In 2014 Kevin Smith made a “black comedy horror film” released through A24 called Tusk.
The movie stars Justin Long as Wallace Bryton, a co-host of a podcast called The Not-See Party where he and his friend Teddy Craft mock people in viral fail videos. Wallace decides to go to Canada to interview the viral “Kill Bill kid” who filmed himself accidentally severing his leg with a katana he got after seeing the movie Kill Bill:
However, when Wallace arrives in Canada, he is selfishly upset to learn the “Kill Bill kid” has died by suicide. Wallace then accepts an invitation for dinner at the mansion of Howard Howe (Michael Parks), a retiree who promises Wallace “interesting stories”. Howe tells Wallace about a Walrus named “Mr. Tusk” who rescued Howe when he was lost at sea.
Wallace then wakes up with his leg amputated. He realizes Howe drugged his tea the night before. Howe confronts Wallace and tells him he places to turn him into a living walrus to replace Mr. Tusk. It turns out, Howe actually ate Mr. Tusk in order to survive! So he’s spent the rest of his life trying to recreate Mr. Tusk out of guilt. Here is the (horrific) trailer:
Tusk is truly just one of the most bizarre horror movies of all time. Given that the film is pitched as a horror comedy and we know Kevin Smith as at the helm, it’s pretty much what people signed up for. However, is the bizarreness scary? Does it make Tusk an actually good horror film, or was it just good marketing?
The Human Centipede (2009) for instance, is not a horror comedy and features a somewhat similar plot point of a mad scientist deciding to mutilate his victims in order to turn them into a kind of beastly companion. That movie was also horrifying, and pretty disgusting. Like that movie, Tusk is so out there that it does work as a horror movie. What happens to Justin Long’s character is terrifying and the creepy feeling sticks with you as you remember the film.
Despite the film’s title, I actually did go in pretty blind. The movie was recommended by a friend and we decided to put it on without much conversation. At first when Wallace just passes out and you realize Howe doesn’t need a wheelchair and can walk, it’s a pretty powerful horror movie moment. The horror keeps coming as Wallace wakes up and Howe explains to him what is going to happen to him and Wallace has no choice but to accept his fate.
Tusk is the first movie in a trilogy, though since the first two movies have been critical and financial failures it’s unclear whether the third film will ever get made. The second movie in the trilogy was Yoga Hosers (2016), in which two 15-year-old yogis battle a group of high school satanists and one foot tall Nazi bratwursts:
The third film in the series is titled Moose Jaws. Kevin describes the plot as “just Jaws with a moose.” He promises “it’s awesome… There’s a scene where a moose is eating like a nine year old kid right out of the lake and stuff.” As of 2020, Smith was still working on the script.