Fantastic Fest Review: ‘Mad God’ is a trip into a deranged nightmare. Do with that information what you will.

I don’t even know where to begin. Phil Tippett, a genuine living legend, has been working on Mad God in some way, shape, or form for literal decades. Conceived in the 1980s, shelved in the 1990s, and resurrected in the 2010s with the help of Kickstarter, the release of this film is the culmination of untold hours of artistry and technical wizardry. It features the kind of stop motion animation and compositing that we haven’t seen the likes of in ages.

Also, it is disturbing, disgusting, and deranged, and I can’t tell if I mean that in a good way, even if I don’t exactly mean it in a bad way.

The story, such as it is, follows a man (I think) as he descends into a ruined hellscape of a world. He passes mutants and abominations and horrors that he intends to destroy with a bomb.

I can’t tell you what any of it means. I can’t tell you if it’s rich in metaphor or just the ramblings of a gifted artist, but if you can buy into the visuals (which, fucked up or not, are incredibly impressive), then there is a lot to appreciate.

Mad God

Phil Tippett, the man, is indeed a legend. Without him, we wouldn’t have a host of classic films as we know them today. He is responsible for visual effects on films like the original Star Wars trilogy, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Dragonslayer, RoboCop, and Jurassic Park, to name just a few. The level of technical brilliance and experience on display in Mad God is on a scale hitherto undreamt of.

The only problem is that it’s a nightmare.

Mad God will not be for everyone. In fact, I am not even really sure who it is for at all outside of film nerd circles. Still, if you are in those circles or a fan of old school effects or stop motion animation, this is one not to miss. If you’re not in those circles, well, I have no idea what to tell you except that it will be memorable.

Mad God played as part of Fantastic Fest 2021.

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