Going Back To Madness (The Animation)

The first time I watched the “Madness” animation series was back in middle school and back then there were only four episodes. The first was just a short animation of a guy dancing to a cheery internet song and killing anyone who go in his way of doing so, including Jesus? It was weird. Actually it’s still weird today, though not for the same reasons. Back then I thought it was strange because I wondered why all these people wanted to stop this guy from dancing. Now it’s because all I can notice is just how old this animation is. Being pretty close to the dawn of Newgrounds flash animation it’s pretty noticeable just how frame-y it is. The background doesn’t move, the only sounds are the one music track and some stock punching and grunting effects. No one has faces and Jesus is the only one with any distinguishing features whatsoever. It’s very much a remnant of its time.

Only a short time after (back then) I watched all the sequels that had come out. Parts two, three, four (and now up to ten) starred an actual story “Somewhere In Nevada”. It began as a guy hunting down a sheriff for no discernible reason only to be killed by none other than Jesus who was alive once more. Upon watching three and four I really began to notice how much of a relic these episodes were. Not because of the animation, which is fine even today though nothing spectacular. It’s because all the background posters and eventually the text overlays are fully steeped in old internet culture. The flyers tell people to “Join the l33t agents” and the clown character always speaks with horrid spelling using “teh” and “hay/hai”.

And yet this is all set up against the backdrop of a dystopian world where some of of evil corporation is enthralling citizens to join them and become “perfect”. From episodes five to ten the story begins to try to weave itself into the journey of the now named main hero Hank and his comrades trying to stop this evil company that looks like it’s run by the literal devil. All the while zombie Jesus and zombie clown and causing all sorts of other havoc.

It eventually does culminate in the devil (devil figure?) amassing the bodies all of the dead people from the prior episodes to stop the half monster/zombie/hero Hank and his buddy with the stiff lower lip, but in the end he accidentally absorbs the clown and blows up. And that’s the end?

Madness started as a guy dancing around in a field beating faceless dudes up, then changed into a half joke about action movies with dumb early 2000s internet humor and eventually folded into it’s own action story played mostly straight.

Madness, and to an equal extent early flash animations, are weird.

Published by

Sam Callahan

Filmmaker by day, writer by night.

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