Horror is a genre that has always fascinated me. While sci-fi and fantasy were my first loves, I’ve always felt more at home, creatively, in horror. Maybe that makes me weird. I don’t know. The genre is just so damn expansive that nearly any story can fit within it. Regardless of it’s body count, gore-spillage, or chill-factor, if a story makes you uneasy, and leaves you unsettled and changed, you can call it horror.
There have been few horror films in the last decade that did anything for me. They all seemed to use shock and disorienting editing as a mask for their lack of ingenuity and any visual style. Disgust for the sake of disgusting someone is a pointless endeavor. As the rest of the world embraced this faux realism of torture and hideous remakes, I proclaimed the genre mostly-dead. Which as we all know is not the same as all-dead. There were a few macabre heartbeats out there.
As I said, a film that is disgusting for no other reason than just ‘cuz, I view as a complete and total waste of time…
…And then Kevin Smith told a story about a fucking Walrus.
On Smodcast a few weeks back, Kevin Smith read an ad online by someone in the UK seeking a lodger. This lodger could live with them free of charge as long as they wore a Walrus costume and ate crab and fish when requested. The ad poster had befriended a Walrus while lost at sea and wanted to see his friend again. This was his idea as to how.
Smith and Scott Mosier got to outlining a hilariously disturbing film based on the idea called “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” The kind of thing that made me twinge and burst out laughing at the same time. It was a deep, honest, gut reaction. Everything about it sounded unsettling and petrifying and SO funny. I sometimes find that the best horror makes you feel this way. Obviously what’s occurring is utter nonsense, but for some reason, I’m terrified. Fear is such a simple, yet complex, emotion that unless you’re so scared you want to laugh, it isn’t scary.
Keep in mind, had ANYONE ELSE talked about making a film about a man being sewn into a walrus suit and losing his sense of self-going “Full Walrus”-I would have dismissed it right away. I will admit right now that my 15 year love affair with the man’s work makes me more than a little biased. He deserves the benefit of the doubt in my eyes.
Even stronger than that is my love for artists breaking out of the box people have tried to keep them in. When I hear that a filmmaker I respect is doing something unlike anything they’ve done before, I’m sold. Which is the major reason I was so thrilled for Smith’s previous horror film “Red State”. It’s not a perfect film (what a stupid phrase. Is there such a thing as a perfect film?) but it’s unlike any other film I’ve seen. It changes directions numerous times without ever feeling like a different movie, has almost no redeemable characters, not a shred of hope, and was in no way predictable.
After the episode of Smodcast, Smith mentioned that if you liked the idea for the movie then tweet him #WalrusYes. If not, #WalrusNo. I tweeted #WalrusHellYes!
Why? This sounds almost like everything I’ve hated for the last ten years.
Ah. That’s it. “almost like everything” isn’t the same as “Just like” or “all like everything.”
What strikes me about it is how intensely insane and dementedly funny and absurd the whole concept is. I almost WANT the crazy guy to get his Walrus back. In a way, I feel for him. He lost a friend and would do anything to get him back. Even if that means keeping another human captive in a pit and forcing them to go “Full Walrus.” Unlike “The Human Centipede,” which was just gross, you can kind of see why someone would do this.
You keep thinking, “Something like this can’t really exist…can it?” “Can someone who has only ever made comedies and one horror movie handle material this out there and make it work?”
The question of “could something this bizarre be told” is at the heart of every great horror film. And the answer to this one may very well be #WalrusHellYes!
(Below is a video of Smith doing a far better job than myself explaining everything about the movie, with a lot of great updates that make the project even more exciting.)