You might not know the name of Phil Tippett, but you certainly know his work. For 30 years, this Oscar-winning visual effects artist has been working on passionate projects. That fans can finally see at festivals. He is a well-known creature designer who builds amazing creatures.
In the films like the Piranha, Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi, RoboCop, and the Jurassic Park. As Hollywood moved away from the practical effects of computer graphics. Tippett adapted, but his heart was always on stop-motion animation. But be warned: the crazy God Tippet is a dark, unknown ghost and more you can dream of.
While impressive in their descent, this whole style can leave you wanting more content.
Tippett has written and directed the Mad God and it is a violent revolt. Against the Hollywood films built by his reputation. Combining stop-motion animation and stunning live performances.
He creates an experimental film with no dialogue, no character names, and an actual plot. So his directorial debut was not a narrator but a plunge into the darkest corners of inside of his imagination.
Our guide on this journey is a really mysterious figure whose face is hidden behind a gas mask. No facial expression would convey his emotions at any point. Her wardrobe, a cyberpunk mix of metal, rubber and leather that covers her from head to toe. It warns us that the world around her is toxic.
Descending into a rusty diving bell, he sinks deeper and deeper. Into a hellish landscape that has erupted from evil, violence, monsters and dirt. Incompatible with the unnamed hero’s heavy protective gear is his tight briefcase, which suggests he’s a man on a mission.
Disappointingly, this mission went from obscure to completely insignificant in no time. From there, the mad God moves indiscriminately through the world of horror.
A tangle of vignettes shows brief but brutal glimpses of a narratively empty world but overflowing with detail. Scenes of domestic massacres take place in wayang kulit. The reckless food chain is opened by creatures. Who seem to have escaped from a completely different genre film only to become flesh.
The monsters were filled with throbbing boils, sagging breasts, and bulging buttocks. In general, this wretched world seems to be inhabited by every whimsical sketch. That a studio manager has ever rejected or deemed too shocking for mass film audiences.
Mad God is a feast for the eyes, but rotten.
The surface is shining with slime. The creatures had short, stiff, unwashed hair. Blood and blood did not fall in a spray but a spectacular explosion. This harsh world is so layered with a texture that you feel like. You can stretch it and run your fingers through it. Even with such a dirty and unwanted production design (also by Tippett), who would?
While intentionally disgusting, the animation within is a beautiful celebration of stopping traffic. Tippett and his team skillfully apply the physical characteristics of these creatures. Whether pulling, rushing or sliding, everyone feels heaviness in their movement. Which makes even the most surreal animals feel real on screen. So much so that if a lifelike actor sneaks into the mix. You can double-check to see if they’re human or puppet.
This disgusting visual chaos is amplified by a disturbing sound design. None of the characters speaks in the traditional sense. Many will cry, gasp, ring the doorbell, or woo. Most of the soundscape is hoarse or wild.
However, given the hellish context, a baby’s repeated creaks and screams can be the most haunting sound. Meanwhile, the bloated score feels like a tear from an ’80s horror film. Where the chorus sings eerily. While piano and percussion beats in an ominous frenzy. It all ended in a fuel line fit for a nightmare.
The goal is to fend off the mad God.
Tippett bragged about the outings during the preview, where viewers complained that the film was giving them “a fright attack”. But what is the message of his masterpiece? I’m not sure he has. Mad God is less interested in incoherence than experience.
What you bring from this swamp of slaughter and creation is up to you. Tippett seems happy to throw his subconscious on the screen and call it a day. As much as it’s worth, in the same interview, he suggested that some substances could help him get his waves. “I’d recommend taking a tire, smoking weed. Drinking a bottle of wine. or carry a bag of vomit. to watch it.”