A longer post on Mad God
One of the things I didnt realize I did to cope with trauma was to imagine even more fucked up worlds and scenarios in my head. I think to make the real world less harsh in comparison? But also a fantasy world that reflected parts of my reality of hopelessness, unfairness, cruelty, being trapped, etc. And also in these fantasy worlds, characters escaping and enduring. But also: suffering, a whole lot of suffering.
I don’t think Phil Tippet is using the film to exercise these demons or whatever but it’s certainly in line with some of the stuff I imagine. On an aesthetic level it’s much more different. I think the inherit, endless, and senseless cruelty is there. I think Wayne Barlowe’s Hades/Hell illustrations also come from a similar creative vein. The world is super fucked up, therefore, I will make a super fucked up world because it’s the only thing that makes sense. I think in imagining these worlds you sort of are also, technically, the god of them. Phil is the god of this world and decides what happens, ultimately. So I think this is where the title comes from.
There is a scene like this too in the later part of the film, with that one robed gnome character that has the terrarium. It’s the one pleasant place in the film. He releases a bunch of worms for the mushroom(?) people to eat, then flips a switch for a predator to come in and eat one of them, cackling the whole time.
My interpretation of the baby thing is that it’s a metaphor for one’s inner child. (It’s a child inside the Assassin, ergo…) and when the world finds your inner child it’s only a resource to be exploited, ground up into nothing and turned into literal dust. That is how my career in a creative industry feels like! At least! You use a lot of childhood creativity and imagination to draw from in order to produce something, the world sees this as something to exploit, because they seem to know you want to express yourself so bad you’ll endure whatever.
There is a scene where one of the Lint(?) worker figures is standing over a fire pit, burning up, and their body falls in. And there’s a line of them going in one after another, and I was like “yeah that’s me”. It’s such an apt metaphor for burnout.
I also think Tippet just wants to make gross things because there’s a little childhood fascination with gross things like crawling things and slime, and he didn’t let go of it. One thing that brought me to this was the (depiction of monster) Screaming monster with boobs for testicles that pooped a lot. Which at first made me gasp with how grotesque it was but then I was like “actually this is so gross it’s almost funny”. This is totally a monster someone would draw in a notebook in middle school but now painstakingly brought to full life and realized on screen.
Also the scene where the doctor is cutting up the assassin and splashing blood on the ceiling wraps around from being grotesque to cartoon funny? The medical people wearing crocs, again, is just funny to me. There’s little bits and pieces of the real world that show up in the film which I don’t mind.
One of the Letterboxd reviews said something like “God gives us a map that falls apart” and I was thinking “yeah, he sure does”