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MAD GOD (2022)

Release Date: 06/16/22 [Shudder]

Genre: Animation/Fantasy/Horror

Studio: Shudder


"A corroded diving bell descends amidst a ruined city and the Assassin emerges from it to explore a labyrinth of bizarre landscapes inhabited by freakish denizens."


Mad God’s director Phil Tippet is a legend in Hollywood. Not for being a director, screenwriter or actor - but for being one of the most iconic visual effects artists the industry has ever seen! With credits ranging from Star Wars to Jurassic Park, Tippet has been behind some of cinema's most horrifying, but awe-inspiring creatures. And now, 30 years in the making, he finally has the chance to unleash his own ghastly creation on the world with his feature film debut, the stop-motion animated horror, Mad God.


This visually striking, yet disturbing tale follows an unnamed character, credited as Assassin, who descends onto a dark, brooding planet of bizarre landscapes filled with unnerving creatures and freakish denizens. Assassin’s silent journey (as he does not speak) takes him on a quest into the unknown, only with a map and a suitcase with a bomb inside.


Mad God opens with the feel of a classic cinema film. The loud orchestral overture booms over a miniature set before a scroll appears on the screen with a threat of extinction for sins committed. There is almost a revolutionary feel to this film, even though stop motion has been a part of animation's long history, but Mad God strikes the screen in a way that still feels unique to any other films using this style of animation. The creature designs are so varied and confronting, with monsters, demons and deformed hybrids popping up everywhere, lurking in the shadows. There is always a constant filling of tension throughout the film as its darkness, both literally and thematically, relishes in its overwhelming sense of horror.


The Assassin’s journey allows the audience to experience body-horror in a way that feels more disturbing as an animation. Perhaps desensitisation of modern torture-porn is in effect here, but scenes of dolls and clay being dismantled somehow provides more of an ‘ick’ factor than if this story was told in a real-life format.


There is a narrative to Mad God, but one that is slow burning and devoid of exposition, which at times can make you wonder what the point of the film is. Its pacing is also affected by this as some scenarios are more engaging (code for: disturbing) than others. However, that almost feels like the point in the end, this is a vehicle for an iconic visual effects artist to fully let loose on his creative escapades, and make a film that feels so outside of the ‘Hollywood mould’, that it’s hard to deny how much fun it really is!

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