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Western Animation / Of Men and Demons

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Of Men and Demons is a 1969 animated short film (ten minutes) directed by the husband-and-wife team of John and Faith Hubley.

A simple fisherman lives on an island. He casts nets and eats fish; he sows hay and bales it up to be taken away somewhere and sold. When he's done with work for the day, he plays on a flute until he falls asleep.

Across the isthmus there is a mountain. Living in a cave in the mountain are three demons, spirits of fire, rain, and water. The demons notice the man and decide to screw with him. Working together, they destroy his hay crop and burn down his little hut. But then, the man gets some unexpected help.


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Tropes:

  • Evil Laugh: The lightning demon, who seems to be the ringleader, cackles malevolently after the three of them wreck the man's home.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Almost! It's actually gods of fire, rain, and lightning that make the fisherman's life miserable.
  • Here We Go Again!: The first time, the demons just wreck the man's hut and little farm. The second time, after the man and woman have built a sophisticated factory for processing their hay, the demons unleash the forces of pollution—cars, plastics, smog—and choke the world. The third time, the man and woman have invented computers and the world is clean and shiny again. The lightning demon gets an Idea Bulb, he talks to the fire demon, they start laughing, and the cartoon ends.
  • Idea Bulb: When the lightning demon gets an idea, lightning bolts shoot out of his head.
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  • Jerkass Gods: Three elemental spirits that mess with a poor fisherman because they have nothing better to do.
  • Product Placement: Does it seem odd that the man and the woman defeat the demons in the end by inventing binary code, building a computer, and ushering in a cleaner and more efficient world? Well, this film was commissioned by IBM as part of the Osaka World Exposition held in 1970.
  • Speaking Simlish: There is no dialogue, but the demons chat at each other in some nonsense Simlish, which conveys their mood.
  • Villains Out Shopping: The demon of fire is shown playing solitaire in the cave.
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