It took 30 years to create Phil Tippett’s new film “Mad God”, and the story of its creation is a wild story. Tippett’s work is highly regarded in the film industry, for example, in the original Star Wars trilogy, where he helped develop animation for tauntowns and imperial AT-AT walkers. He helped the companies Industrial Lights & Magic and Dreamworks and founded his own company Tippett Studio in 1984. Tippett also directed the animation of Jurassic Park, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 1994.
“Mad God” is a frame–by-frame animated horror film about a masked character named Killer. The film tells about the journey of a Murderer through nightmarish landscapes, which, in turn, are inhabited by grotesque and monstrous creatures. “Mad God” is something unique, because there are almost no dialogues in it, and a certain story does not necessarily drive the film. Throughout Mad God, it’s clear that the film is less interested in presenting a narrative and more in immersing the viewer in a nightmarish world.
It took 30 years to create Mad God, primarily because of its status as Tippett’s passion project, which he has worked on only intermittently for the past three decades. Tippett painstakingly created the world of the Mad God in between working on other films, such as creating giant alien insects for Starship Troopers, and he officially began filming the Mad God while working on Robocop 2. the audience was something that Tippett thought he couldn’t sell to studios back in the 90s -a time when advanced computer graphics were on the rise. Thus, until recently, Tippett shelved the project for the better part of 30 years.
Tippett learned about significant advances in computer animation while working on the set of Jurassic Park, which influenced his decision to restrain the Mad God. Originally invited to Jurassic Park to use his “moving forward” visual effects technique, which he first applied in the movie “Dragon Slayer” to create dinosaur effects, director Steven Spielberg instead decided to use animated dinosaur footage from Jurassic Park CGI created in ILM. This largely contributed to Tippett believing that computer animation had completely replaced frame-by-frame animation, and as a result, “Mad God” was postponed.
After props from Tippett’s original work on “Mad God” from the 90s surfaced in 2010, Tippett’s team encouraged him to finish the film, and work on the film resumed with the help of teams of volunteers working on weekends. A Kickstarter campaign was launched to pay for the production, exceeding the initial $40,000 fundraising amount and going on to raise $124,156 for the film in 2012. Tippett’s attention to detail thanks to his frame—by-frame animation ensured that “Mad God” was definitely worth the wait-and acting. as a prime example of Tippett’s exceptional animation talents.