FULL DISCLOSURE: I had an all too brief (for me) flirtation as an employee of Mr. Smith in 2012. An unfortunate series of events such as bad timing, not impressing who I needed to impress and running out of necessary cash to survive in LA lead to a voicemail termination of services. This article will be my last hoorah, if you will, into the ever growing world of SModcast Pictures with a film that I was close to working on and…well…didn’t. With that being said, this is my counterpoint article in defense of latest SMod release, TUSK.

TUSK, when announced, was something that intrigued me beyond anything the SModfather had done in the past. I’m a massive (in size and fandom) Tales from the Crypt fan and this seemed right up my alley. TUSK was born out of a podcast so it only makes sense that a podcast is what grounds the film. Wallace Bryton and Teddy Craft, played by Justin Long and Haley Joel Osment respectively, host an insanely popular podcast that sees (hears?) the two friends talk about random events/videos/people and find the humor in them (sound familiar?). When Bryton takes a trip to Canada in order to interview one of their audio victims…a sad turn of events leads him to the home of Howard Howe (portrayed by the always brilliant Michael Parks) who proceeds to spew tales of a life well lived. These stories, however, have a price…

The next hour takes you on a twisted, wild ride of horror and comedy that is part Frankenstein, The Evil Dead II and Human Centipede…but, y’know…with a walrus. Speaking of the walrus, the Mr. Tusk make-up is one of the (downright) creepiest and amazing practical effects I’ve seen in quite some time. I was legitimately stunned when Long appeared on screen as no longer a human, but a patchwork quilt of horror and dispair. The scenes between Mr. Tusk and his creator are some of the darkest, well written that I’ve seen in modern horror that are only added upon when we finally find out the reason Howe is walrus-shit crazy and the intentions he has for both himself and Tusk.

TUSK is a fun film. It’s a film that was born of insanity and that insanity translates very well on the screen. My only complaint is that I would have liked the climax between Howe and Tusk to be longer, perhaps even show more. But, in today’s cinema, if that’s my only complaint then the filmmaker is doing just fine. Other critics have called this film the rebirth of Kevin Smith. I disagree. Smith doesn’t need to be reborn as he never went away. He’s making his films on his time and as only he can. With that said, don’t take my, his or their word for it. See the flick and form your own opinion.

P.S. I really hope the actor they chose to portray Guy Lapointe gets more roles. He seems like a decent actor…

Counterpoint: In Defense of Kevin Smith's TUSK
TUSK is a fun ride with great dialogue and awesome make-up. The rebirth of Kevin Smith need not apply because he never left.
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