The Ruined Cast

Institute History


The Ruined Cast is an animated comedic feature about a family that gets thrown into chaos when the scientist father, Michael, loses his test subject in an experiment in elaborate body mask-building.

Michael’s last experiment was an attempt to transfer the emotions of his then-wife (and mother to his two children) Marilee into his own body. He wanted to feel what she felt for him. The experiment was a moderate success: he received brief, stinging feelings of affection for Marilee, but in the process she was drained of all of her emotions. He soon divorced her, finding her too “cold,” and married an extremely emotional woman named Hazel. Michael lives life behind an emotional barrier, oblivious to Hazel’s passionate affair with his co-worker, and completely devoted to his latest project: an experiment in full-body masks called "gelion suits” that can completely change someone’s outer appearance. The only problems, so far, are that the gelion affects the wearer’s psychology, it dissolves in water, and his first human test subject just escaped!

The escaped test subject is a tall pale woman who is struggling to remember exactly what happened to her. She knows that her outer appearance isn’t who she actually is. She’s been heavily drugged by a variety of chemicals to erase her previous self, in order to inhabit her new body more fully. Michael gives her "Jamais Vu" pills, which creates the opposite effect of déjà vu, giving her the feeling that she is doing everything for the first time.

The escapee is first discovered, then kept hidden by Michael’s two teenage children: his aspiring artist son, Andy, and his ambitious school event organizer daughter, Cathy. Andy and Cathy both become attached to the escapee. Andy uses her as his muse and attempts to seduce her. Cathy is jealous of all of the attention that Andy’s friends give her. The two begin to unravel what happened to the test subject and discover her connection to their father. Meanwhile, Michael’s co-workers are searching for both Michael and the escapee.

Pretty soon everyone is wearing different bodysuits, disguising themselves as other people, and entangling themselves in complicated psychological knots. The battle between the characters' outward appearance and their inner selves is brought to life through hand-drawn animation. As the deception and trickery escalate, the imagery itself becomes more complex as a way of reflecting the psychological intricacies of the characters' struggle. As it mines the comedy from the hubris and discontent of its characters, The Ruined Cast quite literally dramatizes the turmoil that erupts when the difference between our interior and exterior selves is exposed.


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