user's avatar
"American Horror Stories", Main titles
Motion Graphics
American Horror Stories (episode 5 "Ba'al") - Elastic. 
Main Title direction, design, animation. (2021)


I was thrilled to be invited by Hazel Baird of Elastic to lead on the titles of the spin-off horror anthology, "American Horror Stories", episode 5: "Ba'al".

I am a long-time admirer of "American Horror Story", not only for its eerie story-telling and ingenious, lusciously dark cinematography, but equally for its various stand-out title sequences. And as somebody who has bathed in the horror genre since adolescence, an opportunity to lead on a horror opener is something I had been firmly crossing my fingers for.  

I was eager to bring my particular style, approach and ideas to bear. The bold and searing design I opted for having been selected by Ryan Murphy Productions for this episode, I firstly set about fleshing out a full storyboard embracing the creepy otherworldliness of the episode and the tone of the series as a whole.

It is quite rare that I animate these days and I relished the challenge of bringing my designs to life and establishing an off-kilter animation style. I began by bringing  motion and depth to the "sect" shot, followed by the attic which I always fancied as the opening shot. I used a combination of AE and C4D throughout. Rigging and adding spines and hair to the spider and the various projection mapping shots (doll face and cellar girl) allowed me to develop skills I have not used extensively. But probably my favourite shots to animate were the goat-headed demon along with dynamic curtains and the lady sprouting wings and horns in her lonely woodland garret. I also enjoyed the challenge of finding a suitably creepy and unsettling technique of animation for the typography, including main logo card.

A big thanks to Rachel Fowler whose editing brings a wonderful escalating tension and unease, and to Bruno Ferrari and Daniel Moreno for their animation support. Thanks to Audrey Williart for her invaluable moral support on one of the toughest projects I've worked on, as well as playing hand model on the seance shots; also to Louise Miller for the kind use of her thrashing head on the asylum shot. 

I am thoroughly grateful to Hazel Baird, Kate Berry and Elastic for allowing to spread my wings on this truly special project.

Below is a selection from my original style frames:


Credits for "American Horror Stories" episode 5 "Ba'al" opening sequence:

Studio: Elastic
Production Company: Ryan Murphy Productions
Distributor: FX on Hulu

Creative Director: Hazel Baird
Concept and Direction: David Penn
Editor: Rachel Fowler
Designer and Lead Animator: David Penn 
Animation Support: Bruno Ferrari, Daniel Moreno
Flash frame illustrations: Margherita Permuroso
Producer: Mitchell Fraser
Deputy Head of Production: Zach Wakefield
Executive Producer: Luke Colson
Executive Producer / Head of Production: Kate Berry
Managing Director: Jennifer Sofio Hall



"American Horror Stories", Main titles
1.4k
8.1k
67
Published:

"American Horror Stories", Main titles

1.4k
8.1k
67
Published: