Friday, January 21, 2022

The Pizzagate Massacre


The Pizzagate Massacre
John Valley

Initially upon finding The Pizzagate Massacre I assumed from the poster and trailer that it would be an ultra-exploitative trash film in the vein of Troma’s output. Not one to be deterred by tastelessness, I was very curious just how it would handle the subject matter and just how far it would go. For the uninitiated (although I don’t know how that can be at this point), Pizzagate was a once popular conspiracy that the basement of a pizza restaurant was in fact where secret rituals were being held by celebrities and politicians who are in fact lizard people that drink the blood of infants. It’s loopy nonsense that has set an entire nation on fire and has resulted in real life deaths.

So why not make a movie about it? That’s exploitation 101.


"Thin crust is a deep state conspiracy."

So, it came as a surprise that the movie approaches its characters as real people caught up in their desperate lives, where reaching out to a conspiracy is a way to contextualize their powerlessness. They have real emotions underpinning their actions no matter how absurd (or deadly) the entire the situation becomes. The movie is a comedy upfront, but things become and more dire as our leads find their quest spiraling into chaos.

Karen Black (Alexandria Payne) is an intern at a conspiracy news channel and almost immediately falls for the ranting of popular host, Terri Lee (Lee Edd). She decides to film a documentary about what is really going on in the basement of a Texas pizza joint named Toots Pizza. She enlists the help of a local militia member named Duncan Plump (Tinus Seaux) who just happens to be the son of infamous cult leader David Koresh. The pair begin their road trip to reveal the truth to the world.


"No, it's fine. This is just marinara on my hand."

Tinus imbues Duncan with a real humanity and that is no small task considering the character is a conspiracy driven former white nationalist with an incredibly murky outlook on the world. What emerges from underneath that is a sad, scared person who is desperately in search of a cause that will absolve him of his past wrongs, but he is only capable of digging himself in deeper. Karen is much more of blank slate. She seems to willingly believe anything put in front of her, whether it is a questionable news show or a very questionable road trip companion. Underneath though, there is something more sinister, an opportunist who’s only real aim is accomplish her goals at any cost.

I could look upon The Pizzagate Massacre as update of sorts to Falling Down (1993), where instead of a white man raging against the loss of privilege he expected to enjoy, we are given two people who are desperate to find the one thing that could make their lives (and in their skewed idealism, the entire world) a better place. I expected the movie to tease us with the possibility of actual lizard people but to do so would justify all the horrors that take place. We make the horrors, and that responsibility can not be passed on to some inhuman thing.

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