"Mad God is a true exercise in dark movie magic on a scale we’re not likely to see again for a long time and a testament to the craft of effects work that has become very rare in our digitized world."
- Branden Mayer
Mad God is cinema effects legend Phil Tippett’s passion project that has been in and out of production since the early 90s. The decades spent on this project are apparent in every frame and while it may be an uncomfortable ride for many, Mad God is certainly a singular effort that is destined to be passed around art school dorm rooms for the foreseeable future.
The film follows “the Assassin”, a leather clad, gas-masked man riding a phone booth sized tube down worlds below the literal under-world on a dubious mission. It is hard to properly summarize the narrative beyond this, as Tippett is constantly playing with scale, time and narrative structure in Mad God, pulling us into his dialogue-free world deeper and deeper and then suddenly jerking us out into a cosmic theatre, only to pull us back in again. The easiest thing to say is that this is certainly not a humanist fable; Tippet’s world is very literally drenched in defecation, blood and burnt hair and the closest we get to dialogue is distorted baby-babble. Everything is decidedly ugly, malformed, distorted and endlessly so, leaving a profound sense of hopelessness and circular thinking.
This is not to say Mad God is a bad time, it’s actually quite a bit of fun. Tippett has brought a lot of humour to the proceedings, which keeps the film from feeling like a lecture and more of a twisted carnival. The hilariously cheap value of life in this film is mined for physical comedy as much as it is for meditation. The lack of dialogue or page-perfect Hollywood structure keeps you glued to the screen as this magnificently crafted world pulls itself apart and back together again. The amount of pain-staking creative work is staggering and aside from a select few live-action sequences, the world is seamlessly rendered.
Mad God is a true exercise in dark movie magic on a scale we’re not likely to see again for a long time and a testament to the craft of effects work that has become very rare in our digitized world. It’s a terrifically terrifying ride we won’t forget any time soon. Mad God had it’s North American premiere at Fantasia Festival on Sunday, August 22nd, 2021 and will be available to stream again on-demand for 24 hours starting Tuesday, August 24th from 9am. If you love practical effects and have a strong gut, we recommend you check it out right away.