Thursday, October 15, 2009

New movie Pontypool inspired by 1938 Orson Welles broadcast

A new Zombie horror movie with the innocuous sounding title of Pontypool appears to be tipping its hat to Orson Welles and his infamous 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast. The story is set in the radio studio of tiny station in the town of Pontypool, Canada. The DJ Grant Mazzy (played by Stephen McHattie) begins taking calls from terrified citizens reporting that people are suddenly behaving with extreme violence toward each other. It seems that a Zombie plague is infecting the population, but unlike other Zombie movies, where the disease is spread by bites, in this case the culprit looks to be certain words! Naturally this proves a bit of an impediment to the radio station in warning their rapidly dwindling listeners of the danger.

While I'm not entirely convinced by comparisons to the 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast, the filmmakers are clearly keen to make one. Watch the trailer on the official site and you'll immediately recognise the opening narration as channelling the ghost of Orson Welles. Of course Pontypool turns the concept of the War of the Worlds broadcast on its head. It’s not the radio station broadcasting a fake story, but trying to deal with the incoming news of a real panic occurring in the outside world.

The film is based on the novel Pontypool Changes Everything by Tony Burgess and seems to be getting good word of mouth. The trailer for Pontypool is certainly a tense piece of work.