Can you handle this truth?
Of all the TV networks in the world, Adult Swim is probably the only true threat to Netflix and other streaming services when it comes to producing original adult animation and a lot of that has to do with Mike Lazzo who has spent the better part of the last couple of years shepherding new talent and slowly bringing back some classic intellectual property to create a resource that is seemingly unending. Lazzo has no problem in picking up soap operas or metal operas or, in this case, a gory slice of Americana circa 1980s horror. In what can only be described as a blended mix of Robot Chicken, IT, and psychedelics, The Shivering Truth might be the network’s most daring effort to date.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty…let’s back up and give special congrats to the producers at Shadowmachine. The Shivering Truth will probably go down as their finest stop-motion work yet, and that’s coming from a studio that once featured Robot Chicken in its ranks. Quite frankly I’m not sure if Vernon Chatman ( show creator) would’ve gotten the same “feel” as he does had it not been with Shadowmachine. The gory details are exquisite, certainly utilizing some of the techniques that the horror masters of yesteryear employed coupled with contemporary ideals on the stop-motion art form that set a new bar in delivery. All of the episodes look fantastic, probably my favorite production effort was in “Fowl Flows” due to the shadowing techniques and use of different filters that really put you on an edge.
Guest stars? Yeah, there’s a lot of them. But the main star of this show is Vernon Chatman who also acts as our narrator and you’re gonna have to listen closely because if you don’t you’re gonna get lost in trying to find any sort of semblance of a plot from episode to episode. Assuredly, he’s your white rabbit taking you down the bunny trail, but instead of just continuing down the yellow brick road we end up in a wormhole-filled with tales of the apocalypse, murder, and even love. Yeah sure, along the way we get excellent guest appearances from Janeane Garofalo, Trey Parker, David Cross, Maria Bamford, and a host of others, but unlike the aforementioned Robot Chicken, The Shivering Truth does NOT rely on them for any sort of credence. Hell, the last episode only features two fucking actors the whole 11-minute runtime!
I like The Shivering Truth, I really do. It’s along that same path of programming that features the likes of Mr. Pickles, King Star King, and of course the almighty Metalocalypse. However, Those series’ look for a point in their madness and The Shivering Truth is more like someone knocking over a box of Cocoa Puffs all over the kitchen floor and everything just scattering. Sometimes you find all the pieces to pick up, other times, they get stuck under the fridge, and that’s as good of a way to boil down what are more or less “bits” sewn together with a running theme that requires that narrator to hold your hand instead of letting you go nuts on your own. I actually wonder what the series would be like if it had a tad more structure ladened with a plot that required you to pay more attention and rely less on your guide. The Shivering Truth, as it were, would allow more discovery and less, “we’ll take your word for it” type of an attitude I get now when listening to Vernon read his lines.
All in all, The Shivering Truth gets in its own way at times but makes for a solid alternative to 99% of what you’re gonna see nowadays. Unfortunately, that 1% also includes Dream Corp LLC which just got done fucking with our heads this last weekend.