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’Mad God’ review: Dir. Phil Tippett [Celluloid Screams]

Mad God was reviewed at Celluloid Screams. 

Phill Tippett has had a vast career in the film industry. Primarily known for his talents as a visual effects artist, Tippett has now turned his attention to directing. It’s not a recent development however, just the opposite in fact, as Tippett’s feature debut Mad God has actually been in production in one guise or another for over thirty years. Mad God first began life after Tippett had wrapped on Robocop 2 back in 1987. It wasn’t until the mid-2000’s that things got serious, and after a successful Kickstarter campaign, Mad God was thrust into life. 

Weird and wonderfully surreal, there’s no real way to explain the narrative as Mad God is much more a film that is about the viewing experience. The long gestation and creative process has paved the way for a more fluid narrative structure with scene bleeding into scene before switching to something entirely different. With no audible or decipherable dialogue, and being almost entirely stop-motion animation and puppet work, Mad God is not a film for the masses. Its strange construction does not make it the most accessible prospect for the casual film-watcher, but those with a passion for cinema will appreciate the work offered. The truth of the story and the through-road to the narrative is the kind that reveals itself upon repeat viewings as during the initial sitting, the audience will be distracted by the madness unfolding on screen. 

Although a traditional story structure may be absent, in Mad God Tippett has incredible sights to show you. Mad God features some viscerally grotesque imagery which, despite its animated form, still manages to churn the stomach. The colour palette and setting are an oppressive mixture of 1984 and steampunk, making for a visually striking movie. The rusty dirty tones help create the sensation of having stepped into a terrifying Hellish landscape full of creepy and confronting creatures. This bleak autumnal landscape gets a sudden injection of bright, almost neon, colours toward the end. It’s a shock to the senses, but that doesn’t mean that things are going to get better as these vibrant images are still marred by maggots. 

Mad God is the culmination of not only Tippett’s hard work and dedication, but that of his team too. One sequence featuring a mountain of dead soldiers was actually brought to life through the melting of thousands of small army men, taking a team of six, three years to complete. These labour intensive tasks work to build a mesmerising world that is a real feast for the eyes. The score, from Dan Wool, is superb, which is handy given Mad God’s silent nature. Wool’s work is a hypnotic and trance-inducing whirlpool of noise that almost acts as a calming balm to the disturbing scenes on screen. If the pictures get too much, the viewer can shut their eyes and still have a fantastic experience, Wool’s score taking them on a beautifully rich aural journey all on its own. 

Abstract and arty, Mad God is a film that deserves its own gallery installation. It’s a movie that won’t capture the attention of everyone, but for those willing to take on something unusual and that enjoy a challenge, Mad God offers plenty of bewilderingly, delightful and above all, disturbing sights. 

Mad God

Kat Hughes



A painstaking work of art brought into being through passion and sheer force of will, Mad God has moments of lunacy, instances of genius, and plenty to fuel future bad dreams. 


Mad God was reviewed at Celluloid Screams. 

Kat Hughes is a UK born film critic and interviewer who has a passion for horror films. An editor for THN, Kat is also a Rotten Tomatoes Approved Critic. She has bylines with Ghouls Magazine, Arrow Video, Film Stories, Certified Forgotten and FILMHOUNDS and has had essays published in home entertainment releases by Vinegar Syndrome and Second Sight. When not writing about horror, Kat hosts micro podcast Movies with Mummy along with her five-year-old daughter.


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