After all the talk we have done about Halo-8’s debut “illustrated film” “GODKILLER: WALK AMONG US” it feels like the story has been floating around for years, not just months. However, last month marked the release of the film on demand, and if you are living in one of the states that are lucky enough to get a theatrical viewing of the film you can take advantage of that as well. However, for those of you who don’t have access to these things you can make the jump and read the entire first two issues (episodes if you keep up with the animated version) for FREE! Also beyond the break you can find our lengthy review of the entire “WALK AMONG US” film. Read on for the skinny.
There are certain stories that come along every few years that challenge viewers, readers, and the world in ways that are almost so shockingly in your face that it is hard to process upon the first viewing. A perfect example of this would be Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of “A Clockwork Orange” which was a sweeping narrative that encompassed many of the social issues that were plaguing the country at the time. Of course in doing so it sent many critics into an uproar, and even though the film was received with great praise it was also shunned by the general public for its graphic depiction of rape and violence. So when I sat down to watch “Godkiller: Walk Among Us” I could imagine myself being one of those critics who watched “A Clockwork Orange” for the first time and was so totally turned off by the images that were being thrown at me that I was ready to turn the television off and call it an early night. Luckily for me though (and unlike them) I am already so desensitized that I can look past things like characters named “Angelf**k” and transsexual’s raping young men and see the bigger picture.
“Godkiller: Walk Among us” is the first series of “illustrated films” to come from Halo-8 Entertainment, a company owned and operated by talented filmmaker Matt Pizzolo who might be best known for his Indy hit (though more of an underground following) “Threat”. An “illustrated film” is most comparable to a motion comic, but superior in every way. There is a uniquely cinematic experience to be had while watching “Walk Among Us” that involves intricate animations and a full voice cast of some of horrors most recognizable faces. The all star cast features Danielle Harris (“Halloween 4/5”, “Rob Zombie’s Halloween 1 & 2”), Bill Moseley (“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2”, “House Of 1000 Corpses”, “The Devil’s Rejects”), Lance Henrikson (“Pumpkinhead”, “Aliens”, “Near Dark”), Nicki Clyne (“Battlestar Galactica”), Tiffany Shepis (“Tromeo And Juliet”, “Night Of The Demons (2009)”), and Davey Havok (Vocalist of AFI) just to name a few.
Defining what “Godkiller” is is tough to do without coming off as if you are writing a thesis on society and social woes, so I will just give you the basic rundown. “Godkiller” is the story of Tommy (voiced by Justin Pierre of ‘Motion City Soundtrack’ fame) who chases down an organ stealing prostitute who has left him for dead after she, along with her cohort ‘Angelf**k’, kill his psychiatrist in a botched organ collecting mission. Tommy follows the two into the post nuke ‘Outer City’ in hopes that they will know where he can find a heart for his dying sister.
From there the story gets even more insane let me assure you, but never does it suffer from the usual downfall of most stories that carry the weight that it does by getting bogged down under its own mythos. For stories like “Godkiller” you are seemingly always juggling when you are trying to write them because you have so many ideas in your head that you want to throw out there that it almost becomes a struggle to not let your story run itself over. In many cases this is where story tellers are born and killed. For Pizzolo (who obviously comes from a deep background of film direction, evident in the pacing and editing of ‘Walk Among Us’) you get the feeling that ‘Godkiller’ just might be that defining moment.
What “Godkiller” does is it dares to get in your face and test your best inhibitions while at the same time doing its best to make you THINK. There are a lot of storytellers out there that have varying levels of a ‘message’ to deliver to the audience, but few go as far as Pizzolo. In a time where the world is in such turmoil (Wars, nuclear threats, and national debt) it is obvious to see that Pizzolo is giving you a healthy dose of social commentary to go along with your bloody genre offering. At the same time there is also a very emotionally heavy relationship being used to drive those points in the form of Tommy and his comatose sister. The lengths at which the character is willing to go just for the chance of finding a donor heart for his sibling are what make the story ‘go’, and when horrible thing after horrible thing happens to Tommy you get a sincere feeling of dread for the character. (And let me tell you, some really messed up stuff happens to this kid) A lot of the praise here has to go to Pierre, whose voice talents make Tommy a sympathetic lead, and at the same time an interesting hero. There is certain vulnerability about the delivery of his lines that transcend what one has come to expect from a voice actor in an animated adventure such as this, and for that the singer deserves a healthy pat on the back.
The same can be said about most everyone in the film. Danielle Harris lends a perfect mixture of sexiness and ‘school of hardknox’ vulnerability to her character Halfpipe (who plays the pseudo love interest to Pierre’s Tommy) that makes her almost as fascinating as the lead himself. Add to this an amazing cast of supporting characters, the least of which not being Henrikson’s “Mr Miyagi” like character Dr Mulciber or Lydia Lunch’s dastardly Sister Beezal, and you have what is quite possibly the absolute best cast of voices in an animated feature to date. Not bad for the flagship title from an upstart Indy production company.
Of course a review for this story couldn’t be finished without mentioning the amazing illustrations by newcomer Anna Muckcracker. The artist has a very defined style that is reminiscent of even the most well known gothic artists who share her flare for the darker side of art, and as an illustrator it is easy to see why she is in such high demand already. What makes things even more impressive is that this is the debut project for the artist, and for an illustrator to truly nail it right out of the gate is not any sort of easy feat. However, I think that it would be safe to assume that we will be seeing a lot more from Anna for many years to come.
At the same time “Godkiller” has its own set of issues, the least of which not being the experimental animation itself, but for the most part “Walk Among Us” is a flawless piece of genre fair that fans will be able to enjoy if they can get used to the stylized way in which the story is delivered. At times it is hard to follow what is going on on the screen because the animation seems as if it isn’t moving as swiftly as the voice actors themselves, and at some junctures it can be rough figuring out whose voice is coming out of what character, but again once you acclimate yourself to the approach being taken here all of these things become little more than afterthoughts.
When all is done and…erm…viewed? “Godkiller: Walk Among Us” is a treat for fans horror, sci-fi, comics, and animated films that is not to be missed. You will have to lower your inhibitions (I suggest watching “Martyrs” or “Frontier(s) a few times to get yourselves nice and desensitized before hand) in order to enjoy this one to the fullest extent, and for some it will take a few viewing to grasp onto everything that is going on, but once you do these things you’ll find “Godkiller” to be one of the most enjoyable animated genre romps in recent memory. A true work of love and affection by all those involved, “Walk Among Us” might just be the ushering in of one of the most refreshing new methods of storytelling to come along in a very long time.
4 Out Of 5 Skulls
“Godkiller: Walk Among Us” Issues 1 And 2
“Godkiller: Walk Among Us” Trailer