Monster Road | Chicago Reader

Monster Road

Clay animator Bruce Bickford has shied away from the business side of filmmaking, hunkering down in his basement studio near Seattle to obsess over a world of terrible beauty, a psychedelic riot of endlessly transmogrifying shapes. This eerie and affectionate portrait by Brett Ingram includes glimpses of Bickford's unseen films, different from previous work showcased in his collaborations with Frank Zappa, Baby Snakes (1979) and The Amazing Mister Bickford (1987). A Vietnam veteran, Bickford lives with his father, a former ICBM engineer now stricken with Alzheimer's disease, and from early on the animator's visions reflected fear of nuclear annihilation (a fallout shelter on nearby Monster Road served as inspiration). Today his dread of oblivion is more clearly linked to the body's natural decay, yet through art, philosophy, and the mellowing of age, he and his father seem to have struck a truce with the cosmos. 80 min.

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