MAD GOD (2021)

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Mad God

MAD GOD (2021)
Written and Directed by Phil Tippett
Available on digital, DVD and Blu-Ray

The Assassin travels through a nightmare underworld of tortured souls, ruined cities and wretched monstrosities forged from the primordial horrors of the unconscious mind of Phil Tippett, the world’s preeminent stop-motion animator.

Thirty years in the making, award-winning animation MAD GOD makes its way to digital, DVD and Blu-Ray following its premiere on Shudder where it hit the top of charts of being the most watched premiere of 2022. Not content with winning awards at Fantasia Film Festival and Sitges, it has garnered praise from critics and filmmakers alike, such as director Guillermo del Toro.

To make a 85 minute film using stop motion animation techniques is no mean feat. The nightmarescapes that have been created are both difficult to watch yet hard to pry your eyes away from, as hideous, mutant creatures unleash their savagery upon others, their tortured victims crying out in pain. If there’s a hell, I’d assume it’d look a lot like this dystopian, post-apocalyptic landscape.

MAD GOD is clearly a labour of love and relishes taking the viewer out of their comfort zone. There’s no dialogue to speak of in the film, but the narrative can be followed of sorts through the actions of our gas-masked protagonist, The Assassin, who’s gone down to this hellish underworld on a mission. We follow him as he dodges all the guards and inhabitants who call this disturbing environment home, as he attempts to reach his destination as marked on his decaying map. However, things don’t go according to plan.

The lack of a coherent plot can be quite jarring but if you watch simply to appreciate the filmmaking style, then you’ll be able to appreciate this movie in a different way. Interpreting the scenes in front of you and letting the images flood your brain is much better way to experience the film.

It takes a special human to conjure up this kind of madness. It’s brilliant yet frightening at the same time, with such brutality on display. Throw in a fistful of sexuality, slavery and sacrifice, and MAD GOD is what you end up with.

Phil Tippett and his team have gone to painstaking detail with MAD GOD with incredible work, not just on the animation and the environments, but also the lighting, use of shadow and the sound to really make this macabre labyrinth come alive. Whether it’s the churning of the mechanical devices, the splatter of guts being thrown against the floor, the haunting cries of a baby in distress or the way the shadows move across the light of an open cell door, MAD GOD makes you sit up and appreciate every single one of them. I also like how real-life actors are also introduced but done so in a way that fits in with the stop-motion style and the doesn’t feel out of place amongst the model-work.

I’ve never seen anything quite like MAD GOD and probably won’t ever again. It’s a breed apart and its genius has to be appreciated by lovers of cinema. It’s a haunting, gory nightmare, embracing the surreal and fantasy elements that the horror, fantasy and sci-fi genre offers, placing it in a league of its own.

MAD GOD isn’t for everyone and may not be enjoyed in the same way you might your usual animations, but there’s certainly a lot to appreciate here.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

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About Bat 4417 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.

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