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"Tusk" (2014) - Sam Gall's Movie Review Issue #21 Gem Mint 10.0

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

“Tusk” (2014) directed by Kevin Smith

"A brash and arrogant podcaster gets more than he bargained for when he travels to Canada to interview a mysterious recluse... who has a rather disturbing fondness for walruses."

And also, sorta reviewing, “The Human Centipede” (2009) and “The Skin I Live In” (2011)

You might like this if you like: horror/comedies (and no I don’t mean liking one or the other, I mean ones that purposely blend the two into one genre, I would like to make an assumption here that horror fans might like this more than comedy fans would, it’s not for the faint of heart) f*cked up movies (though I think this one soars above the rest), dark humor, Kevin Smith (it’s still his sick humor, but also shows a really wonderful sort of meditative darkness that he captures beautifully, for such a ridiculous idea, it’s executed terrifying well in a film like I’ve never seen before, and just that in itself I give props), Justin Long (love everything he does, one my favorite comedic and serious actors but I love him as a human being, his podcast “Life is Short” is incredible), the great, late Michael Parks (most younger fans would probably know him as BOTH the sheriff & Esteban from “Kill Bill”, but he was a rip roaring talent since the 60s), “Red State” (2011) where Kevin Smith first showed his interest in the horror/thriller genre which also stars Michael Parks, and if you love Johnny Depp enough... prepare to see him in one of the greatest and humbling roles you’ll ever see. It’s so good you might not even recognize him. And that’s okay. Just that he wanted to be in this so badly makes the experience so much better. Both his and Kevin Smith’s daughter are in this film as well), if you love laughing at messed up sh*t and appreciate horror films and enjoy the people involved in this film there’s a chance you’ll love this. I’ve literally listed all the ingredients I can think of to enjoy this... let’s say this... if you were able to laugh at “Human Centipede” (2009) but also kinda like that it was that entertainingly bad OR watched “The Skin I Live” (2011) and realized it was kinda like an insanely good disguised Spanish remake of “Human Centipede” (2009) you just might love “Tusk” (2014). It’s like the middle ground between those two with an appreciation for both sides and a witty, clever consciousness in the center.

Justin Long in "Tusk" (2014)

I will warn I have scarred people by showing them this film.. but upon a second viewing and a few days of recovering/conversing some appreciation rises. But not for everyone. I still know a few who hold grudges haha. But hey it’s just a movie 🙂 they can still appreciate that I showed them something unique. “The Oregonian” (2011) which I love and I have friends who worked on, is another that has scarred many of my friends by showing.. not throwing it into the same category as “Tusk” but they both have disturbing images in both but I will argue “Tusk”s is doing it with a stronger comedic hand. “Human Centipede” which I strangely watched with an old gaming buddy (SuPra Suhnny for those old gamer pals of mine) over a Netflix sync up via Xbox 360 headset listening to each other laugh and squeal at all the gruesome craziness of that sick movie.. so sick that I ended up (by myself) watching “The Human Centipede II” & “The Human Centipede III”... I think I almost love “bad” movies more than I do “good” which in turn makes them “good” in my eyes. Though I don’t feel the need to EVER WATCH THOSE AGAIN. I was happy I did it but glad to have gotten through them. I can only do so many of those types of films every once in awhile. But it made “The Skin I Live In” (2011) with Antonio Banderas so much better... it made “Tusk” (2014) so much better... though I still probably would’ve loved those two. Tarantino even stated this about “The Skin I Live In” (2011) by Pedro Almodovar “That was him doing a horror film, and it was f*cking amazing. I totally got the impression that — and I’m fairly sure I’m right about this — Pedro was watching The Human Centipede and thinking, You know, I know how to do this. I could do something really special with this. And that was The Skin I Live In.

Michael Parks, RIP, in "Tusk" (2014)

I feel like Kevin Smith saw both and did something really special of his own. The actors, Justin Long, Michael Parks, Johnny Depp, Genesis Rodriguez, Haley Joel Osment and even EpicMealTime’s Harley Morenstein who has a great little moment, all bring their f*cking A game. Michael Parks, especially, just solidifies the whole film for me. His brilliant performance is the true horror of this film. He is literally the horror genre shaking hands with the comedy genre (Justin Long) and it’s just a blast to see the two genre’s go head to head like this.

Justin Long (left) & Kevin Smith (right) promoting their film "Tusk" (2014)

The film was originally conceived on Kevin Smith’s Smodcast #259 where he was discussing an ad where a homeowner was offering a room for rent free of charge if the renter agreed to dress as a walrus. The discussion went on exploring ideas based on the original ad when Kevin Smith then tweeted at his follows to tweet back “#WalrusYes” or “#WalrusNo” if they wanted to see their hypothetical conversation turned into a film. The ad turned out to be a prank and the man behind it ended up an associate producer on the film as he was fan of Kevin Smith’s and the idea.

Just to quote Kevin Smith, “I wanted to right what I felt was the only wrong of Red State by scripting something with no religious or sexual politics that could grow up to be a weird little movie and not an indie film call-to-arms or a frustrated self-distribution manifesto. I just wanted to showcase Michael Parks in a f*cked up story, where he could recite some Lewis Carroll and 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' to some poor motherf*cker sewn into a realistic walrus costume."

If you like the ingredients I’ve mentioned you might like this. I love this movie for everyone involved. I love the idea. I love the music. I love that they seem like they’re just having a blast making this crazy movie. I love the genre blending. I love it all. I’ve seen it countless of times and shown it to many people.. some love it. Some hate it. Find out for yourself.

Written by Sam Gall on 04/09/20

CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0

"Tusk" (2014)

A thought-provoking, subtextual philosophical commentary on humanity and man, with an emotional and visual depth that is undisputedly the best work of [Kevin] Smith's career, Tusk is both brilliantly disturbing and disturbingly brilliant.” - Debbie Lynn Elias from Behind the Lens

Is Tusk a good movie? Eh. Did it make me laugh? Absolutely. Will I watch another "horror" movie by Kevin Smith? YES.” - Shannon McGrew from Nightmarish Conjurings

Parks does an amazing job in this role, to the point where his insane Human-Centipede-like scheme actually seems plausible.” - Amie Simon from Three Imaginary Girls

Tusk's biggest strength is that it knows what the audience's expectations are and it exceeds each of them. It is preposterous, disgusting, and hilarious. It is destined to be a classic, and was a hell of a lot of fun to watch.” - Deidre Crimmons from Film Thrills

Official Trailer for "Tusk" (2014) directed by Kevin Smith:

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