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PussyCake (2021) SFFF Review

PussyCake was certainly one of the more gonzo films to be shown this year at the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival. But as the latest film from Argentinian director Pablo Parés who also gave us the Plaga Zombie trilogy and I Am Toxic should we expect anything less?

The title refers to the all-girl punk rock band PussyCake, singer Elle (Maca Suárez, The Nights Belong to Monsters, The Accused), Sara (Aldana Ruberto), who is the drummer and Elle’s girlfriend, bassist Sofi (Anahí Politi, Crystal Eyes, La Piel No Es Un Límite) and guitarist Juli (Sofía Rossi). There’s also their manager Pato (Flor Moreno, The Talking Guts) who is hoping to hook up with Simón (Amanda Nara, Daemonium: Underground Soldier, Sadomaster Locura General) at the band’s upcoming gig, a record company showcases no less.

So, they hop in the van and make the trip to the gig. But when they reach their destination, on foot because something fried the van’s engine, the club is deserted. In fact, the whole town seems to have been abandoned. It isn’t, and they soon find Simón, but they’re going to wish they hadn’t because he’s not acting like himself.

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Parés and writer Maxi Ferzzola have combined bits and pieces of everything from Night of the Creeps, From Beyond, The Evil Dead, Return of the Living Dead, They Came from Within and Predator into a wild and bloody film that doesn’t always make sense but is rarely boring as the ladies of PussyCake finds themselves in the midst of a battle between two alien lifeforms brought to Earth by an experiment gone wrong.

One of the species is a slimy slug-like creature that possesses humans and has them turn others into hosts for its eggs by vomiting a sticky white fluid which will quickly put your mind in the gutter onto its victims. The other is a large, hulking figure in what looks like robes stolen from an evil monk. It’s out to stop the slugs, even if that means hacking up its human hosts to get at the eggs.

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PussyCake throws all manner of disembowelment, decapitation, and impalement, along with plenty of vomiting, its original Spanish title Emesis means to vomit, at the viewer. And in keeping with its throwback esthetics, the effects are all practical the work of a crew that includes an animatronics team led by Simon Ratziel (Dead Man Tells His Own Tale, All Hallow’s Eve 2) and makeup man Marcos Berta (Dying God, Terrified). They put a lot of enjoyable splat on the screen despite having what had to have been a low budget.

Caught up in the flow of all of this is the story of Elle’s overcoming her fear of aggressive behaviour stemming from a violent ex-boyfriend and the protective bond between her and Sara. You can see the bond between all the members of PussyCake, actually. And those bonds are what help us care about the characters and their fates.

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And with some of the past year’s headlines one can easily read meaning into a story of women fighting to avoid white goo that will force them to become unwilling parents, PussyCake is content to just leave the idea there for the viewer to see and doesn’t get preachy or heavyhanded about it. It’s quite happy being a kick-ass splatter film, first and foremost.

And for the most part, PussyCake succeeds. It’s a stylish, high-energy film that will make you laugh, make you jump, and make you go “Ewww”, frequently at the same time.

I caught PussyCake as part of the 13th annual Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival. It’s currently available on various Digital platforms via Raven Banner. If you want more films like this, FilmTagger can offer some suggestions.

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