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Tusk: A Unique Horror Film That Features Some of Kevin Smith’s Most Inspired Work

April 26, 2018

Tusk movie poster

 

“I wanted to right what I felt was the only wrong of Red State by scripting something with no religious or sexual politics that could grow up to be a weird little movie and not an indie film call-to-arms or a frustrated self-distribution manifesto. I just wanted to showcase Michael Parks in a fucked up story, where he could recite some Lewis Carroll and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” to some poor motherfucker sewn into a realistic walrus costume.” – Kevin Smith –  2013

Tusk is a very original film that features a kidnapped podcaster being turned into a walrus. When I first heard about Tusk I was instantly excited because I loved what Kevin Smith did with Red State and I dug that he was jumping into the horror world with reckless abandon.  He came up with the idea on his podcast and you could tell he was super passionate about making the best movie possible. I remember searching for every update and being very curious as to how a movie involving a man being modified into a walrus would turn out. The end result was a very pleasant surprise and between the cinematography, set design and Michael Parks monologues, I think it is one of Smith’s best films.

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I’ve been a fan of Kevin Smith since 1995 when I watched Clerks on VHS and it blew my young mind. I loved the Star Wars references, the immense amount of profanity and the dynamic between Dante and Randall who talked about absolutely nothing (and everything) at the same time.  After watching Clerks I made sure to watch, read or listen to whatever he created because I appreciated that he made his own way in Hollywood.  I like Tusk so much because he went away from the View Askew universe and made something very unique and original. Making a film like Tusk is a massive gamble because it is in no way mainstream and the majority of Smith’s fandom might be disappointed because there are no Star Wars references or appearances from Jay and Silent Bob. Tusk is a weird film and even though it wasn’t especially successful or beloved by critics it should be respected because it is so damn weird.

The story revolves around a snarky blogger named Wallace (Justin Long – very game performance) who interviews disgraced internet stars and uses their viral failures to build his snarkily titled podcast The Not-See Party. Wallace’s caustic tone and bitterness are due to him being a failed standup comedian who found popularity in his mean-spirited podcasts that he records with his slightly more jovial friend Teddy (Haley Joel Osmont).  Problems arise when Wallace travels to Canada and learns his latest interview subject killed himself and left him without anyone to interview. Wallace decides to stay around another day in search of an interview and unluckily finds an ad in a bathroom that offers “a lifetime of interesting stories” to anybody who is willing to travel to the middle of nowhere Manitoba to hear them.

Tusk Justin Long

 

Desperate and not wanting to waste his trip to Canada Wallace drives out to Manitoba and arrives at a secluded mansion owned by a wheelchair-bound older gentleman named Howard Howe (Michael Parks – crushing it). The introduction is about as creepy as imaginable and leads to Howard waxing poetic about being shipwrecked and saved by a walrus named “Mr. Tusk.” Wallace soon realizes his tea was drugged, and when he wakes up is strapped to a wheelchair and missing his left leg. It turns out Howard has been killing people for years and he plans on modifying Wallace’s body so it can fit inside a lifelike walrus costume so he can spend one final day with his buddy “Mr. Tusk.” Because this is a horror film, Wallace manages to momentarily get away and make a desperate call to Teddy and his girlfriend Ally (Genesis Rodriguez – so good Smith wrote her an impromptu monologue) who conveniently don’t pick up because they are having an affair. This leads to Teddy and Ally flying to Canada and teaming up with Johnny Depp (rocking a bonkers accent) to save Wallace and kill Howard.

I won’t spoil the rest because it goes to places I never expected or thought would happen. All I can say is be prepared for insane fights, weird accents, and enough monologues to last a lifetime.

The production design was legit.

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Tusk is weird. Tusk is fun  Tusk will annoy many people. Appreciate it for what it is because Kevin Smith embraced the dark-indie side and created an odd delight that is exactly what he wanted it to be.

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