I rarely play video games and am really not a fan of computer animation. I know, it is amazing. I just don’t like the way it looks. In 2012, most movies, if not all, have some element of CG. It’s become commonplace. I’ve begrudgingly gotten used to it and it doesn’t take me out of the story as much as it used to. Still, I feel the stories overall have suffered, dwindled to nearly nothing in favor of fast action and flashy, over polished digitoons.
Imagine my surprise when the newest film to skyrocket to the top of my ‘must own’ list turned out to be entirely computer animated. Not the slick, fuzzy, motion blur kind either. No, no, this is crude, jumpy, early Silent Hill stuff.
And it got to me. It works. For this movie, it works in a way that no other style could.
The story, comprised of three parts, is the star of the show here. It takes us through the most depraved corners of childhood into an adult world where we are all murderers and victims, plagued by spirits and monsters. Then it turns around and takes us back into a childhood where all the same is true beneath a mask of innocence.
From a pregnant mother demon fingering the eye-laden conduit inside of her emerging infant’s head, to horrible creatures who demand liquid memories to be drawn from the dying to faceless bloody children holding hands and dancing around a mass of tentacles erupting from the ground, Where The Dead Go To Die (written, directed, & animated by Jimmy ScreamerClauz) is the one to beat.
This is top of the line horror, my friends. I challenge you to find something more disturbing on the market this year. Voiced by rising genre favorites Brandon Slagle, Ruby LaRocca and Devanny Pinn, as well as a special appearance by Linnea Quigley, this occult video object is the heaviest dose of brain damage and nightmare to come along in quite some time. It is just dripping with red integrity.
Really, the only problem with this film is that it is something of a wallow in woe. There is no joy here for the casual viewer. The only source of laughter comes from the absurdity of horror and then, only in short, uncomfortable bursts.
Then again, this is not a film for a casual viewer.
This film is not safe.
The intrepid horror fan will be mesmerized by the bizarre imagery of twitching shadows with eyeball heads and too red mouths, the surreal bestiality, the overflowing orifices, the oozing violence and debauchery.
The experienced psychonaut, however, will notice something more. Where The Dead Go To Die is akin to an occult conversation with a dark soul on the plight of the Black Adept. To toss some metaphors around, there are lessons to be learned here about the Nightside of Eden, explorations of the Tree of Daath, the Qliphothic Tunnels, the spaces between. Even good ol’ Azrael (the Hebrew angel of death with an eye for every soul in the world) finds as true a representation here as in any of the werks of Alex Gray. It is a cornucopic psychedelia of grotesque catastrophy. The tone of the images will hold a sense of familiarity for those who have ‘been there’, although the psych mimetic style in which they are presented is entirely Mr. ScreamerClauz’s own.
More than any film I have seen in recent memory, Where The Dead Go To Die demands interaction, causing you to question the nature of what it is you are actually experiencing and think about it long after it is over.
Jimmy isn’t just showing you a movie. He’s talking to you.
Arthur Cullipher studied advanced effects make-up and prosthetics at the Joe Blasco school in Orlando, Florida. Arthur Cullipher is the founder of Clockwerk Pictures. He is a Dollmaker, Filmmaker, Actor, Writer, Special Effects Artist, Fire Performer, Philosopher, Magician and many other things for which there are not names. Arthur is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival in Bloomington, Indiana. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)