Animated movies are for children—or so you think. But still, you would watch them even as an adult. After all, animated films are known for making some of the most touching films ever.
Then there are animated movies that have been severely underrated, despite their wonderful story line or amazing animation—thanks to the fact that big animation studios like Disney and Pixar hold the attention of audiences most of the time. These films are nearing obscurity, but if you know where to look, don’t miss out on them.
Here are some animated films that you should watch.
The Black Cauldron, 1985
This forgotten Disney film has a very dark story—a product of the studio’s experimental period between 1977 and 1988. It centers around Taran, a young boy in the possession of a special pig that knows the location of The Black Cauldron, one of the most evil items in all the land.
In protecting the pig, the boy is protecting the world from the demonic Horned King, who wants the cauldron to raise an undead army.
This Disney film is unlike all others as it is dark, creepy, and gloomy. It even has an R rating, which is rare for the animated version department of the company.
Yellow Submarine, 1968
The film follows none other than The Beatles—John, Paul, George, and Ringo—as they go on a crazy adventure to free the people of Pepperland from a group of beings who hate music, aka the Blue Meanies.
Yellow Submarine is said to be a product of its time, featuring 60s psychedelic animation that is reminiscent of the times. The bright colors can be nauseating after a while, though, but it does have a cool soundtrack, as you would expect from a film featuring the iconic group.
This film is worth checking out for the strange time of the 60s, an experience you should not miss.
The Last Unicorn, 1982
Unicorns are magical creatures, but in this film, one realizes that she is the last of her kind. To find out what happened to the rest of her kin, she goes on an adventure where she meets a magician who accompanies her and tries to help her figure out what happened to them.
Mad by Topcraft, a Japanese studio, the film is deep, heartbreaking, and meant more for adults than it is for kids. The beautiful animation rivals those of the early Disney films but is distinctive for its Japanese look. Boasting of an all-star cast including Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury, and Christopher Lee, this golden film is an enjoyable one to watch with children or with adults.
Felix the Cat: The Movie (1988)
Felix the Cat is a classic cartoon character, but did you know that he had a movie? It centers around Felix going on an adventure to save a princess from a far-off land.
However, if you think that this is a movie that will make you ponder, you’re wrong: the script is bad, the voice acting is dismal, and the characters are annoying. However, the animation is both the best and worst of this film—it’s washed-out, cheap but bright and colorful and weird, which still makes for a surreal experience.
Like Yellow Submarine, the film looks like a dream—with creepy animation but a dream all the same.
It’s Such a Beautiful Day, 2011
Who would have thought stick figures could have a place in animated films? If it’s any inspiration for your artistic dreams, take note that a good story is needed to make a good film.
It’s Such a Beautiful Day is about a strange man named Bill, who has an equally strange family and life. He thinks that his mental health is beginning to deteriorate.
Bill’s life is being detailed as his mental health is deteriorating, and most of it comes in a rather dark but comedic way. The film is charming, surreal, and runs all of 60 minutes—definitely worth taking a look at.
Belladonna of Sadness, 1973
A woman accused of being a witch starts to align herself with the devil. The plot is not too child-friendly. It is inspired from the book “=Satanism and Witchcraft by Jules Muchelet.
The film is the most obscure on the list, and it’s becoming more and more difficult to find a copy of it for watching. It wasn’t released outside Japan and Europe, so there were no English subtitles. However, most of the movie is told through its beautiful animation, which mostly consisted of animated panels.
Halfway through the film is an acid release that rivals Yellow Submarine because of its surreal effect, making it look trippy.
The utopian society of Gandahar is being destroyed by evil forces from the future, and the people are trying to figure out how to stop it.
The French science fiction animated film looks like a lot of adult animated films like Heavy Metal and Fantastic Planet, but the plot is unique in its structure. It has little emphasis on time travel and prophesies, giving it a unique science fiction feel.
The film is underrated, but fans of Ralph Bakshi or science fiction, for that matter, should be able to appreciate it.
Wicked City, 1987
A peace treaty is signed between the human world and demon world in modern-day Tokyo. However, the treaty is soon expiring and two police agents are assigned to protect the signers from an attack by the Dark World, a group of radical demons who are keen not to have the treaty signed.
The neo-noir film captures Tokyo in a dark yet stylish way, with good action sequences and amazing animation design. The film is often remembered for its infamous anime subgenre—hentai—which basically means that this is not an animated film for kids.
For those unfamiliar with the subgenre, hentai is basically “adult” animation with a lot of bizarre and oftentimes grotesque sex, and Wicked City is not short on that. The film can turn some people off due to its bizarre nature, but if you can get past the weird scenes, this is a film that you shouldn’t miss.