban's pronunciation makes it fairly clear that instead of "didn't" and "wouldn't" he's saying "dint" and "wunt." The stories for both films sound like more abstract cousins of the allegorical tales told in Riddley, though their content doesn't seem to belong to Riddley's world (except perhaps thematically).

From the script to "Door"

Wel wun tym thay foun a key it hadda noat tyd to it the noat sed THIS IS THE WUN.
So she sed to him Wut do you think it meens THIS IS THE WUN?
He sed Wel this is sum kyna speshil thing you wun unnerstan it.
She sed I can unnerstan enny thing you can unnerstan.
He sed O yes youre the wun knows it all.
She sed may be you are may be youre the wun knows it all.
He sed may be I am. She sed Wel then tel me wuzzit meen THIS IS THE WUN? She sed THE WUN wut?
He sed Wel it meens wut it says THIS IS THE WUN.
She sed THE WUN wut?
He sed Wel its THE WUN wut is wut it is and she sed wut is it then?
Nevva myn he sed I am lookin inno it.


Text to "Deadsy and the Sexo Chanjo"

When Deadsy wuz lil he like din do nuffing big he din do nuffing only lil ooky-pooky deadsy byebyes like he do a cockrutch or a fly he din do nuffingbig. He werkin his way up tho after wyl he killa mowss O yes my my. He like that he like killing mowssis nex he done a rat or maybe it wuzza cat I dunno reely. He like that you know it give him like a MMMMM HMMMMM you know it give him like a BIG RUSH O so good wut I'm sayin. Yes yes it make him hear music in his head BIG stiryo in his head thats what he hearin.

Wel Deadsy hun garoun dinnee. Yes he did he hun garoun he growin alla time O so fine he growin his BIG LONG skellingtin MMMMM HMMMMM you know he growin his ROCKME ROLLME RATTLEME BIG BONUS you know his BIG BONUS how the girls all luvvit how he rattel roun the clock with his big bonus makin music O man wut he dun he dun them grate big gigs.

Deadsy tho he know evabody din love him. O yes he wuz big he wuzza reel MEGAGUY only he din have enuf luv in his life he wannit mor of it. Thats when it come to him Im gonna MMM HMMMM O YES IM GONNA GROW OOOOH GONNA GROW AHHH GONNA GROW GRATE BIG SEXO-THINGYS GONNA BE


Then evvabody will luv me.

Wel when Deadsy dun that he like din have the same sexothingys wut he had befor he had difren. He had MIZZ YOUNIVERSS sexo-thingys only he din have his big ol Deadsy BIG BONUS. Evvabody luvvin him tho they all wanna make it with him they all wanna go MMMH MMMH they all wanna do it. So Deadsy tellin them all you berr have grate big sexo-thingys if you wanna do it with me so they dun that they all growin grate big sexo-thingys and they all doin it with Deadsy alla time only wusnt Deadsy no more he wuz MIZZ YOUNIVERSS.



The Head of Orpheus recorded in the early 2000s that "Door" was at one time available in the US on a 90-minute video compilation called The British Animation Invasion. The price then was approximately $40 and could be ordered from Expanded Entertainment whose phone number was 1-800-996-TOON (then Monday-Friday 9am-6pm PST). The mailing address for ordering was recorded as:

    Expanded Entertainment
    P.O. Box 25547
    Los Angeles, CA 90025, USA

Catalog number EX122. ISBN number 1-56299-023-3.

As far as we know, "Deadsy" is not currently available for sale in the US. Information on how to obtain the video for those in the UK, or anywhere else it's available, is welcome if anyone has it - please comment below.

Both films are included in the David Anderson video compilation "Works on Film", which is listed on Amazon.co.uk as a VHS format tape and not currently available.

Type of work: 
Film script
Year of first publication: 
Original publisher: 
Several (see main page content)

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