Pontypool

From the onset, I got the feeling that Pontypool was going to be a very unique horror movie. Yes, every movie we have watched in class so far is very different from each other, but Pontypool had a movie indie-high-concept vibe. After the first twenty minutes or so of the movie was spent mostly within the confines of the radio station, I realized that the entire movie would never leave the basement radio station. I began to ask myself where the horror was going to come from. I was thinking that the movie faced a very tough task ahead to inflict horror upon its audience if the horror itself was completely outside the visual range of the movie and was only made manifest in the form of audio reports from eyewitnesses.

Pontypool for me can provide the audience with a very visual representation of Barbara Creed’s idea of abjection. There are two ways in which abjection is presented in the movie. The first is the separation between the radio station and the horrors outside. The second is how language was invaded by the monster, creating a very unique crossing over of borders that I’ve never seen before in any other movie.

The separation between the radio station and the mysterious horrors throughout the rest of Pontypool is the most obvious form of abjection and separation in the movie. Inside the radio station, the people are safe and isolated from the ever-degenerating situation outside. Inside the radio station the normal and acceptable thrive. The only connection the people within the station have with the outside is through spoken communication. Despite the horror felt by the radio people because of the mystery of the events outside, one can imagine that the people in the radio station are also in a way happy and relieved that they are not a part of the events outside. They are happy that they are separate from the horror, with language being their only link to the outside.

This all changes when the border between the radio station and the horrific outside is broken. A member of the radio station eventually morphs into a zombie followed by a whole army of zombies invading the station, bringing with them all forms of images of abjection such as vomit, pus, and blood. At this point, the border dividing the normal and abject is crossed and the monster becomes very real to the radio people, who were previously safe with language as their only connection to the outside.

This language however is where the second border is crossed by the monster. What was previously safe and normal turned out to be the very carrier of what was horrific. This created a very unique kind of monster. Whereas other films make use of the border between man and beast or between evil and good to create the monster, Pontypool breached a completely new border by having the horror cross the border between man and language. This is especially horrifying for the radio people because their one connection to the outside world which they were hiding behind became the very object of horror for them.

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