[Review] 'Scary Stories' Come To Life In Stop-Motion Short 'Toe'

Toe Chad Thurman Short Film Review

Toe opens with dark imagery including a disembodied toe, an animal skull and bones, and a crow pecking in a garden. Ominous music plays as a boy is walking along in the fog with a garden hoe over his shoulder, looking rather famished and frightened. He pulls a weed out of the soil hoping it is good food, but it’s too small, so he tosses it aside and continues his search. He starts to fantasize about eating bird meat when he sees a crow by a well, but he’s unable to catch it. After falling in his attempt to capture the crow, he encounters a big toe protruding from the soil. While pondering at the sight of the toe, the crow screeches warnings from the other side. Ignoring the crow, he swings and chops the toe from the ground and the wind starts to gust ferociously.

Coming home to his run down shack, he cooks the toe with steam from his heating pipe and eats it for dinner before heading to bed. He stares out for a moment into the fog before falling asleep. In the middle of the night, shadows dance in the fog and moonlight, the heating pipe in his home is starting to accelerate, and a faint voice in the distance repeatedly keeps asking, "Where is my toeeee?" Bolting upright in bed, the whole house appears to shake and make noise as something seems to be approaching his bedroom. Just then, a ghastly creature with no skin is maliciously staring at him through piercing, beaded, round eyes. With the boy hiding under the blankets, the creature crawls from the hole in his ceiling, over to the boy, repeatedly asking "Where is my toeeee?" before ending the short with the boy laying in the soil near the place he found the toe.

This stop-motion short was an excellent adaptation of the old folktale "The Big Toe", as well as the story from the book series Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, which I was actually fond of as a child. I also noticed inspiration from Tim Burton too, adding a unique touch to the overall aesthetic of the film. The scenes were well laid out and every detail seemed important and necessary. I always love good use of artistic imagery and Toe features an abundance of it, such as the crow and the broken down automobile near the beginning that make us feel like we’re in that world for 6½ minutes. The timing of the scares and the amount of them were also just right. I would honestly like to see more of these shorts made for some of Stephen Gammell's chilling stories from the first book, and any others in the rest of the series as well.