Director/Screenplay – Matt Pizzolo, Producer – Brian Giberson, Music – The Hellish Vortex (Alex Empire & Nic Endo), Illustrations – Anna Muckcracker. Production Company – Halo 8, Inc.
Justin Pierre (Tommy Stark), Lance Henriksen (Mulciber), Danielle Harris (Halfpipe), Nicki Clyne (Soledad), Davey Havok (Dragos), Lydia Lunch (Beezal), Tiffany Shepis (Angelfuck), Katie Nisa (Rose), Bill Moseley (Dr West)
It is after much of civilisation has been wiped out in a nuclear war and the arrival of various god-like entities. In Silver City, young Tommy Stark only wants to find a new heart for his ailing sister Lisa. He is angry at the way she is treated and goes to Dr West’s office to confront him, only for West to arrive with two prostitutes from Outer City who proceed to slaughter him and take his organs. The hookers leave Tommy wounded but he follows them into the lawless Outer City. This proves to have been a trail set by the aging Mulciber to lead Tommy there. Mulciber has many abilities and sees great power in Tommy after tasting his blood. He wants Tommy to help him locate the important occult artifact known as The Nibiru Box. Forced into doing so on behalf of Beezal, Mulciber and Tommy set out to enter the lair of the god-like being known as Dragos.
I hesitate to use the word unique but it certainly applies to Godkiller: Walk Among Us as a film-viewing experience. Neither truly a film, neither 100% a comic-book, nor a work of animation either, it exists somewhere between all three. In the words of creator Matt Pizzolo it is an ‘illustrated film’. Furthermore, Pizzolo has ambitiously conceived Godkiller as a multi-media series. Walk Among Us was first released as a six-part comic-book series in 2008. Then appeared this film, which essentially brings panels from the comic-book to life. The film was initially released as several mini-episodes on dvd in 2009 then compiled as a single film and given a theatrical screening. There have also been a series of e-books Godkiller: Silent War, two of which were released in 2010, followed by a comic-book series in 2014.
It takes some time to get used to the ‘illustrated film’ effect. Essentially, we are just watching static comic-book panels on the screen where there are occasional elements within them that move or come with superimposed CGI effects. Plus of course an audio soundtrack that is narrated by various reasonably well-known B-list names. Dramatically though, this ends up being dull. Most of the comic-book panels are drawn in a sketchy way so there is not even much detail to the artwork to admire. That said, you end up eventually accepting the film for what it is and by the time of the climactic scenes with Tommy and Halfpipe trapped in the pit with the zombified prisoners advancing and he trying to get the trick of dematerialising his hand to reach through and open the door, the film ends up generating a reasonable degree of dramatic tension.
There are some undeniable positive aspects to the film. One of these is the writing and in particular Lance Henriksen’s magnificently burned-out noir-esque narration. The setting is essentially the same one that fills much Cyberpunk fiction – albeit having been crosshatched with something like H.P. Lovecraft, suggesting a burned-out post-nuclear future that is also inhabited by mysterious god-like entities – maybe a much darker version of Immortal (ad vitam) (2004).
Matt Pizzolo gives the film a darkly perverse feel, in particular a scene where young Tommy is captured by the character known as Beezal (voiced by a perfectly throaty Lydia Lunch) who toys with him in a way that vies between surgery, seduction and loss of innocence. I really like Matt Pizzolo’s writing – he has an evocative turn of phrase in the dialogue and frequently wanders off into thoughtfully challenging philosophical treatises. How could it be possible to dislike a film where the two prostitutes toss off lines like: “Have you learned to weaponise your orgasms?”
On the other hand, Matt Pizzolo has created this magnificent world and a backdrop that suggest so much happening, yet Godkiller: Walk Among Us remains dramatically inert. The film has a massive backdrop about gods, their coming to Earth, complex back-stories of the characters and who and what they are. However, all of this happens outside of the story’s frame and you are only left guessing at clues within the film in trying to figure how everything fits together. The problem essentially feels like one is watching a multi-part series starting with one of the middle chapters. The story also comes to an abrupt halt – what feels missing is any sense of dramatic conflict with the being known as Dragos.