Bettany will play a claymation artist in Daniel Simpson’s Born, a psychological thriller in which the animator’s creations take on a life of their own. You don’t even need to throw in Jennifer Connelly or the Chiodo Brothers or Guillermo Del Toro and Clive Barker as producers (along with Lloyd Levin and Lawrence Gordon) to get me excited for this. Creepy claymation figures wreaking havoc in some spooky English house? I’m already having nightmares.

Actually, those nightmares are holdovers from movies like Trilogy of Terror and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark; there’s something about murderous little creatures acting the motherfuckin’ fool up in a big gothic house that keeps me up at night. In my wussified youth, I used to worry that the pint-sized bastards from Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark were waiting to trip me up should I dare to walk down the stairs in the middle of the night; this fear was a waking reality in my grandparents’ house, which had an old, creaky staircase that moaned its ill intentions with each step regardless of the hour.

If Simpson and his co-scenarists Barker and Paul Kaye want to scare the piss out of me specifically, they’ll have claymation figures scampering about wielding little jagged knives and whispering ominously in the shadows. That the Chiodos will be in charge of the film’s animated sequences flat out makes me giddy; I’ve been fans of these guys since Critters and Killer Klowns from Outer Space. The thought of them collaborating with a protégé of Del Toro and Barker is a happy one.

ClearVision Media Production Group is financing Born independently, but a film starring Bettany and Connelly will obviously get some kind of studio distribution. Production is scheduled to begin this August. I need to visit this set.