Bruce McDonald on PONTYPOOL

The Face of Terror: Stephen McHattie in PONTYPOOL

The Face of Terror: Stephen McHattie in PONTYPOOL

Flat-out, rip yer guts out, splatter the gore against the lens horror is just fine with me. I dug HOSTEL, liked Carpenter’s THE THING and, of course, HALLOWEEN. (All those teen-stalker and NIGHTMARE ripoffs, though, don’t really do it for me — too much winking at the audience.)

PONTYPOOL takes a more subtle tack to freaking its audience out: Set mostly in a lonely, Canadian radio station, most of the horror is not in what you see, but what you hear, in panicked phone calls to the morning shock jock (Stephen McHattie) and in the growing thrum of an irrational, flesh-hungry mob outside. That the cause of the panic has everything to do with what is heard and what can be said only gives the setting a nice, meta feel.

I got to speak with director McDonald about building dread within a confined setting and on a limited budget.


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