The Pizzagate Massacre, originally titled Duncan after its lead character, opens with a reporter addressing the camera about the events we are about to witness. It’s a fictionalized version of the actual Pizzagate conspiracy theory, part of the whole batshit insane QAnon movement.
Basically, it claimed that prominent Democrats were running a child sex ring out of the basement of a Washington DC pizzeria. One that didn’t even have a basement. In the real world, it led to a would-be hero turning up to rescue these nonexistent kids in the nonexistent basement, a few shots being fired and nobody being hurt.
Interestingly writer/director John Valley (Diary of a Superhero) set The Pizzagate Massacre in Waco Texas, home to its own set of conspiracy theories surrounding the bloody siege of David Koresh and his heavily armed Branch Davidian cultists and even weaves them into the story. Whether this came about from budgetary needs on the part of the Texas-based filmmaker or is intentional, the setting helps set the mood before the plot even begins to unfold.
Karen Black (Alexandria Payne, Jackrabbit) had aspirations of becoming a reporter. Instead, she got fired on her first day as an intern on Teri Lee’s (Lee Eddy, Mercy Black, Kindred Spirits) InfoWars style show. Undeterred she intends to prove the existence of this human trafficking operation, and the lizard people behind it.
But to do that she’ll need help and protection. Enter Duncan Plump (Tinus Seaux, No Loss, No Gain) a militia member whose grasp on reality is already starting to slip. He’s also the illegitimate son of David Koresh, which may make him sensitive to accusations of child exploitation and so willing to believe in “deep state” conspiracies.
With a plot dominated by right-wing figures, a militia member, a female Alex Jones, and a Candice Owen wannabe you might think that The Pizzagate Massacre is either a takedown of the right or an attempt to vindicate them and the QAnon movement. It’s not that simple though.
Rather than making Duncan, whom The Pizzagate Massacre was originally named for, either a heroic defender of freedom or a stereotypical inbred racist he’s portrayed in a more nuanced manner. Yes, he has confederate plates on his car but he also manages to fall for Karen despite the colour of her skin, going along with her even though he knows Tootz Pizza doesn’t have a basement. He does believe in Lizard People though. He’s dangerous and not all there, but he’s also the most grounded of the film’s main characters.
Around him swirl other factors from Teri Lee whom he listens to religiously and cheerfully, and violently, defends. There’s Karen and her theories. There’s a leadership struggle in the militia that puts him at odds with Philip (John Valley) who is spoiling to start a second Civil War. And there’s the society he’s grown up in. The Pizzagate Massacre is as much about how someone can be influenced by the media, peer pressure, etc. And how hard it is, once they’re dragged down that rabbit hole to admit they’re wrong even when they see the truth. And how others can spin the truth to fit their own agendas.
Yes, it focuses on the extreme right because that’s where most of these theories and the resulting violence is coming from at the moment. If it was set in the 1960s or early 70s it would be set among groups from the far left, The Weathermen, The SLA, Black Panthers, etc. No group is immune from the lure of violence.
And, speaking of violence, this film is called The Pizzagate Massacre and we do indeed get a massacre. The last half hour explodes in blood and gunfire on its way to an ironic and deeply cynical ending. An ending that is sadly all too believable in today’s America.