This week’s film can be watched online at Youtube. No, it’s NOT the ineptly-made, months-old film that certain religious extremists and opportunistic demagogues are using as an excuse to rampage. It’s a remarkable short film from 2011 that, oddly enough, addresses religious extremism and opportunistic demagoguery.

It begins when a sinister, familiar figure comes to town.

Title: Backwater Gospel

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Directed by Bo Mathorne

Lucien Dodge as the Minister
Zebulon Whatley as the Tramp
Laura Post as Townsfolk
Phillip Sacramento as Bubba

Full Cast and Crew information is available at the imdb.


When the Undertaker comes to town, someone dies. The fearful townspeople, led by a fanatical minister, become convinced a nonbelieving outsider is responsible for the Undertaker’s visit, and decide to take action.

High Point:

The battle goes over the top, but it suggests much in its shadowiness. The aftermath, however, is far more disturbing.

Low Point:

The characters are extremely grotesque from the start, a stylistic choice which provides little opportunity for contrast when all hell breaks loose. It’s worth noting that some of the early sketches show more restrained-looking characters in their early appearances.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6

Animation: 5/6 The creepy, stylized animation suits the story.

Story: 5/6 We have a demented little parable with lessons society needs to stop forgetting. Some might find the allusions and use of Christian symbolism a bit heavy-handed.

Voice Acting: 5/6

Production: 6/6. The Animation Workshop accomplished this on very little budget, and achieved results that a Hollywood studio might envy. The soundtrack is off-pitch-perfect.

Emotional Response: 5/6.

Overall: 5/6 The design has been drawn from the American west and Midwest of decades past, but we’re seriously not in Kansas anymore.

In total, Backwater Gospel receives 34/42.