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Grimmfest 2021 Film Feature - The Pizzagate Massacre

Directed by: John Valley

Written by: John Valley

Starring: Tinus Seaux, Alexandria Payne, Lee Eddy, Mike Dellens, John Valley



Synopsis: An ambitious amateur journalist and an unstable far-right militiaman team up to expose the ugly truth behind rumours involving sex cults, a pizza place and the lizard people...

Grimmfest say: Loosely inspired by a real-life QAnon conspiracy theory that has inspired more than one gun nut to violence, this proves to be far more nuanced and thought-provoking than one might expect. Intelligent, witty and unexpectedly moving, the film deftly shifts between cartoonish black comedy, sour socio-political satire, and a surprisingly subtle and emotionally involving portrait of a confused, damaged man, manipulated and manoeuvred into fatal actions by a sensation-seeking media. Tinus Seaux is truly remarkable as the protagonist, Duncan, a kind of trailer park Travis Bickle, starting out as a seemingly broad-brush caricature, only to accumulate more and more nuance and complexity and humanity as the film progresses, and he is matched by equally well-judged turns from Alexandria Payne, as the increasingly compromised rookie reporter, Karen Black(!), who goads him on, and a magnificently malevolent Lee Eddy as the rabble-rousing racist talk show host who is the source of so many of his twisted values. A savage indictment of the sleazy sensationalism and stochastic shit-stirring of modern media, the film ridiculous the macho posturing of Midwestern militia morons, while finding real compassion for those wishing, but unable, to break free from such behaviour, the film is a real triumph for the multitalented John Valley, who writes, directs, produces, edits, handles costume design, co-writes the score, and even turns in a beautifully-timed comic supporting performance as Duncan's boorish and buffoonish nemesis, Philip.

What I'm expecting: It's a sad time when you can say, without irony, that a film as bat-shit crazy sounding as this is based on a real-life conspiracy theory, but here we are—welcome to the 2020s! My main concern with The Pizzagate Massacre is the subject matter itself: tact must be employed in the handling of what is, as Grimmfest said, a genuine and ongoing problem in society, one in which lives have been lost. This MUST NOT become an exploitative mess. Having said that, it's always good to see a takedown of these "militia moron" types and of the absolute shittery of a heavily sensationalist modern media, and I hope it's concise and unapologetic. John Valley has many roles here, which is good in the sense that it allows the filmmaker to better leave their mark on a piece of work: however, it also can cause elements of the film to suffer if the filmmaker overburdens themselves with too much. It sounds to be a bit of a balancing act, The Pizzagate Massacre, but Grimmfest's thoughts on the film are very encouraging, and based on that alone, I think they'll nail it!



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