The R-rated, Hollywood animated film is a rare form, indeed. Other countries release them but in the U.S., a decade could pass between two. The next one is coming sooner than you think, though, and it’ll get even more niche by using stop-motion animation to take you directly to Hell.
The film, a comedy if you can believe it, is called Hell & Back and it was made by ShadowMachine studio, the people who do Robot Chicken. Featuring a star-studded voice cast (including T.J. Miller, Rob Riggle, Nick Swardson, Bob Odenkirk, Susan Sarandon, Mila Kunis, Danny McBride, Jennifer Coolidge and Michael Peña) Hell & Back is about a group of friends who travel to Hell looking for a missing friend, but end up realizing it’s not that bad of a place.
From the red-band trailer, you’ve gotta respect that the film is dealing with issues and content almost wholly opposed to the medium. Stop-motion animation is dominated by the likes of Laika (Paranorman, Coraline), Aardman (Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep) or Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox). If not one of those, it’s usually used in short films because of the painstaking work. That’s why pretty much any feature length, stop-motion animated film is made for a family audiences. At least with a family movie, there’s a chance to make money after working on something for so long.
Doing a stop-motion animated film for adults almost seems stupid. And while the trailer for Hell & Back didn’t really grab me, I’m just happy to see someone out there taking big risks. What seems stupid now may not 20 years down the road.
Hell & Back opens October 2.
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