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April 29, 2012

The Mike's Top 50 Horror Movies Countdown: #38 - Pontypool

Previously on the Countdown: Number 50 - Happy Birthday to Me  Number 49 - Prince of Darkness  Number 48 - House on Haunted Hill  Number 47 - The Monster Squad  Number 46 - Hellraiser  Number 45 - The Fog  Number 44 - Creature From the Black Lagoon  Number 43 - Zombie  Number 42 - Tales from the Crypt  Number 41 - Bubba Ho-Tep  Number 40 - Phantom of the Paradise Number 39 - Dog Soldiers
(2008, Dir. by Bruce McDonald.)
Why It's Here:
The zombie genre has been pretty much ruined during the last decade, despite fantastic outliers like the Dawn of the Dead remake, The Walking Dead, and (depending on who you debate) 28 Days Later.  The films by Danny Boyle and Zack Snyder that I mentioned above - which propelled both directors to mainstream success and critical acclaim - also led to a slew of boring or inept or even insulting zombie flicks.  Hidden among them is a true treasure, Pontypool, which turns a radio DJ's booth into ground zero for the zombie apocalypse.  Led by dynamite turns by Stephen McHattie and Lisa Houle (a real life husband/wife team), Pontypool provides a thoughtful and unique perspective on horror that is extremely welcome.
The Moment That Changes Everything:
As McHattie's Grant Mazzy often repeats, Laurel-Ann Drummond - a young war veteran who now helps at the studio - is the pride of the small town of Pontypool.  When she becomes directly involved with the infection - and when Mazzy has to recount what he's seeing to his listeners and the viewers, the film really starts to hit home.
It Makes a Great Double Feature With:
Really I just feel like the best thing to go along with Pontypool would be the amazing radio production of War of the Worlds that the great Orson Welles put together back in the day.  I suppose Spielberg's movie would be equally apocalyptic, but the radio connection to Welles' harrowing account of the story was too good to pass up.
What It Means To Me:
Pontypool, like many of my favorite recent horror films, is groundbreaking, original, and interesting.  Those qualities are missing from so many modern horror films, but it's a favorite for more reasons than just its uniqueness.  Pontypool is like a good book, letting us imagine much of the horror as it's told instead of shown, and that opens up a world of possibilities for the horror lovin' mind. 

1 comment:

Kev D. said...

Hey man, just started going through your list, and SO PSYCHED to see this here. It's one of my top zombie films of all time. Great list so far, keep it comin'!!!!