I feel so bad for Jim Henson. The Dark Crystal was his Star Wars. His attempt to create his own parody pseudo-religion and escape the muppet ghetto he created for himself.

Like steam energy, Henson’s creative storytelling was an alternative kind of drama, horror, comedy fusion that was never fully explored. He was shoved out of the way for more ambitiously literal directors. But The Dark Crystal, which I didn’t like as a kid, just speaks to the unlimited potential that puppetry had as visual artistry.

Eventually, puppets would go down three distinct paths in cinema: Horror (Gremlins), Comedy (Muppets) and Drama/Suspense (various Creature Workshops).

But I would have liked to see what Henson could have done if only he had not tried to imitate, but continued to innovate.

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