‘Go To Hell!’ begins with the reaganesque character GD persuading his new secretary Angel to enter a ‘suspended animation booth’ which effectively brainwashes her so she wants to bone GD. While essentially raping his secretary; GD’s wife enters the room with their son and proceeds to burn his cock with a cigar. Yes, this is the kind of fare you can expect from Ray Nowland’s ‘Go To Hell!’, but there’s more.
‘Go To Hell!’ is a crudely animated 1997 feature spanning roughly 73 minutes. At first it seems like it’s only going to be a comedy that’s aim is to shock us with vulgar nudity and violence, but it is much more. The narrative of ‘Go To Hell!’ is essentially a fresh and raw take on the Bible, creation of man, eugenics, fascism and environmentalism. It takes a gutsy approach to these themes and issues and displays and uncommon and rare social consciousness you won’t find in any Hollywood animation.
GD is actually God and his son Little Red is Lucifer. The planet they live on becomes polluted so they set off to find another habitable planet in a spaceship filled with people or ‘genetic specimens’ who are to repopulate the new planet. GD and Little Red stay in stasis for the majority of the journey while the crew and people on the ship reproduce and pass through generations, gradually inbreeding and mutating. They arrive at earth while dinosaurs still roam the planet and ‘Little Red’ and a few of his followers head down to the planet to smoke weed and play in the jungle. GD is not happy about the dinosaurs and indigenous life and wants to exterminate them with a passing asteroid, then repopulate the planet with his genetically modified creations. Little Red disagrees with this because GD is pretty much the biggest asshole in existence.
GD enacts his first extermination while ‘Little Red’ hides in a cave with his snake friend. When he comes to the surface, the earth is populated by ape-like creatures who are enslaved by GD their creator. Mad at his father’s dickery, Little Red decides to copulate with one of these creatures and spawn forth a new race, teaching them to think for themselves and have self determination. Essentially every step ‘Little Red’ takes to better mankind through education, reason and kindness, GD destroys through plots and scheming from his spaceship orbiting Mars. GD goes on to kill his grandson Jesus, create the Catholic Church to subjugate humans, create numerous conflicts and genocides including WWI and helping out Hitler in WWII.
Even though I think the myths in the Bible outdated, irrelevant and extremely boring; I found ‘Go To Hell!’ was an interesting and particularly ballsy take on it all. It’s all the more impressive that Ray Nowland drew every frame of the film himself with only some help in post production from Leaf Nowland.
As a child who grew up in Australia, I watched ‘Blinky Bill’, a cartoon about an extremely obnoxious koala and his friends that Ray Nowland worked on as an animator. While having some of the most annoying characters imaginable it had a strong environmental theme that is carried over into ‘Go To Hell’. The flat and crude animation style in ‘Go To Hell!’ is particularly reminiscent of ‘Blinky Bill’ and budget Australian televised animation
It’s pretty uncanny to see this style of animation I was familiar with in my childhood carried over with adult themes, and to make it even weirder most characters in ‘Go To Hell!’ are voiced by Keith Scott who voice ‘Splodge’ and many other characters from ‘Blinky Bill’. This is coupled with a 16-bit soundtrack reminiscent of early video games such as ‘Duke Nukem 3D’.
I recommend ‘Go To Hell!’ for anyone that’s into weird fucked up animation, adult fans of ‘Blinky Bill’ or anyone interested in the history of underground, solo or Australian animation. ‘Go To Hell!’ is a rarity and at the time of writing this there’s only one torrent available of a VHS rip. It’s not in print or for sale anywhere.
‘Go To Hell!’ is Ray Nowland’s only feature and last of his work that is recorded. After trying to track down details of him to get an interview, I can only guess that after creating ‘Go To Hell!’ he either retired or died. I like to think he’s still making fucked up cartoons in a bedroom somewhere.