Feature 85 – Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? (2016)

or “Would You Offer Your Throat to the Vampire with the Camera?”

Featuring: Leila “The Long Home” George , Emily “Adventures In the Sin Bin” Meade , Tori “Cthulhu” Spelling

Director: Melanie “Actors Anonymous” Aitkenhead

Writers: Amber Coney & James “Bukowski” Franco

Origin: USA

In-Name-Only Remake of: Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? (1996)

Review_____

“Well, she’s bad news Miss Lewisohn. Part of a bad crowd.”

Labor Day. Most people think Union bosses and picnics, but as an everyday appreciator of those baring a sexy pair of XX chromosomes, I think of screaming parasites being torn into the blood soaked agony of existence through unwilling vaginal portals. Instead of making this about the bite-sized monstrosities, I prefer to put the spotlight on the iron ladies who bear said abominations and made all of us possible. Yes, even you test tuber viewers, because you can’t grow a human horror from microscopic tadpoles alone…yet. Anyway, as such, I present to all you of-the-ovarian-sort a trio of flicks for ladies, by ladies (mostly), featuring ladies (FLBLFL). “Ladies Night!”, enrage! Errrr, engage!

Let me start with an apology, kids. I know many of you would probably prefer that the “Franco” in today’s credits was referring to Italian sleeze legend Jess Franco, but no such luck. I may have something from the deceased trash maestro a little further down the pipe (provided I get the gusto to snake the drain that is my motivation), but today you’ll have to settle for James instead. However, if you’re an enthusiast, don’t get too excited. And if you’re a detractor, don’t feel down. The screenplay’s only half his, as you can see by the credits he’s not the director (his character even has a line where he literally says “I did not direct that!”) and his on-screen role might as well come with one of those “for novelty purposes only” disclaimers they stamp on penis pump packaging.

Oh yeah, like you’ve never injured your dick and/or your partner’s dick with a prick thickener before. How’s the weather way up there on your golden pedestal, you high-horsing mothertrucker? That’s what I thought.

On the topic of today’s movie, did you know it’s been 20 years since the original Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? premiered? Neither did. Because I never watched it. Because I don’t tend to watch Lifetime. Being “Television for Women”, I’m not even entirely sure it’s legal for me to post this review! Not that I’m a stickler for following the law, but when you’re covered in jet black fur like I am, you don’t really want to tempt any antsy-pants patrol officers into using yours truly for target practice…

Edgy, socially relevant humor!

You know who did see the original Lifetime Original? My Evil Dead Bride! I’m now turning over the steering wheel to EDB, so She can share Her thoughts:

Ahh, Lifetime movies: an incredible exercise in estrogen drenched dramatics and progesterone chugging shenanigans. Scared yet? You should be. Ladies are frightening, especially when they’re busting cheating husbands and bravely trying to find love again while raising kids with no heads. Okay, the missing head part wasn’t real. That’d be hype as fuck if it was real though, right?

Anyway, Lifetime is “Television For Women”, in that it’s ludicrously written and hilariously overacted treacle often “based on true events” (yet somehow not as entertaining as “Law and Order”) involving Ovarians. In every genre of film, there are certain works that can be considered cornerstones. Lifetime dreck is no different. The first Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? is certainly part of Lifetime’s bedrock, along with A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story and Her Final Fury: Betty Broderick, The Last Chapter (Seriously, watch the Betty Broderick movies, they’re incredible). It’s the typical “previously good teen rebels against overly involved parent and loves bad boy who is way worse for her than she realizes until it’s almost too late” affair, perfectly un-acted by Tori Spelling and Ivan Sergei (both of whom reappear in the remake for funsies for people like me who’ve spent too much time watching utter garbage like this). The writing is atrocious, yet oddly gratifying. Truly a hallmark in mammarian moviemaking if I’ve ever seen one, right along with that terrifying movie where John Stamos makes out with his dad at the end. That’s a real thing, by the way.

Lifetime isn’t for the faint of heart or those of weak constitution. Kinda like Tori Spelling’s “acting” and unsettling amount of facial fillers she’s rocking these days. (Seriously Tori, you’re starting to look like Robert Z’Dar: face like a catcher’s mitt. Quit while you’re only yards behind.) Lifetime movies are basically exploitation movies for suburban moms who drink box wine and proudly sport that baffling Kate Gosselin hairdo, sans over the top gore and gratuitous nudity. If this sounds appealing to you, question your life choices. I’ve done the introspective work, and am left with a calm that can only be achieved by allowing “Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?” to silence my constantly chattering mind with its myriad mysteries and deep existential inquiries. Perhaps this movie is actually a life altering koan delivered via poor 1990s television filmmaking, meant to teach me something I can simultaneously know and be ignorant of at the same time…

Hahaha. Nah. It’s just dumb pablum meant to pacify bored people like me with no taste. Enjoy it for what it is and isn’t. Don’t think too hard, cause that’ll give you little wrinkles on your forehead. Vaya con Dio Brando, fuckers. >:D

See why I’m frequently bugging her to start up her own movie blog? If you agree, let us know! She has to bow to peer pressure eventually!

And now, Mother, May I Sleep with Danger?

Honey, maybe you should get to know Danger first, before jumping into bed with them. Perhaps by introducing yourself with a firm but genial handshake!

I considered going with a Carlos Danger or “Is Danger his first name or his middle name?” joke there, but I stand by my decision.

Leah Lewisohn (Leila George) is just your typical West Coast college girl. She lives at home with her “why does she wear high heels in the house?” mom (Tori Spelling), she speaks with a soft-yet-grating Valley Girl accent, she awkwardly pretends not to notice that her friend Bob (Nick Eversman) would like nothing more than to suffocate himself with her crunchy underpants, she’s pushing gender boundaries by being the first female lead in her drama class’s rendition of Macbeth (as directed by James Franco’s character), and her new significant other is hiding from her the potential relationship shattering knowledge that they’re a vampire. Oh, and said sucker-of-the-sanguine is a lesbian goth “photographer” named Pearl (Emily Meade), which probably won’t sit well with Mrs. Lewisohn’s conservative Christian outlook.

As if the teenage nosferatu thing wasn’t bad enough, Pearl’s being pressured to bring Leah into the pink & black mafia (the Hart Foundation?) by her fellow monsters. “Monsters” in that they’re also vampires, not college students who think overexposing photographs makes them artists. Calling photography students “monsters” would be giving them more credibility than most deserve, and if their parents never encouraged them while growing up, why should the rest of us? I don’t want a brood of my own. If I wanted a bunch of responsibilities, I’d learn Hebrew and animate some golems. At least they don’t leave DNA evidence at crime scenes…

And that’s pretty much it! In my usual effort to avoid the stink of mold by not spoiling the bread, I won’t elaborate on this grown up After School Special anymore beyond that. To be fair, though, there’s really not a LOT to the plot of MMISwD?, as it’s a very straight forward, simple little horror movie. First time feature maker Melanie Aitkenhead directs the whole affair with a ’90s teen horror flair and moderately intense girl-on-girl makeout montages. Clearly our lady was very much a fan of The Craft (which also came out in 1996, coincidentally enough). Retro. Or, if you’re me, it’s nostalgic of my better experiences in high school: masturbating to Fairuza Balk. Speaking of the ’90s, former smasher of pumpkins and perfecter of circles James Iha’s industrial-goth score suits the movie and sets the tone well for Young Adult soap opera horror. It can get repetitive now and then, but for a Lifetime Original it’s solid, more so given that Smashing Pumpkins are to my ears as Slim Whitman is to Martians’ whatever it is they perceive auditory stimulation with.

And yes, that last line’s analogy counts as SAT tutoring, so don’t forget to pick up your bill at the exit. You don’t want us to have to bring it to your house. Trust me.

Being a bloodsucker pic, the gore in Mother (♫ “tell your children not to hold my hand”♫) is kept mostly to bloody mouths (with oddly clean teeth…), with the most intense wetness kept to the Macbeth play in an oddly meta “story-within-a-story fake violence” angle that I can’t really put any clearer. Sometimes I don’t word good. Now, without any serious gripes beyond some not great acting (and a non-PC concern about Tori Spelling looking like a melted mess of Barbie plastic), what’s my dominant issue with the movie? Sometimes, it doesn’t give its audience enough credit.

Leah’s scholastic screen time outside of the Drama Department is spent in a class that explores the parallels between traditional horror stories and the historically phobic persecution of LGBTQ folk. This, of course, is the theme of this remake/revision/reimagining/rebranding/reskinning, likely in an effort to both let said LGBTQ know they’re not alone, and also get the ignorant of we heteros to empathize with people who have been unfairly demonized for centuries. Pardon me if this is projecting, but it gets too heavy handed (going so far as to juxtapose the professor’s words directly over a scene of the vamp squad on the hunt) in its efforts to make sure the message permeates even the densest of numbskulls. Meanwhile, to those with more open minds, it can come off as condescending. Not due to the message, but how many times we’re told that what’s happening to Leah (IN a horror movie, no less) has already been covered a thousand times before in books and poetry.

You could look at this bludgeoning of subtlety as a negation of any need for the movie to exist in the first place since it’s just the same old story. Or, you could look at it as a statement that the need for such stories sadly still exists today and will continue to until the dickards of the world get over whatever personal problem it is that causes them to try and ruin other peoples’ lives. Hint: it’s usually because they hate their own lives, but are too fucking lazy or helpless to fix it, so they just redirect their angry frustration into aggressive outward displays of hatred and attempted domination. You know, typical grade school bully shit, because some cunt waffles never evolve past a 6th grade level.

Given that you’re probably here because you want to know my opinion (secondary to the dick and fart jokes, of course) , let’s discuss where I stand in regards to MMISwD?‘s message – being neither LGBTQ person nor a homophobe, it doesn’t speak to me. Nor am I saying it should. Much like my feelings on The Babadook, the message is clear to me and doesn’t need to be repeated ad nauseum, rubbed all over my brain like a young intern’s balls across a Republican senator’s face. As a Lifetime Original, the presumed target audience for this flick is middle-aged women (and any channel surfers whose attention can be easily grabbed by TV-14 approved barely legal lesbos dry humping), so if any such ladies out there have seen this and would like to give their opinion, please reach out and touch-a touch-a touch-a me as I’d like to hear your thoughts on whether the script’s hand holding really is overly aggressive, or if I’m just too into buttering my own nuts.

For me, it’s the same as a smoker being told repeatedly by their spouse that cigarettes are going to kill them. I know. I’m not stupid. I’m also not Leonard fucking Shelby. I can retain knowledge, and I do remember the other 500 times you told me about all the cancer I’m going to get from smoking!

…Where was I going with this? Oh, right, the exasperation of repetition. To quote Mr. Horse, “No, sir. I don’t like it.” Ignoring that, as stated prior, it’s an overall okay movie. Direction was fine, dialogue was fine, performances were fine for the most part (minus a little too much of leading lady Leila George’s grating accent). Better than what I expected from a TV movie, albeit a bit too predictable and all that “Bob Huge Hands wearing lead over mitts” heavy handedness. Given Franco’s involvement I was hoping for something a little more guano than the socially conscious made-for-TV remake of Embrace of the Vampire (sadly lacking the lusciousness of 1995 Alyssa Milano in a skirt) we got instead. That was also when I thought he was going to be directing it, though, so fuck me for having expectations scaled to false information. ‘Tis no one’s fault beyond mine own.

There are other heavy topics at work here, like domestic abuse (physical, emotional, and vampiric), peer pressure, date rape, generation gaps, gender politics, parental loss, gray morality, and how the first “Twilight” book was okay in theory but the sequels rolled downhill faster than Barbara Hale and Steve Brodie in The Giant Spider Invasion. Fuck you with a wooden stake, Stephanie What’s-Her-Name. Your hack novels have corrupted more young people than ISIS! You know, the terrorist organization, not actual Isis. She’s thinking of changing her name to “Brooke” now, just to avoid that whole messy “kill the non-believers!” thing. Anyway, one of the smaller, intimate themes I like about the movie fits in with the “being gay = movie monster” matter, but it’s a huge giveaway so I can’t even talk about it under ape spoiler law! Tell you what though, you send me a message asking me to expand upon said story element, and I will spoil the shit out of it just for you, Sugar Tits.

Final complaint? The movie’s finale must’ve been raised in a barn, because it leaves the door for a sequel WIDE OPEN. And in doing so, lets all of the metaphorical heat out. It’s better left as a one off flick and the possibility of a follow-up thrills me as much as mere alcohol thrilled Sinatra – not at all. Lifetime could probably win me back if they give Franco the reins to reign over it, especially if he had a few lines of coke to “inspire” him through the creative process!

Unless and until, I’m just going to treat MMISwD?‘s canned cheese epilogue like another kind of “log” and flush it from my memory. My Evil Dead Bride offered up a legitimate position on how said ending could symbolize certain peoples’ stances about the corruption of…damn it, there goes that spoiler warning alarm in my explosive collar again! I reiterate: if you want me to ruin the movie for you, please submit a formal request. In triplicate. My lawyers’ assholes are puckered so tight that light can neither enter nor escape them.

Beyond being part deux of my “Ladies Night!” Cineménage à Trois trilogy, I won’t say what the subject of our next episode will be. All I can guarantee is that it won’t be anything from a certain knockbuster factory whose name rhymes with “ass xylem”. Afraid I may have been showing the early signs of Stockholm Syndrome with my Sinister Squad review, I’ve had myself voluntarily committed (get it?!) into an Asylum asylum program until at least the end of the year. For now, I gotta get back to work on my death ray, so this ends our broadcast day. Ladies? Keep it sleazy, make ’em queasy, and when you can, top it off with a bit of the ol’ squeezy squeezy. Good night everybody!

Moral of the Story: If you’re a sexually malleable college girl who finds herself being courted by a Photography major, try to make sure your first date includes a quick pass by a mirror store and a garlic plantation before going back to their place. Vampirism is like any STD – a little prevention can save you an eternity of regret (and genital inflammation)!

Screenshots_____


Someone using their phone to actually talk to someone? This must be a flashback!


When three hot women come up to you out of nowhere and ask if you want to “have some fun” with them, kindly decline. They’re either going to make a blackmail video of you, or use you for a human sacrifice.


“Welcome to ‘Introductory to Film Making’. I am your professor, Uwe Boll, and I would like to take this moment to inform you all that this class is NON-REFUNDABLE!”


“You know how you said you ‘love me like a brother’ yesterday? Did you ever, you know, fool around with your brother or give him, like, a pity handjob or anything when you were younger? I mean, you know, just asking.”


Damn it, Franco, stop looking at the camera! You’re worse than Jimmy Fallon was when he’d break character on SNL!


“Hey! It’s that Tom Green guy! I wonder what he’s doing on our campus? Wait, is he… oh sweet Jimmy Dean! Is he having sex with the school mascot?! That poor platypus!”


“Baby, what did I tell you about throwing away your gum before bed? Jeez, that’s really in there. Well, looks like I know somebody who’s getting a butch cut when we get home!”


Whenever Sally’s feeling down, she knows Alice’s “derp face” will always pick her back up.


Good news, bad movie lovers! Robert Z’Dar didn’t z’die, he just had a sex change! Maniac Cop IV: Meter Maid from Hell, here we come!


Ladies and gentlemen, the world’s sexiest (and worst) ventriloquism act – Madam Marilyn and Her Mischievous Marionettes!


“No babe, don’t freak out! It’s not really my penis, it’s just my thumb sticking out of my zipper! See?!”


Another successful production of “Evil Dead: the Musical” is in the books.


What’s with her costume? Wait. Let me guess. She’s going as a chandelier lamp from WalMart!


A promotional still from the CW’s newest attempt at a recycled franchise: “Eddie Munster: the College Years


“What do you mean they made a ‘90210‘ reboot and I wasn’t a part of it?! Wait, I was on it?! Why don’t I remember ANY of this!?” (Don’t worry, Tori, NOBODY remembers anything about that show.)


She must use Listerine’s new “Blood Blocker” formula mouthwash, or Orbitz’s new “Gore-B-Gone” gum. All this image is missing is a hot British blond saying “FABULOUS!” while light gleams off of Pearl’s pearlies despite her menstrual beard.

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Anubis will return next time in
“Monsters of the Runway”

Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

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Feature 46 – Pontypool (2008)

or “Radio Ga Ga, Eh?”

Featuring: Stephen “Shoot ‘Em Up” McHattie , Lisa “Ejecta” Houle , Georgina “Eddie: the Sleepwalking Cannibal” Reilly

Director: Bruce “Roadkill” McDonald

Writer: Tony “Septic Man” Burgess

Origin: Canada

Review_____

“I feel like I’m living in the basement of the world.”

Welcome to the first installment of my 25 part (give or take) series, “World Tour de Farce 2015”! Every episode will basically involve my ignorant American self (Egyptian godhood aside) traversing international bad cinema in an effort to make myself a more cultured Death God… and maybe expand my brand on a global scale into heretofore untapped markets, exploiting my core competencies with an eye towards productivity and connectivity. Sorry, I hired a business consultant to try and turn the Tomb into a profit and he just kept barfing stuff like that into my ears until I had to staple his tongue to the roof of his mouth. Anyway, stop #1 on this round trip is the maple syrup dripping, lumberjack spawning, hockey rocking, very polite Great White North known as Canada! And the landmark shown in our “Where in the World is Anubis Von Mojo?” teaser image? That’s the UFO Landing Pad in the town of St. Paul, Alberta! Yep, Canada’s got its own UFO landing site. Apparently Mars Attacks was never released in the land of the Doug & Bob McKenzie. You can read more about Alberta’s extraterrestrial airport at this link. Arm yourself with knowledge, kiddos!

I know I just reviewed a Canadian film a few weeks ago (Santa’s Slay) and a zombie movie last episode (Pro Wrestlers Vs. Zombies), but I’ve been itching to give Pontypool a viewing for a couple of years now, so fuck it. Here comes what’s guaranteed to be some of the most accommodating living dead (except they’re not) this side of Mormon Heaven! And if you don’t like it? Soory, hosers. I’ve got a thing for girls who say “aboot”. Let’s split a sixer of Moosehead, fry up some back bacon, enjoy the free health care and take in some Canucksploitation until we leave for our next destination!

People (well, 2 of them) have been preaching the benefits of Ponty to me since its release. The best I could offer them was the promise that it would have a place on my “I’ll get to it when I get to it” list. Well, I got to it. And sweet succulent jalapeno poppers dropped from the Virgin Mary’s hair pie do I feel like a better human being having done so. Let’s run the recap and afterward I’ll take a cue from Ben Murphy if you’ll “Permit me to explain wah.

For starters, this is NOT to be mistaken for the documentary Pontius Pool, which followed Jackass member Chris Pontius through the summer of 2013 as he attempted to fill a swimming pool with his friends’ bodily fluids, while living within said gathering of secretions. It lead him on a downward spiral of madness and near-fatal body toxicity that won him 3 Oscar nominations, a Golden Globe, and 4 CableACE Awards… despite the CableACEs having been discontinued in 1997. No, this is Pontypool, based on the novel “Pontypool Changes Everything”, as written by Tony Burgess. Why does that name sound familiar? Oh yeah, it’s because his name’s up above in the “Writer” credit! Yep, he’s the same Tony Burgess who adapted the screenplay. I’ve never read the book because, as I told my high school English teachers, I’m illiterate. That said, given that the author of the book was also the author of the movie, I really hope this turned out to be a faithful adaptation. Especially since I’m actually going to break my illiteracy rule and READ the damn book now!

From the opening, I get a hint that there’s something interesting in store for my next 90 minutes as we’re greeted with an oscillator scope illustrating our opening narration from talk radio host Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie). Despite being played by a native Canadian, I’m presuming that Grant’s a transplant from the U.S. of A. given his unfamiliarity with the surrounding area and very American “cowboy” manner of wardrobe selection. “Presuming” rather than “assuming”, as I make it a point never to leave myself verbally vulnerable for the same “assuming makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘Ming’” retort that I prefer to inflict on others. And you never want to make an ass out of Ming. He’ll put his bejeweled boot a Mongo mile up your Flash Gordon.

The Mazzster’s a Don Imus-y type of “Fuck politically correct, I don’t care if people think I’m a racist asshole, you’re gonna listen to my opinion!” personality who takes his morning coffee 50/50 with whiskey. His radio perfect voice carries the morning show on CLSY Radio 660 (“the Beacon!”) in the small town of Pontypool in the province of Ontario. On the way into his shift one dark and snowy Valentine’s Day morning (it is Canada, after all), and after firing his agent over his cell, Grant’s stopped in the parking lot by an oddly acting woman who bangs on his car window while uttering something incoherent over and over again, only to slowly back away into the darkness when Grant addresses her. He calls out to her, only to be answered by his own echoes…though I’m not entirely sure they’re all his (he said, knowingly).

Joined by his no-nonsense producer Sydney (Lisa Houle) and starry-eyed tech engineer Laurel-Ann (Georgina Reilly, pulling off that “girl next door/looking good while not looking like she’s trying to look good” appeal so well), Grant goes about his morning business battling back his winter blues to give the hosers something to listen to on their way to cut down trees and wrestle beavers and play hockey and whatever else it is Canucks do for work. They’re your typical talk radio trio: Grant causes trouble, Syd tries to rein him in, and LA sides with the old man because she admires him and may or may not want to fuck him. That’s not just me being an old man saying that young girls are attracted to we fossils, through “daddy issues” or some misguided sense of “age = maturity = sexy”, either. My Evil Dead Bride actually said it as soon as we see their first morning exchange, so if that sounded sexist, blame her!
Editor’s Note: She was TOTALLY eye-fucking Mazzy. This is NOT UP FOR DEBATE.

After a morning of what I’m presuming to be their typical “office family” squabbles, news of a hostage situation comes in over the radio band with a pair of gunmen holding a van of people against their will… you know, hence the term “hostage situation”. Thanks to LA “accidentally” feeding it into the booth to him against Syd’s wishes, Mazzola (the Indians call him “Maize”) reports on it prior to any police approval, while also implying that everybody involved is probably drunk, including the alcoholic local constabulary. Following, the station is called to drop the story as it’s officially been “resolved”, leading to a nice little exchange between Mazz and Syd where she politely tells him that their listeners are small time folk who prefer their shared small town ignorance, as the cops are actually alcoholics and, while we’re peeking behind the curtain, CLSY’s reporter/weatherman/traffic guy Ken Loney’s “chopper” is just a Dodge Dart he parks on top of the tallest hill. Everybody knows it, but they just like to pretend his sound effects are the real thing. A town just oozing blissful ignorance. Mazz in turn opens up to Syd, confessing that he’s got serious depression issues and every winter wonders if he’ll be able to hold out long enough to see the Spring again. Cue the canned audience noise where everybody goes “Awwwwwww”, but in an awkward way where they’re all worried that Grant will lose it and hang himself from the only bridge in town.

Immediately following their little moment, another newsflash comes in about a big mob of people swarming around the office of John Mendez: a local doctor who’s had recent controversy with writing questionable prescriptions. “Chopper” man Ken (voiced by Rick Roberts) calls in with a play-by-play of the pure chaos on the scene, including “an explosion of people”, bodies all over the place, and military trucks and helicopters (real ones) coming in from out of nowhere. Mazztermind wants to cover the story, but Syd would rather keep the airwaves free of potential public panicking turmoil while she tries to dig up something official that they can report. Mazzter Blaster is forced to go ahead with the planned show, including a performance by their special guests: local a cappella group Lawrence and the Arabians! Fun fact: the guy playing the group’s titular leader is none other than writer Tony Burgess. Hold onto that one next time you and your friends are playing DIY horror movie Trivial Pursuit.

As you can imagine, this performance doesn’t sit well with our self-professed bastion of truthy journalism…until shit gets interesting when Maureen/Farraj, one of the “Arabians” (I see Canadians don’t have the hang-ups with wearing black face that we do down here in North America’s ever-expanding waistband), starts speaking gibberish and eventually just breaks down into repeatedly shouting “PRA!”. Hannah Fleming, who plays the girl, actually does pretty well with her brief smattering of dialogue and that’s saying something coming from the guy who’d rather watch the child actors of the world thrown onto one massive tire fire than have to watch them “act”. Good for you, Hannah. Maybe when you’re older I’ll get to see you in a role with a few more lines and a lot less racial insensitive minstrel show shit smeared on your face!

As more reports make their way into the station, we learn that the people from the Mendez incident have formed into a “herd” of maniacs, swarming like bugs over people trapped in their cars, and collectively making weird sounds (like windshield wipers) or speaking utterances and phrases in unison as if they’re all connected with a hive mind. While trying to sift through the deluge of updates, suddenly the BBC is contacting CLSY in an effort to verify reports that the rest of the world is getting – news about military quarantining of the entire town and a possible terrorist insurgency/mass political uprising in progress! Not much later, an emergency message broadcast breaks into the station’s signal, relaying in French about how everyone within earshot should avoid loved ones, using terms of endearment, and speaking English…and how they also shouldn’t translate this message into English… which Mazzy and friends do…over the air…oops. Keep fucking that chicken, Grant.

Ken escapes the mob, holds up in a grain silo somewhere in town, and calls in to report further. We listen to a man whose face we’ll never even see as he sobs on the brink of total collapse about things he’s seen today “that are going to ruin the rest of his natural life”. Don’t worry Ken, I’m pretty sure your natural life won’t be haunting you much longer. Over the air, Ken relates how everyone is acting less than human and more like wild-eyed like dogs, cannibalizing anyone in their path, and tearing people apart with their bare teeth. Listening to Ken narrate everything to us is somehow far more intense than if we were watching it ourselves. Seeing the three in the studio hanging on each panicked word just as desperately only adds to it. When he records the twisted baby-like screams escaping an infected victim’s throat before it dies, followed by Grant descending into his own auditory hallucinations inside the sound booth? Fuck. That’s some stomach churning Silent Hill levels of terror tension. The games, not those dumbass movies.

When the horror movie paranoia and isolation kick into full swing, Mazzter & Commander and Syd argue right out the front door and into the awaiting blizzard (like I said, Canada)…where a horde of mindless psychos nearby catch wind of their exchange and start screaming “DON’T YOU WALK OUT ON ME, GRANT!” together, mimicking Sydney. Director Bruce McDonald refers to the infected as “conversationalists” rather than zombies, given that they’re not dead and they’re continuously listening while repeating words in a twisted form of symptomatic conversation with their victims. A great concept, but a twist in the vas deferens for someone like myself who doesn’t want to type “conversationalists” twenty or thirty times over the course of a few dozen paragraphs. As such, since they’re all basically brain dead on a conscious level, I’m sticking with “zombies”. If you don’t like it, then in the words of the epic poet Homer (Simpson), go to Russia!…like I will be in a future World Tour installment! Hope they’ve got enough vodka stocked away. Not for me, for them. I’m a whiskey kinda guy.

Barricading themselves in the studio and attempting to maintain their sanity by going on with the show (starting with a surreal obituaries segment), Laurel-Ann joins the ranks of the zombies almost immediately after, standing in place and mimicking the whistle of a tea kettle as she stares off into nothing. This is when Doc Mendez (and his German accent?), the guy whose practice went up in an explosion of bodies and flames earlier, crawls in through a window! He hurries Syd into the sound booth with Snazzy Mazzy and starts telling us what he’s learned by studying the outbreak’s victims. Meanwhile, LA spirals into her own zombiehood as her co-workers watch in saddened horror. To make matters worse, Ken calls back in finally…only to start losing his own mind as we listen to him jibber-jabber away the closing incoherent lines of his life story. Mister T would not like this virus.

Syd drops a shocking little revelation about Ken after his “passing” that fits in with her previous theme of small town not-so-secrets secrets that folks would rather ignore than confront. The twisted look of surprise and disgust on Grant’s face during this is priceless and mirrors what the audience is probably feeling at hearing the same news. Anyway, according to Mendez (whose accent I can’t hear without picturing Dr. Scott in Rocky Horror), the victims of the virus degrade into little more than a “crude radio signal” that’s just seeking something to bounce off of. His theory is that the it’s some kind of “god bug” that spontaneously came into being and is spreading, unpredictably and possibly boundless, infecting people at random and reproducing at epidemic proportions. And how is this bug being passed? Through the blood? Through the air? No. It’s being spread through the mind. Specifically, through the English language. Somehow words are becoming “infected”, and when these infected words reach into a victim’s brain and are understood, it turns the victim into a mindless animal. It then forces them to “hunt” for more words. And when they find someone speaking said words? They rip out their victim’s throat. And if they can’t find a victim? They die. Violently. And Vomity. The only motivator for one animal to murder the fuck out of another animal: self preservation.

In an effort to stem the virus from infecting them too, Syd and Grant stick to communicating in French and through written notes, while Mendez rambles in what may or may not be unsubtitled German. Sooner than later, the mob make their way into the building, but are lured away by a recording of All That Mazz saying “Sydney Briar is alive” played over the outside loudspeaker. Because things can’t be that easy (remember, we’re in an outbreak movie!), a random blip in the power causes everything to reset, defaulting to a playing of the Canadian National Anthem inside the building that lures the mob back in, all shouting “OH CANADA!”. Mendez runs off into the blizzard shouting “Sydney Briar is alive!”, presumably to perish as he leads the maniacs away to give Mazz and Syd a chance for safety. So much for my theory that Mendez was part of some Nazi think tank whose experiment to destroy the world through a 70 year old genocide project got away from them, what with the zombos’ rambling about Hitler and U-Boats. Oh well.

Trapped together in a supply room, Syd works on drinking herself into a numb oblivion and writing stuff on the walls in Sharpie like a teenager, while Grant tries to figure out how to cure the virus. His theory? The reason people are repeating the words over and over again is to say them so much that the words lose meaning, thus losing their contaminating power. It’s a defense mechanism by their immune systems attempting to purge the invading taint. The Mazzter Baiter’s idea for a cure? Don’t just repeat the words until they’re meaningless, but reteach the infected a new meaning to the words. Example? When Syd starts to lose it, her trigger word is “kill”. Instead, Grant keeps repeating “kill is kiss” to her until her brain replaces the meaning of the word “kill” with the meaning of “kiss”, thus curing the trigger! It’s weird, it’s a bit heady for a movie most people will probably expect to be a basic zombie schmoz coming into it, but it’s different. It works though, with Syd whispering “kill me” after, leading to the resolution of that “just fuck already!” workplace sexual tension between the two as they trade spit. It’s like some kind of emo romance thing.

Grant makes one last broadcast in an effort to fix the problem, but it’s like putting a band-aid on a severed leg. Too little, too late. The only people who know the cure take it to their bomb obliterated graves with them as Pontypool becomes a victim of the Return of the Living Dead Protocol. But, to his credit, Grant Mazzy’s last words are spent shitting all over the heavy handed government who responds to something they don’t understand by murdering an entire town of people in fire and thunder. It’s a brilliant tirade, and I don’t use that word casually either, because this diatribe is fucking brilliant to behold. Stick around after the credits though, because there’s a fun, entirely nonsensical stinger at the end that gives our heroes a fucking insane Tarantino-ish happy (I think?!) ending send-off. I hope to see you on the other side, Johnny Deadeyes and Lisa the Killer!

Before I get into the technicals, I’d just like to make mention that the term “OPP” dances through the dialogue time and again. OPP stands for “Ontario Provincial Police”, hence its frequent usage in a Canadian quarantine flick. All I could think of every time I heard “OPP” though, is that Naughty By Nature’s message of what they were “down with” had a whole different meaning up North. In Canada, they must’ve come off as the most law abiding, Kilted Yaksmen supporting rappers ever!

Pontypool. Holy. Shit. Holiest of shits. My faith in movies as a means to grab me by the nose hairs and make me feel things has been restored. Freddie Mercury meme goes here. I have not felt this sense of dread and suspense licking my neck with its barbed tongue since [REC]. While that movie managed it by utilizing the “found footage” method to perfection, Pontypool does it on pure pacing. Oh, and Stephen McHattie (who looks a LOT like Lance Henriksen from the right angle). Stephen McHattie’s like…fuck. His performance is uncannily good here! It’s almost inhuman. Like my Evil Dead Bride said, he was like Dennis Hopper levels of grand with his perfect transition of casual into intensity into stoic into in-fucking-sanity and back into “fuck you” stoic. Mazzy keeps his shit together, but not without faltering here and there so we can be impressed with how quickly he regains his shit just when you think he’s gonna lose it down his pant leg. McHattie acts his ass raw. Down to the bone. I hear he had to sit on a hemorrhoid doughnut for a month after they wrapped filming before they could find a compatible donor for seat meat implants. So much more than I expected from the evil NRA guy from Shoot ‘Em Up. Odd coincidence how he’s the connecting element between the Tomb’s first two 5 star features… and weird as John Merrick’s balls how McHattie looks like Jon Astin on the DVD cover art.

The minimal approach is just so fucking potent! It’s full-on tension. I said it before, but it bears repeating: it’s a thousand times more effective than anything they could actually show us. There’s very little in the way of graphic violence (really, there’s just zom Laurel-Ann bashing her face off of a window and hyper barfing all over the place), but it’s the way that we’re relayed the violence verbally that haunts us. The voice acting by Rick Roberts as Ken as he tells us all of the horrors he’s seeing is fantastic. It’s intense, borderline heartbreaking stuff to hear. The characterization of our tiny group is excellent. Pardon me for finding myself unable to stop sucking it’s metaphorical dick, but this has to be one of the best slow builds I’ve ever seen. If you’re looking for a fast paced splatter-palooza, this is not the movie you want. They’re great in their own right (one of my favorite sub-sub-genres, really), but Pontypool is all about the drama and gradual slide into deep horror. To keep you on your toes, there are also these weird, brain poking moments where reality seems to hiccup. As if the movie is a nightmare coming apart in places as the threads unravel. They’re not as blatant as the “PANCAKES!” scene in Cabin Fever, but they’ll get your attention.

Beyond that, there’s not really a whole lot left for me to say on why I love the maple syrup out of this motherfucker! Let’s bathe in a bit of the afterglow before we go.

There are/were two sequels to Pontypool that were actually planned before this initial installment. They’re supposed to provide more exposition, according to Burgess and McDonald, but given the nature of most sequels, this knowledge fills me with more apprehension than anticipation. When something unique really works for a movie like this (i.e. the isolation and the very slow-but-satisfying expositional foreplay), it doesn’t usually carry over to the follow-up. Remember how The Blair Witch Project and Quarantine both went from “found footage” benchmarks directly into paint-by-numbers horror movie sequels? I have this stabbing dread in my liver that Ponty 2: Electric Booga-Pool Harder would just try to be a low budget World War Z… or that could just be a serious infection from that uncooked meat I ate yesterday. Hey, I just can’t say no to ChiChi’s Baby Tartare Enchiladas! And yes, ChiChi’s does still exist, but only in China, Belgium, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Indonesia and here in the Underworld.

Given that it’s been 7 years since the first sequel was announced at the 2009 Cannes, and director McDonald and writer Burgess have had a dozen or so other movie and TV projects between their respective schedules since with NO sign of any actual progress on the proposed Pontypool Changes (not as good as my title, to be honest), I’m going to officially call it a Natalie Wood – dead in the water. Natalie Wood: the only kind of wood that doesn’t float! Or, if you’re going for a more “upturned proboscis” approach, you can call it a Virginia Woolf. Pinkies up, fuckers!

Oh well. As douche-snob shithead as this might sound, I prefer my PP pure… call me a hipster and I’ll feed you your mother’s insides colon end first. Just focus on the part where I “peepee” and let’s move on.

Pontypool was also done as an hour long radio play that was broadcast on the BBC’s website, which I was legit excited to hear of, considering the H.G. Wells “War of the Worlds” vibe I was feeling throughout the length of the feature. Sadly, all attempts on my part to find a playable version of it met with dead ends. The best I could drudge up was a YouTube video someone put together of Mazzy’s radio material as taken from the flick. Speaking of the spoken word, if IMDB is to be believed, Burgess’s original concept for the movie was going to be the “The Outer Limits” style oscillator image (seen in the movie’s opening) as the singular visual, bouncing along to Burgess’s voice as he simply read the script for an hour and a half… Might’ve been okay as some kind of performance piece, but as a movie you’re asking people to pay money to see? Outta your fucking mind. Besides, we would’ve been robbed of McHattie’s brilliant visual performance that came along with the verbal. A performance that probably gave Sir Alec Guinness’s ghost an erect lightsaber as he watched from Jedi Heaven. What does that even mean? I don’t know! I may have just become infected… TIME TO GO! GO! GO! GO? GO! GO! GO!

Seriously mine peeples, why wouldst thou be breeders of sinners? Get thee to a Netflixery and submerge thy selves in the Pontypool, lest I pity thee as fools, eh?

With the finale of our episode, so ends our time in France’s North American piece-on-the-side. The Canadian Chuck Norris, Zap Rowsdower, welcomes you to get the fuck out. See you next time in [REDACTED]! To the airport!

Moral of the Story: Genocides are always better when accompanied by elevator music.

Screenshots_____

Typoo – what it’s called when your spelling and grammar mistakes are so far from correct, they’re just straight up unrepentant shit.


That’s a few too many man rings there, Grant. Just buy a pair of brass knuckles and be done with it.


The only movie where you can watch Joey Ramone sexually propositioning a fish. In real life he was more a marsupial type of guy.


This reminds me of Monkey Shines… but Pontypool is still a great movie in spite of that. Fuck you, Monkey Shines.


“Wait till she finds out that I replaced the morning weather report with a track of nothing but fart sounds! And that I replaced her coffee creamer with Ex-Lax! And that I replaced her birth control pills with rat poison! … What the fuck is wrong with me!?”


“‘Best part of waking up’ my ass. This stuff tastes like it was poured out of a ranch hand’s boot at the end of a long day.”


Ever since Laurel-Ann made the joke about how microphones are robot penises, Grant doesn’t like having his nearly as close to his face as before.


Ladies and gentlemen, the look of an actress who just realized her current role should probably be left off of any future audition reels.


“Why so serious?!”


That moment when you’re in the middle of introducing your morning interview guest and regret having a breakfast of nothing but coffee and bran muffins.


Grant gets a little too wrapped up in his latest promo read for Crazy Larry’s Discount Used Cars. “WE’RE NOT JUST CRAZY AT CRAZY LARRY’S! WE’RE FUCKING INSAAAAAAANE!”


“All work and no play makes Syd a dull girl. All work and no play makes Syd a dull girl. All work and no play makes Syd a dull girl. All work…”

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Anubis will return next time in
“How Sweet”

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