Ub Iwerks’ Balloon Land (1935)

This is one of my favourite cartoons – funny, cute and very sinister all at once. If your download rate can take it, hit the “HQ” button and watch the Pincushion Man do his thing in high quality.

Balloon Land [aka The Pincushion Man] (US-1953; dir. Ub Iwerks)


High in the air floats Balloon Land, where everyone and everything is a balloon. The people, the animals, the trees and even the rocks are filled with nothing but air. Even the movie stars, such as Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy, are balloons. The citizens of Balloon Land have but one mortal enemy: the Pincushion Man, who lives in the forest. A foolhardy young boy takes his girlfriend into the forest, determined to show he’s not afraid of the Pincushion Man. The boy and girl are nearly popped when the evil creature comes after them. They manage to escape into the seeming safety of the city. But the wily Pincushion Man tricks a guard into letting him in. It will take an army of Balloon soldiers to get rid of this threat. (IMDb)

I used this as the basis of a horror story once — “Beware! The Pincushionman” — which appeared in Southern Blood, edited by Bill Congreve (Sandglass Publishing, 2003), an excellent anthology that is, I believe, still available. In my story the Pincushionman becomes a delusional metaphor for failure and drug addiction.

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3 Responses to Ub Iwerks’ Balloon Land (1935)

  1. Pingback: Undead Backbrain » Blog Archive » Ultra Cutie Daikaiju Chompin Fluffies

  2. Jeff Ritchie says:

    And a very good story it was Rob, one of my picks from the anthology. Southern Blood is still available for anyone after a copy, try Australian Bookshop Online.

    Was completely unaware that the cartoon featured in the story was an actual cartoon.

  3. Backbrain says:

    Glad you liked it, Jeff. For the uninitiated, Jeff has a website called Scary Minds that is definitely worth a regular visit — and this is its URL: http://www.scaryminds.com/. You’ll find a couple of reviews for books of mine (Creeping in Reptile Flesh and Immaterial: Ghost Stories), plus some anthologies I’m in or edited (Daikaiju!).

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