Before I begin with this, severe trigger warnings all throughout this article.
2012 was a very weird time in the animation world. Software was widely available, the internet was fueled by nightmare imagery and edgy humor, and the idea of referring to YouTube to learn things was slowly becoming a reality. What we have today is a 3D-animated film that was the brain child of a sole person – James ‘Jimmy’ ScreamerClauz.
Jimmy took on the role of writing, creating, animating, directing, editing, and some of the voice acting entirely by himself. His style feels very much like David Firth (Salad Fingers, Milk Man) and Vernon Chatman (Wunder Showzen, Xavier: Renegade Angel), which is a very specific sweet point for myself. He utilized 3D animation software, and even an Xbox Kinect Camera, to create three dark short films that began as a fun experiment, and slowly grew into a feature length anthology story after getting the attention of Stephen Biro (of Unearthed Films) and a bit of collaboration.
This anthology is composed of 3 different sections – ‘Tainted Milk’, ‘Liquid Memories’, and ‘The Mask That the Monsters Wear’. They are tied together by the introduction of a demonic dog named Labby – who not only serves as an external conscience, but seems to operate as also a grim reaper or bearer of judgment for our characters. The first story (TM) is about a young boy named Tommy who is told his unborn brother is going to be the Antichrist and he must be stopped. The second one (LM) is about a psychotic with an addiction to extracting liquid memories of other people and injecting them to distort himself from his own haunted visions. And the third (TMttMW) centers around a deformed child with a half-born brother embedded into his face who becomes friends with a young girl who is the victim of prolonged sexual abuse.
While all of this is happening, our characters are constantly encountering monsters, demons, shadow men, and walking through various areas of Hell.
Each story grows intensely darker as they go, culminating in an experience that is soul-crushing and mind-warping by the time its end comes around. To think that the first 10 minutes of this film involves an abortion, genital mutilation, intercourse with an animal, and a maggot-ridden infant while also arguably being one of the more tame segments of this anthology, speaks volumes alone. This movie is disgusting and morbid right from the start. The last segment is absolutely harrowing as it centers around child sexual abuse, physical abuse, exploitation, and grotesque violence – but this also is a film that seems to be discussing a larger theme altogether. All the while, there is almost an hour of just nightmare imagery, absurd monsters, surreal textures, screaming, and constant violence that kind of serves as the heavily-applied dressing on top of this sandwich.
The animation in this piece is rather crude, to the point that it looks like either PS2-era cutscene graphics, or like something you’d see during the early years of Adult Swim (especially something like ‘Xavier: Renegade Angel’ comes to mind) so you need to be aware that the animation is not necessarily a highlight on its own – but the sincerity behind the scenes of a guy literally learning as he went and just trying to make something he wanted to see, in my opinion, overrides the crudeness.
So, with all of this being said, this movie blew my fucking mind. I was horribly disturbed, constantly intrigued, and flabbergasted by some of the things I was seeing. It is absolutely not for everyone (or even most general people), but for the people who are looking for something like this it is absolutely a perfect recipe. I don’t think I’ve been so eager to immediately revisit a piece that made me unable to communicate with other people for hours after watching.
Jimmy ScreamerClauz has since created another full length film and a handful of shorts which are available on his website ( https://screamerclauz.com/ ), and ‘WTDGtD’ is scarcely available on a long out-of-print physical release by Unearthed Films.
P.S. If anyone would like to secure me a physical copy for my collection, I would be forever grateful 😉
“Where The Dead Go to Die” is available digitally on the director’s website.
‘Til Next Time,
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