Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Screaming Mad George's Paranoiascape

Art by Screaming Mad George
Illustration for Punk magazine.
Even if you're not consciously aware of Screaming Mad George (AKA SMG), he has fingers curled tightly around the throat of your repressed inner child. The Osaka-born visual effects artist is responsible for some of the best in traumatizing B-movie body horror, such as the cockroach transformation sequence from A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 and monsters in The Guvyer live-action, as well as connoisseur-level camp in Jack Frost and The Dentist 2.

He first journeyed to America in the 70's to study at the New York City School of Visual Arts before forming seminal horror punk-performance band, The Mad, whose gore-strewn sets loaded with prosthetic appendages—including self-disemboweling and cannibal babies—helped pave the way for a Hollywood gig on Predator.

Irrational, SMG's post-Mad group from 1983.
George describes his style as “anti-realism,” an outlet to free associate nightmarish dreamscapes onto the screen with a thin veneer of fantasy that insulates against the shock of real world violence. His mantra drowns out the critics who peg gore hounds as psychopaths. To quote, “you can enjoy fake violence even if it's a really, really horrible thing. But I don't like violence when it's real. I don't like anything that is real.”
Paranoiascape gameplay
World 1-1 as you've never seen it before.
And nothing is as unreal as Paranoiascape. A Japan-only Playstation release from 1998, George handled the creature design, concept, and music in reanimating the long-deceased pinball genre as a first-person shooter. Imagine equal parts Devil Crash and Doom stitched together with a screeching metal soundtrack and you're only halfway there—Paranoiascape needs to experienced firsthand to fully plumb the depths of its madness.
Paranoiascape gameplay
The gameplay and environmental hazards are straight out of a Dali painting—if Dali had been a gutter punk from the 80's. Dirty syringes spring up from the floor to jab the skeletal flippers. Flocks of vitreous-sucking Vampfish swoop in to steal your flaming brain pinball. The stage select screen is a pizza of death topped with melted ears and giggling cancer cells. George never fails to put on an entertaining show.
Paranoiascape gameplay
His final act plucks you out of the familiar POV hallways and drops you into an overhead maze infested with cardboard zombies. You command a mannequin grafted onto a wheelchair, a failed alchemy experiment straight out of a Brothers Quay feature, in navigating the crypt to unite the spirits of the king and queen so they can create a new form of life. Behold, the first ever pinball concept album.
Paranoiascape gameplay
 The title plays  more like an extended music video for his at-the-time band, Psychosis, than an actual video game. Regardless of how precisely you time the flippers, they only launch the ball in one direction—the one you don't want. It's best to simply set it to infinite credits, sit back, and enjoy the twisted ride.
Paranoiascape gameplay
With the gameplay removed, you're left with a guided tour of George's impressive career that terminates with a FMV of his creature workshop. The breathing walls come from his time with H.R. Giger on the set of Poltergeist II. The ass-faced walkers in high heels are a send-up of the infamous “butthead” scene from Brian Yuzna's Society. After a certain point you start to see the method behind George's madness. Don't take my word for it—I implore you to spend an evening mucking through SMG's mind. You too will realize that what goes down on the inside is far more sane than what is perpetrated on the outside.

The Mad Eyeball 7", I Hate Music
The Mad 7"s available for download:
Fried Egg

Monster Maker's Contest 1986
A grotesque parade of the best in creature effects, curated by Screaming Mad George.

Longplay of Paranoiascape on Niko Niko Douga.

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