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Western Animation / Harpya

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Harpya is a 1979 animated short film (8 1/2 minutes) from Belgium, written and directed by Raoul Servais.

A man walking down a street in a vaguely Belle Époque, turn-of-the-20th century European setting, hears a woman's screams. He dashes to the sound, and finds the man is drowning a woman in a fountain in the square. The man clubs the assailant over the head with a bottle, thus saving the woman...only to discover that she isn't a woman. Instead she is a harpy, the half-woman, half-bird creature from Greek mythology.

The man takes the harpy home as a pet, which soon proves to be a mistake. He begins to starve, as the ravenously hungry harpy pounces and eats literally all the man's food. It also eats the man's parakeet. When the man tries to leave the house, the harpy intercepts him at the front door and eats both of his legs. Finally, the man puts a phonograph record on to distract the harpy, and makes a final dash for freedom.


  • Bald of Evil: The finishing touch on the overwhelming creepiness of the harpy is the fact that it's totally bald. (Traditionally harpies were/are drawn with hair.)
  • Big Eater: The harpy seems to have a limitless appetite and it will eat any food the man has.
  • Black Comedy: The short mixes horror and black comedy. It might be terrifying if a giant harpy bites off your legs but it looks pretty silly when the man is just walking around on his hands like it's no big deal.
  • Bookends: The cartoon opens with the man whacking another man on the back of the head as it tries to drown the harpy. It ends with the man attempting to strangle the harpy, only to be whacked on the back of the head by a policeman.
  • Clip-Art Animation: Live-action footage of the man and the harpy, then animated against a hand-drawn background, Terry Gilliam-style.
  • Harping on About Harpies: A man brings a harpy into his home and comes to really regret it.
  • Here We Go Again!: At the end, the harpy is rescued by a cop just as the man is strangling her.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: The man doesn't seem to be overly affected by having his legs eaten, instead simply going about his business by walking on his hands.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: Near the end the man, who now has no legs, sits on a plinth in a row of statues on plinths in an effort to hide from the harpy. It works—until the man opens his bag of fries.
  • Speaking Simlish: No dialogue, just squawking and snatches of gibberish.