Tuesday, February 22, 2011
The Backwater Gospel...WOW!
This film was brought to my attention by one of the Emporium's readers Shonokin, and then later on Facebook by Mr. Gris Grimly. It is called The Backwater Gospel and, my goodness, its REALLY good!
The official synopsis from their website is this:
A drought ridden, dead beat society, isolated in the dust storm plagued parts of 1930's rural America, is paid a visit by the undertaker, an event that always has foretold the immediate coming of death. The Sunday sermon is well on the way, firmly led by the brimstone preaching town minister.
The tramp in the town, the only person not in church, spots the undertaker at a distance and interrupts the sermon to tell the news. A cold draught passes through the church and in desperation the congregation leaves, much to the displeasure of the minister.
At home behind locked doors and barred windows the townsfolk await death, pinned to the floor by fear and anxiety.
But death never comes...
Its true that this film takes place in the 1930's but it is absolutely a Western. From the stark landscapes to the rickety shanty town buildings, the only thing that betrays its time period is the broken down automobile that one of the character uses for shelter. This is Western through and through. and a good one.
The animation style is really strange. It looks somewhat stop motion-like, but more often looks likes CGI. The character's skins are cracked and stained, the preacher's lips are thick and almost look like wood with his deeply lined face. One character even seems to have a wooden nose.
And the story is top notch. As the threat of the Undertaker's arrival looms, the deeply religious town is thrown into the grip of hysteria and things go bad....really REALLY bad.
Their official website states that The Backwater Gospel is the bachelor projects of eight students at The Animation Workshop. It's an animated short about a small, isolated community in the Dust Bowl of the 1930's, a minister hell-bent on ruling his flock and an undertaker who always precedes death.
You can also see a plethera of character designs, animation tests, and concept sketches at their SITE. I wouldn't have guessed that this was a bachelor project, everything from the voice work to the animation and design is incredibly professional.
This film deserves 5 out of 5 Bloody Spurs. Fantastic job all around!