If you've been waiting for another bit of the ultraviolence and don't have the patience to wait for a new Nicolas Winding Refn film or Jeremy Saulnier's Green Room then fear not, Joseph Bennett's short animated film Odin's Afterbirth is here and it's bloody disgusting.
Set in Viking times and steeped in Norse mythology, the 14-minute film follows our hero Viking Erik (a.k.a. Odin's Afterbirth), in his ceaseless and gory struggle to protect his people and village from intruders both human and otherwise. Erik is a majorly badass fighter and isn't afraid of anything, whether it's twin soldiers flying on a giant spear or vicious, blood-sucking leeches. But after a barrage of attacks from a bizarre mutant army, Erik's finally overcome and his soul floats up to Valhalla, the famed hall of dead warriors, where he is confronted with a whole bunch of ancestors who have grown fat and lazy. What the fuck do you think Erik's going to do? He's a warrior, and he's not going to let some bullshit like being dead stop him from exacting revenge and protecting his family and friends.
If some of the visuals and situations look familiar, it's because this film actually began as homage to Refn's 2009 film Valhalla Rising. Initially conceived of as a simple experiment in animation and storytelling, the film grew to three chapters, which you see served up here all sewn together. The entire film took over four years to finish, but became something undeniably unique and, to my eyes, more fucked up than its inspiration.
I'm wary of attributing some of the horrors in this mind-melter to imagination, only because I want to keep the realm of imagination pure and full of lovely dreams. This film, however, is the stuff of the most relentless and fever-pitched nightmares. Pure unadulterated madness.
If you enjoyed that film, be sure to check out some more of Bennett's work here.
Jeffrey Bowers is a tall mustached guy from Ohio who's seen too many weird movies. He currently lives in Brooklyn, working as a film curator. He's the senior curator for Vimeo's On Demand platform. He has also programmed at Tribeca Film Festival, Rooftop Films, and the Hamptons International Film Festival.