An absolute masterpiece, unlike anything you’ve ever seen, “Mad God” may not be an easy watch, but it’s a hell of a rewarding one.
Mad God is an avant-garde animated horror from the mind of special FX legend Phil Tippett, whose credits include Star Wars, Robocop, and Jurassic Park.
Phil Tippett’s horrific animation is a disturbing, surreal, industrial hellscape that feels like what would have happened if Jim Henson had taken the bad LSD while making Labyrinth. The general feeling of the film moves between melancholy, tragic, disturbing, and truly intense.
Mad God starts by following a character called the assassin as he descends further and further into a post-apocalyptic underworld inhabited by unique and horrifying monsters. He follows a crumbling map as his journey takes him further into the depths of this nightmare world.
What transpires from there is an assault on the senses that will leave you dumbfounded by just how nihilistic an experimental animated film can be.
Produced over a period of thirty years, Mad God is a labor of love for Tippett and a phenomenal feat of stop-motion animation.
After Tippett began making the film, it got shelved. Years later, it is said that he was convinced to return to it. I’m so glad that he did revisit the project to see it through to completion, as it is like nothing else I’ve ever seen.
During its eighty-three-minute runtime, the viewer is subjected to many uncomfortable sights and sounds, making MAD GOD feel almost like an endurance test, as well as a macabre work of art.
There is no dialogue in the film, and the score by Dan Wool mixes various styles and techniques to create an unsettling cacophony that marries beautifully with the imagery on screen.
The hand-crafted creatures and monsters are truly the stuff of nightmares; in all my years of watching horror, I have never seen anything like some of the beasts on display here.
Although entirely unique, if I had to make any comparisons to Mad God, I would say that some of it brought up memories of seeing Jan Svankmajer’s work for the first time. I’d even go so far as to say that some of the symbolism in Mad God reminded me of The Holy Mountain by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Of course, the most obvious comparison to make would be to Ray Harryhausen simply because of the masterful visual effects throughout.
Considering the bleak tone of the film, the experimental nature, and the difficult viewing experience, Mad God actually feels like it would appeal to quite a broad audience. From people who like to take deep dives into film music and sound to stop-motion enthusiasts all the way to more casual film watchers who just want to see something completely different, there is something for everyone in Mad God.
Guaranteed to leave a mark on you, this is a truly unforgettable and original film that demands to be experienced.