There’s just something about this Batman: Arkham Asylum ad that makes me laugh and squeal with joy and terror every time I watch it — perhaps because it’s probably the only ad I can compare to late-period Federico Fellini (or at least early Sam Raimi).
Now, we all know that the Dancing Skeleton has a long history in pop culture. One of Walt Disney’s very first cartoons featured reanimated skeletons having an all-night dance party in a cemetery* (be careful, the part where one skeleton pulls out another’s femur and plays a makeshift spinal xylophone kept me in therapy through elementary school.) Meanwhile, Tim Burton has a veritable side career producing skeleton musicals with The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride. In fact, this isn’t even the first time that Dancing Skeletons have appeared in a videogame dream sequence while dancing to the song “Dry Bones.” (Thanks, Monkey Island 2: scroll to 1:17.)
What do you think, Popwatchers? Anyone else captivated by this commericial’s utterly incongruous tone?
* Fun fact! Ub Iwerks, the lead animator of Disney’s The Skeleton Dance, later worked at Columbia, where he made an animated short called Skeleton Frolic. See if you can spot any similarities; or rather, see if you can spot anything that’s different at all!