People throw the word “visionary” around, but unless you’ve envisioned a sentient blob with undulating udders stomping on mummies, you’ve hardly earned the distinction. Animation and special effects legend Phil Tippett is finally getting the chance to widen the scope of his cinematic vision: Mad God, his stop-motion-animated monstrosity of a feature directorial debut over 30 years in the making, finally arrives on Shudder next month.
The Oscar and Emmy award-winning Tippett is best known for his pioneering effects in Jurassic Park, Robocop, and Star Wars films. Fans of his dazzlingly innovative and bizarre designs include Steven Spielberg, Paul Verhooven, and Guillermo Del Toro—the latter calling him “the man of a thousand creatures.” Judging by the exclusive, newly released Mad God trailer, the writer-director has released all “thousand” of them into one fantastically macabre, eye-poppingly twisted hellscape. Fun!
Here’s the film’s logline:
Mad God is an experimental animated film set in a world of monsters, mad scientists and war pigs. A corroded diving bell descends amidst a ruined city, settling down upon an ominous fortress guarded by zombie-like sentries. The Assassin emerges to explore a labyrinth of bizarre, desolate landscapes inhabited by freakish denizens. Through unexpected twists and turns, he experiences an evolution beyond his wildest comprehension. A labour of love that has taken 30 years to complete, Mad God combines live-action and stop-motion, miniature sets and other innovative techniques to bring Tippett’s wholly unique and grotesquely beautiful vision to life.
Screenings of Tippet’s magnum opus had horror and animation cinephiles foaming at the mouth last year; at Locarno Film Festival, Fantastic Fest, and others, it earned the sorts of awards that signal an instant cult classic. In The A.V. Club’s review, we called Mad God “an act of creation that’s not hemmed in by any conventional rules of storytelling.”
Stream Mad God on Shudder on June 16 to see for yourself.