Mad God (2021) Director: Phil Tippett Starring: Alex Cox, Niketa Roman, Satish Ratakonda, Harper Taylor .UK. 1h 23m
It’s beautiful when an artist manages to present their life works, their magnum opus, their artistic love child piece, and finally after 30 years of on and off graft Phil Tippett was able to, with the help of Shudder , unleash Mad God onto the world and it hit the scene gaining nothing by admiration and rightly so.
The beauty of the film is its unrelenting uneasiness, the horror and gore are united with random scenes of majestic beauty but Tippett will never let us forget that nothing is fair and justice is mere luck. With a crooked blend of Terry Pratchet styled story telling of an aAlice in Wonderland world going through its own Revelations, littered with creatures that were born from Clive Barker and Lovecraft, there’s a lot to marvel at.
The film is primarily Stop Motion with scattered acting seamlessly blended in. But the story is about an anonymous assassin who embarks on a near impossible mission. Masked and dressed to stroll in an apocalyptic world, this highly trained, silent assassin is lowered into this nightmarish “world” in a steampunk diving bell. Later on we discover that the man controlling the bell is no other than Alex Cox and it’s such a pleasure to see him involved in this phamtasamorpgical nightmare, as from the opening scene it feels like a movie he would champion on his Moviedrome.
Each chapter introduces its audience into a different stylised world featuring new and different creatures, a hierarchy of pain and misery, the only constants are that nothing is sympathy and once you enter no real way out. Some worlds are hellish lands with piles of bodies and trash, others like a war zone, or are simply a medical experiment laboratory. A few places look incredibly devine and darkly beautiful, maybe that’s the goth in me? But all harbor physical pain and what looks to be personified mental trauma.
If Mad God is about anything, it’s about scale and process…That’s the backbone. It’s much more pictorially and sound-art-oriented than a typical Hollywood theatrical feature.
Everything about the mission is top secret and while Tippett does reveal a solid ending, it’s still easy to still have your own personal philosophy about the movie’s narrative, but no matter what you come up with, you can’t deny that this is truly a unique piece of cynical art.
All life seems to be meaningless in Mad God, it’s not just a matter of life ends, there’s a magnifying glass over the struggles, the pain and anguish, but to see it translated in fully realized in moving art might trigger a few people. For all the grossness, body fluids and torture it might take you a while to realise it’s a personal journey that we’re all taggin along for a ride. Maybe the 30 years timeline was to give Tippett enough room to regain some mental sanity, but I totally salute him for the precious gift he’s presented us with.
Related: Fellini Satyricon (1969), Street of Crocodiles
Lists: Stop Motion Feature Length Movies
Spotlight: Alex Cox,