Celluloid Screams Review: Mad God

Some films are a long time coming. It’s not unusual for a filmmaker to have a passion project. Something they spend years, if no decades, trying to bring to fruition. Often driven by a desire or even obsession to make it that cannot be adequately articulated by words. For Phil Tippett it all began back in the late 1980s. The award-winning visual effects artist shelved the project for a decade but found new impetus and finally brings Mad God to life. Thirty years later.

An assassin is lowered from the sky in his coffin-shaped ship through an avalanche of bullets. Dressed in a steampunk outfit, we know nothing about our mercurial voyager other than the fact he’s on some kind of mission. His journey takes him deep into the underworld where he encounters a vision of Hell. On his quest he witnesses a myriad of infernal visions and discovers a man (Alex Cox) who is seemingly pulling the strings in the background.

Above all, Mad God is a momentous work of creative genius. The amount of care and attention on show is mind-blowing. Mixing stop motion, puppetry and live action, Tippett has taken inspiration from the darker aspects of his career. There’s not much plot as such, aside from a central message, but your attention will be focussed entirely on each shot. It does struggle to go the length but Mad God is an inventive and audacious descent into the underworld.

Mad God screened at Celluloid Screams.

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