Where the Dead Go To Die is nearly indescribable, but I will make an attempt to do it justice, despite having never seen anything like it before. The latest made-for-cult horror film from Unearthed Films and director Jimmy Screamerclauz (and he’s not the only member of the cast and crew to go by such a creative alias), it’s a strangely animated and taboo-filled journey through a morbid little town that I can only assume must be the place the title is referencing, for everyone in it is either dead, dying, or wants to die. The look of the film is odd to say the least: much of the character design resembles early 90s PC games and older versions of the Sims, in particular the characters’ jerky motions and the way their mouths never, ever seem to match up to the dialogue that they are speaking. The backgrounds are more similar to flat, two-dimensional paintings in many ways. Some hand-drawn and even photographic animation is edited in as well, creating a chaotic visual tone that is nonetheless incredibly interesting to behold. I was entranced by every visual artistic decision the team behind the film made.
What is not as entrancing is the story being told by said animation. It contains literally every horror trope in the world and then some, making the acid-trip creepiness of Donnie Darko and the gory sexuality of Italian giallos look G-rated by comparison. Yet by shoehorning in so many disturbing things, whether it be a talking dog who not only rips a fetus out of a woman, but then forces that woman’s son to have sex with him, to a junkie who lives in a church and shoots up the memories of the dying while surrounded by cycloptic demons, the film loses its shock value. It becomes more hilarious than anything else, since the viewer can’t help but giggle when yet another random, disgusting thing happens. Then again, perhaps that was Screamerclauz’s idea from the get-go: to create a film that automatically fits into no other genre than cult. I don’t doubt that Where the Dead Go To Die will have a loyal following amongst animation and horror enthusiasts, especially those with a healthy appetite for the weird.
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES
If this film does sound like something that might be up your alley, it’s definitely worth springing for the Blu-ray which, besides capturing the mind-bending graphics in all their glory, is also chock full of features that explain how Screamerclauz and company created their animations. These include “Kinect Motion Capture Madness” and “Recording Liquid Memories.” There is also a commentary track with Screamerclauz, a montage of deleted footage, a tour promo cartoon, a short film titled “Ice Cream Sunday,” also with commentary, and trailers. It was too much for me, as the film was, but for lovers of Unearthed Films, it’s a treasure trove.
"Where the Dead Go To Die" is on sale February 21, 2012 and is not rated. Animation, Horror. Written and directed by Jimmy Screamerclauz. Starring Ruby Larocca, Brandon Slagle, Joey Smack.