Fantaspoa 2022 Review: PUSSYCAKE
Pussycake is an all girl rock band tearing it up in the local bars around town. Their manager Pato has arranged a gig on the coast where a record company will be in attendance. However, when the band - Elle, Sara, Juli and Sofi - gets to town no one is at the venue to greet them. Pato cannot find her friend, Simon, who organized this gig. The streets are pretty much deserted.
While Juli takes off for a hit of recreational drug use Pato and the rest of the girls continue to look for her friend. When they do find Simon something is wrong, very wrong, violently wrong. Getting a record deal is now the least of their worries.
Director Pablo Pares is a known quantity in his native Argentina, a respected filmmaker amongst his peers in the genre community. In the short time that I have discovered him I’ve thought of him to be a director who is wildly imaginative, appreciates being able to do his effects on the spot and to max out or make the most of the budgets of his costume and makeup departments. He’s a very creative and resourceful director.
First we want to address the elephant in the room, this bit of a stumbling block. Pussycake has a narrative and story structure that feels like we’re always missing pieces to the puzzle. It takes some getting used to at first but try not to let it get to you. By golly Pussycake has a deadline to meet and it will be damned if it stops to explain every little thing to you.
Wait! Who’s the dude in the cape? No time! On to the next scene. Wait! What does the vomit do? No time! On to the next scene, you’ll figure it out soon enough! Wait! What’s going on at the beach? No time! Here’s another bucket of vomit in your face! Wait! Vomit! What? Gore! (Sputter) Vomit again!
For every question you will have the answer is a bucket of gore or alien vomit. It’s completely mental. Seriously, if you get hung up on the structure, if you cannot let it slide, you’re going to miss out on all the fun!
Horror nerds are going to love, absolutely love, that a massive amount of the effects and gore is all done in camera. This is horror crack and there is enough here to feed your addiction. Pares has teamed up with regular effects contributor Simon Ratziel (Plaga Zombie 3, Daemonium y Soy Toxico). Add to the mix Marcos Berta who did effects work on Aterrados and Pares has a very strong team of effects artists at his disposal.
We also want to give a shout out to first time costume designer Loly Boer. We dare suggest that the costumes the band are wearing drew inspiration from a certain British girl band. Anahi Politti, a model who also appeared in the giallo throwback Crystal Eyes, wears an outfit that is especially spicy, both in the literal and figurative sense. Then there is another character who shows up in the movie who looks like they were pulled from that Daemonium universe as well. Kudos to Boer for her work on her first gig.
Apart from all of this gooy chaos Pussycake has a very surprising and sincere heart. We find some soul with the lovers Elle and Sara, often commenting about their beating hearts and stealing kisses in the fray. There is an unexpected degree of care taken during these scenes. They’re neither exploitative nor saccharin, they just are. Really surprised by this level of sincerity in an otherwise completely mental horror flick.
Pussycake is pure, uncut Midnighter fodder. It is absolutely frantic, manic, nonsensical and off the wall. Its happy place would be to screen in front of a wired up midnighter crowd at a festival. It is a rickety wooden roller coaster of a horror flick when compared to glossier horror flicks, those smooth metal behemoths at high falutin theme parks. It is held together with chewing gum, duct tape and a commitment to the craft of making a movie, really ‘making’ a movie. At seventy-five minutes it all happens at breakneck speed and will likely leave you with more questions than answers, even a bit of whiplash, but it is a hell of a ride.