Based on the trailer and its almost mythical status as Oscar-winning animator and special effects supervisor Phil Tippett †Jurassic ParkStarship Troopers, Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back) has been worked on for three decadesDo you perhaps have an idea of what awaits you while watching crazy god† Ditch that idea, because this movie is much more dazzling and disturbing than you ever imagined.
crazy god is mostly stop-motion animation mixed with live action, and it takes place in intricately detailed, precisely lit sets and characters that represent a breathtaking array of textures (rattling industrial machines; squishy, visceral organic tissue) and proportions (of seemingly huge to the tiniest), with special effects and a terrifying, carefully calibrated soundscape that amplifies the action. The film opens with a particularly menacing passage from Leviticus (“If you disobey me…your land will be devastated and your cities a ruin”), which sets the stage for the ruthless, monster-populated world we’ve already found ourselves in. dip quickly. If you’re looking for a lot of plot, crazy god isn’t going to live up to – it’s extremely experimental in its narrative approach, and its main focus is filling your eyeballs with horrifying, freaky, often strangely beautiful imagery.
That said, there is a story – one told without dialogue – to shape this visual feast. Early on we meet the helmet-clad and gas-masked “Assassin”, and he becomes a sort of guide through crazy god‘s multi-layered realm. He carries two things: a map that starts to crumble with each unfolding, and a bomb; at some point it becomes clear that he wants to destroy this horrible, devastated place to its foundations. As you might surmise, given the incredibly hostile environment it is in, the mission encounters some difficulties – and that’s when we hit some of the crazy god‘s other characters, including “The Surgeon” and “The Nurse,” are more concerned with mutilation than medicine. Body horror rendered in gory, glittering stop-motion animation, with a few surreal twists to anticipate but completely unprepared for? come on, crazy god has stuff to show you. A new Assassin on his own journey will be introduced soon, as will the “Last Man” with long nails; he is played by Alex Cox, who is not new to acting but is best known for directing cult movies from the 80s Repo Man and Sid and Nancy†
And again, as gross as they can get, the visual aspects of crazy god are the main reason to immerse yourself in the filthy world – a little steampunk, a little Ray Harryhausen goes Grand Guignol, unafraid to mix a moment of sparkly neon splendor with a pile of twisting maggots, and completely original from top to bottom down. You can see why it took 30 years to complete Tippett! The bleak story and almost overwhelming atmosphere of existential dread can also feel unforgiving, save for a few pockets of dark humor, but crazy god is an undeniable artistic achievement. It’s also a good reminder that animation is an art form in itself, not just a means of transportation for entertainment for children† Let’s say you absolutely want to keep all but the most seasoned kids out of here.
crazy god is now streaming on Shudder.
Want more io9 news? See when to expect the last one miracle and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on Film and TVand everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power†