Watch a Red-Band Trailer for 'Hell and Back,' the Latest Attempt at a Mainstream R-Rated Animated Movie

Watch a Red-Band Trailer for 'Hell and Back,' the Latest Attempt at a Mainstream R-Rated Animated Movie

Aug 20, 2015

Animation has never been exclusively geared to children, but sometime in the last half century or so it's become more associated with family entertainment and kiddie fare. Sure, there's the niche popularity of anime and acclaim of animated documentaries like Waltz With Bashir and the cult successes of Ralph Bakshi and Richard Linklater, but very rarely do grown-up-targeted animated features break out into the mainstream.

South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut is probably the closest thing to an animated blockbuster stamped with an R rating. It had the benefit of being based on a very popular television series. Trey Parker and Matt Stone made substantially less money with the original work Team America: World Police. Still, it does help to start out with TV projects if you want to eventually try for raunchy theatrical animation. Build a fan base through Cartoon Network's Adult Swim brand or a show at Fox, Comedy Central or now Netflix, and then make a go for the big screen.

That could be a favorable solution for the people at the animation studio ShadowMachine, which is best known for Robot Chicken, TripTank and the increasingly buzzed about Bojack Horseman.

Their first motion picture, out this fall, is a stop-motion feature that, like the South Park movie, involves Hell and Satan (this time voiced by Bob Odenkirk). Titled Hell and Back, the R-rated effort also features the voices of T.J. Miller, Nick Swardson and Rob Riggle as friends who find themselves transported to the underworld, plus Mila Kunis, Danny McBride, Kumail Nanjiani, Jennifer Coolidge, David Koechner and, uh, Susan Sarandon.

In the first red-band trailer below, we get a sense that its adult-oriented humor consists of masturbation jokes and a lot of swearing and maybe some cultural or at least pop-cultural satire (there is a combination Taco Bell/Pizza Hut restaurant gag). I'm not sure there's much here to attract grown ups any older than drinking age, but that's actualy probably enough of a range to make this a hit. If it's the opposite, though, that could put a damper on hopes for next summer's R-rated animated feature Sausage Party, even with its being created by Seth Rogen and produced by the highly regarded Annapurna Pictures (The Master).

Hell and Back opens October 9.

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