Mad God is the recent stop-motion epic from Phil Tippett, who is primarily known for his creature design and visual effects work on a ton of very popular blockbusters. With a range that consists of Robocop, Indiana Jones, Star Warsand even Jurassic Park; you know that the guy knows what he’s doing in the realm of VFX, and Mad God is no exception. It’s a truly magical dystopian nightmare filled with all sorts of amazing visual effects, atmospheric sets, and monstrous creature design. This may only be one of the few films Tippett has directed, but it feels like he has been working this craft for years. Well, actually he has been working at this for a very long time as the film is a true labor of love, taking over a whopping 30 years to produce.
Mad God has swiftly become the most popular 2022 premiere on Shudder and it is highly deserved. The film is truly something special that could only be spawned from the mind of Tippett. If you found yourself enjoying Mad Godthen here are some more examples of spooky animated films that consist of dystopian worlds, visually striking animated styles, and of course, great creature design.
If you ever saw 9 as a child, you know exactly how creepy this film is. Following a puppet who comes to life in the mists of a post-apocalyptic world that is crawling with fearsome mechanical beasts. 9, however, discovers that he is not alone when he meets others like him.
This film checks all the boxes when it comes to similar elements to appreciate from Mad Godthat being an apocalyptic world, cool creatures, and an interesting story of a protagonist that has to deal with their frightening surroundings.
If there’s one thing this film shares with Mad God, it’s that they both have weird and wonderful creature designs. As the title suggests, Cryptozoo is all about a special zoo that holds a wide variety of exotic and rare cryptid species such as majestic pegasuses and giant serpents the size of towers.
The film’s style is best described as an animated version of Jurassic Park… on drugs. It’s a very psychedelic experience, but one that is entirely worth it. If you found yourself loving the creatures in Mad Godthen definitely check this film out as it has some truly fascinating and mind-boggling visuals and designs.
‘The Dark Crystal’ (1982)
On the surface, The Dark Crystal seems like it would be a film that children can enjoy, and that’s mostly the case despite having some very frightening moments sprinkled in. The Dark Crystal tells the story of a highly detailed fantasy world where a Gelflng goes on a quest to stop an evil race of creatures known as the Skekis from exploiting a magical crystal for evil.
While the film does tell a basic hero’s journey story, the highly detailed world and characters entirely make up for this. The film is a whimsical and joyous experience that is highly aided by the style of master puppeteer Jim Henson.
‘Fantastic Planet’ (1973)
What if there was a world where humans weren’t the predominant species? What would our lives be like? How would we survive? Well, Fantastic Planet answers all those questions and much more. Showcasing a bizarre planet dominated by an alien species called the ‘Draags’ who enslave human beings and treat them like pets.
The main aspect that Fantastic Planet shares with Mad God is its thrilling world-building and creepy animation. The character design in Fantastic Planet is ridiculous, yet sometimes haunting, with imagery that could leave you bursting out with laughter or giving you horrid nightmares. The film does really go into depth about this “fantastic planet” and represents all the planet’s odd species, factions, and cultural tendencies. The film succeeds in creating a unique environment and uses this to spread a genuine reflection on mankind.
‘Junk Head’ (2017)
Junk Head shares a lot of similarities to Mad God. They both have grand apocalyptic worlds consisting of many divergent descending layers; horrifying and engrossing creature design, and of course, very artistic stop-motion animation. With all this, Junk Head tells the story of a distant future overrun by all sorts of different robots, cyborgs, and organisms. Humans are a dying species due to their longevity but the inability to reproduce.
The story behind Junk Head’s release is also very similar to Mad God’s. Director Takahide Hori pretty much carried the whole production of this film all by himself. Not only did he direct and write the film, but he also provides many of the voices for the characters, sculpted many of the puppets, edited, shot, and even composed the music for the film all by himself. This film shares a very similar background as well as stylistic flair to Mad Godand anyone who is a fan of that should see this one as soon as they can.
From the wild mind of Ralph Bakshi, Wizards is a strange post-apocalyptic science-fiction fantasy about a battle between two wizards of opposing powers. One of which supports the power of magic, and the other, the power of technology. The film shares a very similar chaotic style to Mad God in a future version of Earth that has been decimated by a nuclear war and is now overrun by fantastical beings.
The film is fueled with Bakshi’s signature inappropriate and wacky style. The film does consist of a lot of very offensive aspects that most people might be turned off by, but if you can accept this film as a weird and insulting product of its time then you might just have a very joyous experience watching it.
‘The Wolf House’ (2018)
The Wolf House is a criminally underrated stop-motion animated film presented in such an unbelievably fascinating style. The Chilean horror film is made up of an entirely unique style of stop-motion which includes moving paintings and the creation and destruction of homemade sculptures. The film tells a twisted version of the classic ‘three little pigs’ tale and follows a girl who escapes a frantically religious German commune and takes refuge in a shelter within the woods.
This is yet another passion project, as the directors took over 5 years to make the film. It might not be as long of a commitment as the 30-year production of Mad Godbut The Wolf House is still such a stylized film that you can tell a tremendous amount of effort went into creating it.
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