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I Hate Zombie Films, But Loved Pontypool

Topics: Popular Media | 2 CommentsBy admin | March 25, 2011

Does that mean it’s not a zombie film? I’m not going to let that trouble me. The thing that disturbs me most is that the virus in the film seems to be spreading to the real wor the real the wor the real wor real world.

I really don’t like zombie movies. Well, okay. I liked Night of the Living Dead when I was a kid. And Shaun of the Dead was fun. But in general, the basic idea behind a zombie movie – a mindless mob chomping on something that’s probably not healthy for them – is too much like just living in America – which I already do – for me to get excited about. Which is why it’s odd that I LOVED Pontypool, because it’s a zombie movie. Or is it? While the story does involve mindless mobs chomping on each other, they’re mostly offscreen. There is a bit of gore, but I wouldn’t actually call it gratuitous; it was pretty purposeful from a dramatic point of view. And the entire story pretty much takes place in the confines of a radio station, while the world outside is going mad. No, Pontypool is more a suspense film with cultural-linguistic and socio-political commentary. Sort of like Talk Radio meets the original War of the Worlds radio broadcast . But better. The film makes clever use of Antonin Artaud’s idea of theater as infection, and Burroughs’ concept of language as a virus. And the commentary I mentioned is used sparingly; this is really a pretty solid “low budget” suspense film, with a balanced dose of humor and a little mystery to engage you. Is it an alien zombie apocalypse? A biological warfare experiment gone wrong? Is the strange behavior of the unseen mobs being caused by something in the radio transmission? What if simply speaking transmitted a disease? How could you tell anyone? Except for that last question, these are familiar enough story premises, so Pontypool doesn’t kill them with exposition, instead letting them answer themselves as the story unfolds. But imagine if words broadcast over radio or television had the ability to spread a bizarre condition that in turn affected your speech to help transmit the condition further? That would be a prah. A prah. A prah. A prah. Oh crap. A prah. A PROBLEM. Actually, one of the most disturbing things about this clever little zombie suspense film is that it seems to be manifesting in the real world. See the two news clips below, after the trailer. Oh, and Pontypool was adapted from the book Pontypool Changes Everythingand is also available as a BBC radio play.

Global Toronto Reporter Mark McAllister Contracts The Pontypool Virus

CBS2′s Serene Branson Contracts The Pontypool Virus

Read Comments

  1. Posted by Edweird on 03.26.11 8:28 am

    I need to see Pontypool.

    Were those real reporters/bobble heads?

  2. Posted by admin on 03.26.11 8:37 am

    Those are real reporters, and both events were fairly recent.