Session 9

Session 9

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This week’s request comes from Loyal Listener Leeia. Love the sound of that. Session 9 is the first film to be shot on 24 fps (frames per second) video, and the last to be shot on location at the super-creepy Danvers State Mental Hospital in Danvers, Massachusetts.

Brad Anderson’s “psychological horror film” is an odd but welcome departure from our usual slice-and-dice fare, sometimes compared stylistically with Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now. Thanks, Leeia, for giving us something interesting to talk about!

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Session 9 (2001)

Episode 224, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Todd: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd.

Craig: And I’m Craig,

Todd: what we’re returning back to request. As we promised we would. Thank you, Leah, who visited us at our website? and left a request for us for Session 9 from 2001. Actually she’d requested this a couple of times before. But we just now decided to pay attention to her.

No, I’m just kidding. I had actually seen Session 9 before I watched this several years ago. Back when I was doing Halloween horror movies. When I used to challenge myself to watch a horror movie a day during the month of October, which I quit doing as soon as we started doing this podcast, because I pretty much get my fill.

Oh four movies through this project. Um, but I was really excited to revisit it because I remembered it and really enjoying it actually. But this time around when we watched it, we was very lucky cause it was on Netflix. So if you want to see it after we’re done talking about it and you happen to have Netflix, you can go check it out.

2001 project, not long after Blair witch, just to set it in the time zone for you just about two years later and turns out to be the very first film that was shot on 24 frames per second video. Now for the film nerds out there for the longest time projects weren’t shot on video because when you shot them on video, they looked like they were shot on video, right?

Just the motion. Primarily the video gave it away. And that’s because most videos shot on 60 frames per second, and that’s just the standard. And most film has historically been 24 frames per second. And that 24 frames per second makes a world of difference in your perception of motion, the smoothness of how things happen and the blur and whatnot.

And so. At least at the time, and even now a year, this is the thing. This is like the thing that distinguishes when you’re watching something, whether it has that video look or whether it has that movie look. And so it was a really big deal back in 2001, it was huge. It was new technology for us to have video that would shoot at something like 24 frames per second, to mimic that film feel.

So the director of this movie, Brad Anderson, uh, was able to do that. And so he shot this whole film at the old decrepit falling apart. Sandburs, um, ma hospital, mental institution, whatever in Boston, he used to drive by this all the time long since abandoned, since the eighties, I believe. But one of those places that even though it’s abandoned, it’s still kind of been up there because it belongs to the state and nobody else knows what to do with it.

So teenagers and people would run in and graffiti it up and loop things out of it and spend the night there and whatnot. And it clearly as a massive, massive. Old school style state mental institution is the perfect setting for a horror movie. And that setting itself was the seed for this, the writer, director of this film.

And then, so he built the whole film around the idea of filming at this. Mental institution. So, yeah, it’s another one of those creepy place movies where the place that they are in, Phil’s supposed to fill you with dread. And thankfully it’s not, I mean, thankfully for me, anyway, it’s not filmed as a found footage movie.

It’s filmed as a movie movie with a fairly decent name cast to it. So anyway, I was really happy to revisit this movie and I’m thinking I’m gonna have pretty good things to say about it. How about you, Craig? Did you ever seen this before?

Craig: Yeah, I don’t remember when, I mean, 2001 was quite a while ago. I know that I didn’t see it in the theater or anything.

I probably just caught it streaming somewhere, I would guess. Um, but yeah, I had seen it before. Um, Frankly, I, when you, uh, emailed me and said, let’s do this at your request. I just said, okay. I actually kind of remembered the movie being kind of boring. And so I, you know, I, wasn’t super excited about revisiting it, but I also didn’t remember it being bad.

Um, so, uh, it’s not like I was dreading it and watching it again. You know, there are some interesting things. I think that the, for me. Kind of the most interesting thing about it. And maybe that says something is the location. Um, it, it really is cool too. Get a glimpse into an actual historic locale. And then this, this structure, this building is, is really impressive.

I mean, they, when the cast who you are primarily a crew of workers, um, who remove a spesticity, uh, from. Old buildings when they’re being shown around, uh, the guy who’s showing them around the property manager, whoever it is tells them that he always refers to the building. As the bat. When you see the aerial shots, you can see why it looks like that there’s a central, um, kind of structure or building.

Uh, and then two large wings that go. Off of it. And so from an aerial view, it really does kind of look like a bat. Uh, and it’s just, it’s a really cool location. They actually do did film inside, but they were kind of limited as to where they could film because it was in ruins really. And there were only certain areas that were safe for them to film in.

So even though we’ve got this expansive building, You can kind of tell that they were limited in where they could shoot, you know, there, there’s not a whole lot of different. Places for them to explore, which is a little bit of a appointment, but the atmosphere, um, is still very cool and they didn’t have to do very much to it.

As far as setting design. Um, they basically just went in and, and actually scouted the location, found cool stuff in there, moved some of it around, uh, and they only add, had to add. Just a couple of things to build, um, more atmosphere and, and to service the plot. So I really enjoyed that aspect of it. The story itself, I think, is a little bit lacking.

I mean, frankly, I am not even sure how we’re going to approach it because in my humble opinion, Very little happens.

Todd: Yeah. Well, it’s true. I mean, very little does happen. It’s about this as best as a Bateman crew that goes to this building and sorta kind of starts to abate some of his best and then just weird.

Things, I can’t even really say weird things are happening to them so much that they’re all kind of going off in their own little days. Right? Like each one of them has something just like all of us, something that’s sort of haunting them. Like one of them possibly has a drug problem. One of them has a hard time maybe holding down a job.

One of them. Wants to get out of this blue collar job of as best as abatement and become a high power defense attorney. So he’s studying for that, but you know, it’s unclear as to how, how far he’s going to go. Uh, and then the leader of this group, the guy who presumably owns the company, whose name is Gordon.

Really really wants this job because basically if he doesn’t get this job for the, for, for his crew, he’s going to have to close the company is going to go bankrupt and he’s not going to be able to provide for his family anymore. So he’s got this held over him. So every single character in this movie in one way, shape or form has a little, well, something that’s troubling them and bothering them.

And isn’t that like all of us, you know, I mean, we’ve all got. Something, right. That that’s bothering us at any given time. So it’s not all that unusual, but the movie really takes its time and introducing us to these people and introducing us to all these problems and things. And then. Like you say they come in, but it’s, I mean, it’s so such a slow burn, right?

I mean, it’s so slow that there’s pretty much no story to it. Right. It’s just these guys, these guys talking and chatting and typical job type stuff like, uh, you know, Gordon brings in his nephew to help out. Well, the, the big thing is, is that he gets the job. By over promising. There’s a discussion between Gordon and Phil, Phil.

Who’s played by David Caruso, you know, the guy with the sunglasses on CSI. And that’s interesting. It’s kind of fun to have him in there. And one of the very first dialogues they have as they’re just kind of talking about the job as they’re going to go out and bid it and to get that grand tour, like you said, uh, by another very, very well recognizable, uh, character actor, Paul we’ll foil.

Um, who also has been on CSI for like ever, I mean, he was on CSI for like 14 years, 317 episodes. I mean, he’s the guy. I mean, you recognize this guy instantly pretty much every movie that ever existed has him in there. Somewhere self contained town,

Craig: church, movie theater, bowling alley. Oh, there’s a lovely cemetery up behind the machine shop.

No headstones just numbers. You really ought to check it off. Why don’t you step here? I don’t know. I didn’t recognize him.

Todd: You didn’t recognize him. The guy who took him through the building. I mean, he was Beverly Hills cop two, three men and a baby wall street, uh, air force, one ton of TV, law, and order. He was on mrs.

Doubtfire. I mean, this guy’s been in so much stuff. He’s got like 114 credits to his name, um, LA confidential, but he gives them the grand tour, like you said, and he gives us this, uh, overview of the whole place and a little bit of the history. And so the movie is like you said, like the setting is intriguing and I feel like the setting is intriguing enough that it.

Makes up for the lack of story in that we kind of want to know a little, a bit more about the story of this act. Sure. We’ll place. Uh, and we get little bits pieces of it throughout the movie. Before we start to get into the fictionalized story. Of one particular patient who was there, who seems to have kind of an influence perhaps continuously throughout over the place.

And then perhaps it’s debatable, there’s some supernatural element to it that is, you know, kind of infects the guys like us Bestos would affect you. Uh, as they’re working through the building. I mean, that’s kind of it in a nutshell, but it’s, it’s extremely slow and it’s the kind of movie I feel like you have to be in the mood for this kind of film to be able to sit down and watch it, or else you’re going to be impatient.

Right. You’re going to be bored.

Craig: Yeah. And it’s not a long movie. It’s only an hour and a half long. And I wouldn’t necessarily say that it feels right. Super long. It doesn’t, but it’s just, like you said, it’s a lot of them talking. Um, and I wish that they had done more, whether it was, I don’t even really care.

I mean, it would be interesting if it had been actually, you know, historic. Information about stories that happened in this building, because I’m sure stories abound. Yeah. This guy, again, I don’t know who it is. Property manager, whoever it is, um, says that he would much rather just tear it down that the land that it’s on is.

Worth far more than the actual structure itself, but it’s been placed on the state or national historic registry, so it’s protected, so they can’t tear it down. Okay. And he gives a little bit of the, you know, he says, um, It was basically, self-sustaining like they had stores and entertainment, you know, all kinds of different stuff going on in there.

And I think that they’re now planning on it, turning it into some sort of like municipal building parts that were the most interesting to me would be when they were talking about things, whether or not they were true. And some of these things, they said. Said we’re inspired in part by stories that not necessarily happened in this particular building, but in mental institutions around that time, uh, in the late 18 hundreds, early 19 hundreds.

And I wish there had been a little bit more focus on that. That was the stuff that I found. Interesting. I CA yeah, I kind of found their day to day interactions a little bit mundane and yeah. And as a much as. You know. Okay. So it’s really supposed to be a three week job, but initially Gordon tells the guy, well, we can do it in two weeks, which Phil is concerned about.

Not really sure they can do that. But then when Gordon gets the property manager outside, he said, as you know what I need this job. I’ll meet the other guys, I’ll match the other guys bid and I’ll get it done in one week. So they’re really under a crunch to try to get a three week job done in one week and there’s incentive for them if they can do it, there’s a $10,000 bonus.

So they are incentive to do this. Um, but yeah. You never really see them doing much.

Todd: I know

Craig: it seems like they’re always on break and any time they are working, they’re doing the same thing in the same place. Like you never see any progress made. And so I can’t imagine how they would have really gotten this done in a week when we see them over the course of four days or five days or however many days.

And it looks the same at the end, as it did at the beginning. Pretty much, except for that, they’ve hung up some like plastic sheeting. Yeah.

Todd: For, for as big a deal as was made early on in the movie about how. Insane. It would be to try to complete this for in one week and they’ve got to hire on extra people and blah, blah, blah.

They don’t seem to be rushed. I think that’s definitely a flaw of the film, but I suppose if they were so rushed doing it, they wouldn’t have time to stop and talk and be freaked out by things and investigate. I almost, I mean, I think you could also interpret this as the building has sort of cast a spell over them.

Right. And so for them, once they enter here and they start to work, like they kind of lose all sense of time and they kind of lose the impetus to do what they’re doing and they get super distracted by their environment and what’s in it and almost closed. Their minds are almost closed off to the job.

That’s actually it.

Craig: Yeah. Well, the other thing that. Kind of bothered me was that there is a lot of personal drama going on, but it all just kind of seems disjointed. Like everybody’s kind of going through their own thing. Um, and they don’t, they’ll, they’ll touch on it, on it in conversation every once in a while, but really everybody’s just kind of dealing with their own drama, like.

Yeah, Gordon in the very beginning, the first thing we see is him and Phil still waiting to talk, to get inside the gate and to talk to this property man manager. And you can tell right away that Gordon is stressed out and nervous, feel calm. It’s on it. And he’s a new dad and the baby, um, isn’t like terminally ill or anything, but has an ear infection or something.

Which as a parent, I’m sure you know, that that can be a nightmare because the baby doesn’t sleep and crying all the time. Um, so that’s realistic that he would be tired and kind of on edge. And then we get, you know, the, the tour and during the tour Gordon fees like this. A wheelchair, which is kind of the primary image.

And it’s the image on the box art, even though it doesn’t appear to really be connected to the story at all. Other than that looks creepy.

Todd: Well, there’s a lot of that, but yeah. Featured so heavily in the movie that I was constantly waiting for some tie in just an image or something that would tie it into something.

And there’s nothing, it almost like makes you think that there was something missing, like on the cutting room floor, whatever that fleshed this out. It’s an iconic image. And it ends up being an iconic image in the movie. But to what extent, like what it’s supposed to symbolize. I don’t know what it is.

Just quit. Yes.

Craig: Yeah. Well, when he sees it, he hears a spooky voice, say, hello Gordon. And throughout the course of the movie, he hears this spooky voice. It’s kind of explained in the end, but we know that there’s either something going on in the building or there’s something going on in his mind or somehow the building is.

Affecting something in his mind. I don’t know, but right away, you know, something’s going on. Jerry makes the deal. He goes home and you see him sitting in his truck or his van outside of his house, just observing his wife and baby. And it’s a very. Totally domestic scene, you know, cute little house, the wife and the baby in the front yard and the little dog in the yard and all very cute.

And his wife looks at him and kind of gives them a little bit of a half smile and then turns and goes inside and we see him get out and he’s got like groceries with him. I suppose. It’s significant to say that you see a jar of peanut butter and some Oreos sticking up out of there. And he’s also got some roses and he walks in.

We don’t see what happens inside, but we hear almost in voice over a female voice, say roses, they’re lovely. What’s the name? Cajun Gordon. And then a scream. And it goes dark. Then it just cuts to Monday. And that’s when that’s the start of the day. Work. Yeah. And when you start to meet some of the other characters, there’s Hank and his drama is that he is now dating Phil’s ex um, and Hank and Phil clearly have this, like, it’s one of those things where they’re friends, I guess, but you don’t really understand why cause they hate each other.

Todd: Yeah, well, and Phil even tries to replace Hank, like early on. He tells Gordon he’s like, look, you know, Hank really isn’t up to the job. I’ve got some other guy, Roger, whatever who can come in and I’ve already talked to him and he can replace him. And Gordon really doesn’t want to have much to do with that.

Craig: Yeah. He’s like, no, Hank is fine. And, and he’s right. I mean, Hank is an asshole, but the reason that Phil wants to get rid of him is because. He’s mad at him because he’s dating his ex-girlfriend and Hank even says later on in the movie, somebody says something about like, when you and Amy have kids or whatever, he’s like, I’m not interested in having a kids with her.

I’m just giving it to her to, you know, stick it to Phil. Um, so there there’s that drama. And then we meet the two other guys, Mike or Mikey, who is the guy that you mentioned? I thought of him as the handsome one, but he’s also the one that also the one that his dad is like the state district attorney or something like that.

And he had been interested in law. But I guess he had gone to like a year of law school and dropped out or something, but we see that he’s actually very bright and he knows a lot about the law and knows a lot about history. And he mentions later on that, he’s thinking about going back and trying again.

Uh, and then Jeff, who is Gordon’s nephew? He’s young, I would guess in his early twenties, he’s played by Brendan Sexton. The third who, if you. Watched teen movies in the nineties, you will totally recognize he was in empire records, welcome to the dollhouse and just a lot out of other stuff. And they fill out the crew, that’s it.

You know, they, they kind of go to work one of the first. Things that I found interesting. And again, like I said, I love these stories, these old stories that they tell, um, they’re, they’re looking through the records just because they’re cleaning up and the records are all there and they find them interesting.

So they’re looking through some of them and talking about reasons why people were committed. Uh, and then they also talk about what happened when the place was shut down and how everybody. Who had been in residence, there was just kind of dumped out, you know, on the street. Some of them were sent to other facilities, but a lot of them were just released.

And in fact, many of them tried to come back and they had a difficult time keeping people. But, uh, Mike tells this story that Jeff, why the place got closed down. They said something about budget cuts or something. Mike says, well, there was that, but then there were also the scandals, of course, they’re curious.

And so he tells this story. So like for example, there was this girl named Patricia Willard. And, uh, I don’t remember what year. It was 1984, I think. And they were doing this new practice called repressed memory theory therapy, um, where they would try to stimulate repressed memories for therapeutic purposes.

And with this girl. She through her therapy had memories of being raped by her father when she was 10 years old, but it wasn’t a one time thing. It was a regular thing. And it wasn’t just that, but what she remembered was that her. Parents would take her out into the woods, um, where her grandparents and other people would be.

And it was a satanic ritual, um, and like a blood orgy where they would sacrifice babies. Then. I mean, it’s the story. He goes into pretty graphic detail, those kinds of stories. I, that was fun to listen to, but it doesn’t really. It doesn’t have any, no, it doesn’t, it doesn’t really have anything to do with the story.

It’s just, Ooh. Here’s, it’s like a campfire story apropos of nothing, you know?

Todd: I mean, it’s color, it’s color for the movie. It’s color for the idea that you’ve got this mental institution. There’s a lot of history. There, there are a lot of stories behind it. Here’s one of those stories. I mean, and maybe for people our age, we’re old enough to remember this at least.

I remember it. I remember it in the news. There was a weird, shocking period of time in the mid eighties to early eighties, w that we now refer to as a satanic panic, where basically people were being put into hypnosis and asked to dig up these repressed memories. And at the time it wasn’t understood that just the very act of doing this.

Can implant memories that aren’t true. So you can actually suggest things to people and they’ll go off on it. And there were these, there was a series of people. I mean, it would be like kids at a daycare and kids about their parents and whatnot. And it was always about. Perhaps influenced by the movies at the time, satanic rituals, like you pull up these repressed memories that they were this very exact thing happened to them.

And a lot of very innocent people got dragged through the court system. Some were put away for it in this ridiculous accusations that they were having. Satanic rituals, where they were killing kids and molesting kids and drinking blood and drinking urine and eating each other’s feces and just all kinds of bizarre stuff that actually turned out to them, not be true, but for a while, the news and the general public were buying into it, hook, line and sinker, and it was a real popular thing.

And this is really endemic of commensal health through history, you know? Yeah. So, I mean, it, clearly it ties into the movie. There’s a lot of weird ass. Stuff that in the, because the human mind is so difficult to understand. And our earlier cruder attempts to understand it. We’re just off the wall. A lot of weird stuff like this went on.

And unfortunately, a lot of people with just serious biological, mental health issues would be thrown into a giant institution like this and studied and. And having a knack to it upon themselves, all these weird therapies that were really just shots in the dark and experiments. I mean like human Guinea, pigs, you know, so the whole thing is, is yeah, is weird.

Craig: And you say, you know, serious mental health struggles sometimes, and sometimes not, you know, sometimes homosexuality or. Nervous conditions, you know, I mean, these are probably people who just struggled with anxiety or depression, things that are relatively easily, we manage today with medication and yeah.

B, but if they were in any way, a nuisance, they would just be put away or an embarrassment. It would just be put away. And like you said, yeah. All these strange treatments. Uh, electroshock therapy, which is still used in some instances today, uh, Labatt bottomy was really popular. And, uh, they talk about that here.

Jeff’s a simple kind of guy. He seems, he seems good natured.

Todd: Well, he just seems young.

Craig: Yeah. He’s just kind of a dumb kid, you know, that’s not a bad guy. Just kind of a. A kid. Um, but he, he kind of is ribbing Mike about something. He calls Michael a bottomy case or something, and he’s, he’s given him a hard time.

So Mike grabs him and they’re eating lunch, which they eat lunch through about half the movie. Um, He grabs him, they’re eating lunch and he grabs a, a chopstick and the other guys were like, Hey, Hey, now he’s like, no, no, I’m just horsing around. I’m not going to hurt him. And he holds the chopstick up to the corner of his eye and explains.

Sorry. Right. Nice pick method, cert, a thin metal pipette

Todd: into the orbital frontal cortex.

Craig: And under the soft tissue of the frontal lobe, a few simple, smooth up and down jerks to civil, the lateral hypothalamus resulting in rapid reduction of stress for our little patient here. Total time elapsed, two minutes only side effect, black guy recommended treatment sunglasses.

Now, I don’t know if the way that he explains it is entirely accurate. And I also know that there well, but there are different types of lava, Labatt, dummies as well, correct? Like,

Todd: well, I really dying to talk about Labatt tummies, cause this is so fascinating. This is so fascinating.

Craig: Well, then you probably know more about it than I do.

Todd: Well, uh, this is something that, that was going on up to the eighties. I mean, as insane as this is about to sound to you, keep in mind that when we were. In the middle of elementary school, this stuff was still going on. This was an ex somewhat accepted medical practice in the United States. I mean started in 1935, there was a Portuguese neurologist and he did the very first of he called, uh, Lucado dummy.

He didn’t call the bottom. Yes  but he literally drilled into a, basically it was literally drilling into a person’s. Skull to access the brain and poke around and sever some nerves in there to attempt to cure whatever this per patient’s mental illnesses. And it’s, I mean, you know, like we know about the brain, we know how delicate and complex it is.

It’s really hard to imagine people being so desperate to figure out a way to cure people’s mental illnesses, that they would more or less jab things around. Inside a person’s brain to see what happened, but this guy had some decent results even won a Nobel prize in medicine in 1949. So, I mean, clearly he was getting some good results from what he was doing.

Yeah. But then other, yeah. Well, it depends on,

Craig: yeah, depending on your perspective, we’ll end, depending on where the person being lobotomized. You might feel differently

Todd: depending on the patient too, right? I mean, it was like kind of a crapshoot. I mean, sometimes it really did work a lot of times it didn’t, there was a lot of in between, but then people improved upon this procedure.

Uh, and, and in 1936 there was a psychiatrist named Walter Freeman, uh, who performed the first pre what they call a pre-fund frontal lobotomy, which is where instead of drilling a hole into their brain, They went in through the front. And this is when they called it a Labatt tummy. And the idea was that he, he believed that like, you know, a person could just get overloaded with emotions that would cause mental illness.

And so if you cut certain nerves in their brain, then it would slow that down and correct that. And he found a very efficient way of doing this procedure, which involved exactly what Mike says in the movie, which is you take. An ice pick and you go through your eye, like not into your eye, but the corner of your eye, you can go, you can go around the eye and then go straight into the brain from there.

And you, so you drive this ice pick in there after you’ve kind of, um, I think they use electroshock therapy to kind of knock the patient out and make them unconscious. And then they would drive this ice pick in, through their eye socket, into their brain and move it around a little bit. And that seemed to sever some kind of nerves that at least in some patients would have a dramatic effect of improving, you know, getting rid of this, this overload of emotion or their depression or whatever they had.

The problem is. It didn’t have that effect for everybody. Like for some people it would make them vegetables. For some people, it would have these weird effects. And so it’s still, it’s just a very barbaric, like shot in the dark procedure, but it was so popular and so easy to do that. I mean, this guy went around the country.

It was almost like a showman and would do this, like in front of audiences. He’d do like an ice pit, like an ice pick in each eye. Like, um, I mean, it just so bizarre nowadays to imagine this being a thing, but that’s why it’s so much a part of our culture now is because, you know, you joke about it, right?

If you had a lobotomy or whatever, but like, because in the past it was an acceptable medical procedure. And I think the Kennedy family, um, John F. Kennedy, what was his sister? Right. Had had a low bottom and they totally regretted it. I think it made her, it completely screwed her up. But in any way, there were tens of thousands of these procedures done in the United States up to the mid day.

And even other countries as early as like the fifties were saying, you know what. This is messed up. We can’t do it like Russia and Japan in, I think 1956, 1957 said, nah, no, we’re, we’re going to outlaw this while the U S was doing it well into the eighties. And so, I mean, that’s just another. I think telling that story and telling the other story that you said about the satanic panic kind of puts us in this frame of mind of understanding the kinds of things that would happen in these insane asylums to the people that were in there so that we can get kind of a creeped out.

You know, I mean, I think that’s the only role that these stories play, because like you said, There’s a little bit of a tie in later with the Labatt tummy angle, but in general, none of this pays out in the plot or the backs

Craig: bottoming thing does be, cause he says, you know, really the only negative side effect of a lobotomy bottomy is a black guy.

And the recommended treatment is to wear sunglasses and that. Comes back up later, but once those things are established, then it’s kind of just about the unraveling of this story. There’s not a whole lot to during the day, while they’re working, uh, Hank fines, a little pile of coins, old coins. Like, I don’t know if it was like a trail or if he just noticed there was like, it was, and there was like a coin, like sticking out.

Between two bricks and a wall and he pulled it out and another one kind of fell out after it. And so he pulled the brick out. And it was like a slot machine, like coins and jewelry and all kinds of things started falling through. Now, this has never really explained. He doesn’t know. No, I don’t think what he is on earth.

We see the camera pans right around to the other side of the wall and we see that it’s, uh, the incinerator and the crematorium. Now why all this stuff would be in there. I have no idea. I don’t know if somebody hit it in there or if it’s a suggestion of supernatural or what? I don’t know.

Todd: I think there’s a slight implication because he finds.

Like eyes like false eyes in there and he finds jewelry and there’s hair that he’s kind of pulling out, you know, from the stuff. I think there’s kind of an implication that this would be the leftover stuff of a person that didn’t burn up in the incinerator. That’s just collected back there. Although it doesn’t make a lot of sense that this stuff would be piled behind a brick and that all these coins would be part of it.

Right. It’s it’s, it’s a little.

Craig: I can see the teeth and stuff maybe, but it wouldn’t, it’s not like they would put people in the incinerator with a suitcase full of money, you know, I’m pretty sure that they put them in there, you know, naked or whatever. But, well, I don’t know. Maybe there is an explanation that’s significant, but if there was, I didn’t catch it.

I didn’t know why that stuff was.

Todd: I agree with you. I don’t think there’s a logical sense to it, but if the movie’s a little dreaming or whatever, I mean, th the sense of what he’s doing, I think is that he’s kind of looting the dead, right? I mean, he’s just, uh, he’s opening up this thing and he’s kind of desecrating, hollowed ground or whatever.

I, that was the idea I got from it anyway, but you’re right. Like, logically it doesn’t make sense. Right. But thematic Oakley, it seems to. Be one of the things anyway, that sets off the supernatural element of the movie. Am I right? Or did that happen a little bit before that? I’m not sure.

Craig: Well, I don’t know.

I mean, I don’t think it sets it off because, um, Gordon was hearing voices from the moment he walked in, um, and has continued to. And so he finds that and then. While Mike and Jeff are working. There’s a problem with the electricity. And Mike has to go down to the basement where it seems through strange events with lights going off and shining in certain directions.

He’s kind of led to this box that contains all these tapes. And these ended up being the sessions. From the title, there are nine of them and they are these recorded sessions, uh, psychiatry or psychotherapy, the sessions of this patient, Mary Hobbs, uh, who had, I don’t remember what they call it anymore. Do they call it dissociative disorders out?

They call it, they used to call it multiple personalities. They don’t call it that anymore, but, uh, she’s got these, uh, different personalities and you hear a doctor is. Interviewing her and Mary, the patient herself is very distraught, but sometimes her alternate personalities come forward. There’s a little girl that they call the princess who they say lives in the tongue because she talks all the time.

And there’s a little like British boy. Um, Billy, he lives in the eyes because he sees everything and there’s a third alternate. But princess claims not to know him. Mary claims, not to know any of them. And Billy will not. Discuss this third, alternate, whose name is Simon. And throughout the course of the movie, Mike goes down there with urgency.

Like any time something happens, it’s like, he feels an urgent need to go down there to listen to these sessions, but he never tells anybody else about them. Nobody else in the movie knows about them. Ever. And, uh, he listens to them and, uh, what, what the doctor is trying to get at, and this is all over the course of the whole movie.

It’s not in one session, it’s multiple sessions, but what the doctor is trying to get at is apparently there had been a traumatic event, um, during a Christmas in, uh, Mary’s childhood

doctor, who am I speaking with? Mary got a China doll from her mommy. And we can’t find it now. No princess, I haven’t seen it. Maybe Billy knows where you’re trying to dial it. Believe princess,

Todd: tell me what happened

Craig: on Christmas 22 years ago in Lowell,

Todd: we

Craig: got. Man. I got a pretty China doll and Peter, but big all my life.

And then after their parents went to sleep, they played hide and seek. And that’s it. Apparently something else happened, but nobody is willing to say what really happened. Um, the doctor says, how did you get those scars on your chest? And either Mary or princess, as I’ve told you before I, when I was a kid, I had a bike accident.

Like I cut myself up, you kind of put two and two together, or at least I did. But anyway, that’s going on. And then, uh, we also Gordon tells Phil that that day that he had gone home, that we had seen in the beginning of the movie. Um, he had really wanted to celebrate getting the job. He went in the house and his wife had a big, big pot of pasta on the stove.

And he said, I don’t really know what happened. Um, but somehow next thing I knew I had a huge pot worth of boiling water, um, all running down my leg and he says, and. He said the baby was crying and the dog was barking. And I don’t know why I did it, but I hit her. He says that she’s not speaking to him.

We’ve seen him try to call her several times. Um, but it appears from his side, the conversation that she hangs up on him, she won’t talk, talk to him. Phil asks him where he’s staying and he says a motel. So that’s going on? And then. What’s his name? Hank comes back at night when everybody else is gone so that he can lose all of this stuff that he’s found.

And when he’s there, he hears something that spooks him. And so he kind of tries to run away and then he kind of gets cornered and he sees some birds and he thought it was birds. But then. Somebody shows up somebody that he knows, because he’s like, uh, what are you doing here? Then it just cuts to black.

And I’m trying to kind of go through this quickly. Cause like, it’s really seems like so little, like to me, I thought, Oh, well, okay. He’s. Dead now. And lo and behold, the next morning he doesn’t show up. And so they say, well, let’s try it. Paul’s girlfriend, does anybody have the number and feels like, yeah, I have the number.

So they get filled up the phone and he calls and, and they hear his side of the conversation. And when he gets off the phone, he says, Amy said that he came home last night. Okay. And said that he had hit it big and he, he was leaving and he was going to Miami and he was gonna go, I go to casino school and that’s it.

Todd: Casino school. Yeah.

Craig: Yeah. I know what that means.

Todd: I guess it means he’s just going to go play the slot. Cause he’s got a gambling thing, right? I mean, he’s all asking them for scratchers tickets. He opens up the glove compartment at one point, a bunch of scratches tickets fall off. So he’s looking for the easy out.

It’s interesting. Actually, I think how that ties into him though, right? Like him getting all those coins and stuff. It’s like a slot machine, like you said, it’s almost like he was led to it. By the facility and it was uniquely attractive to him and that’s what the building or whatever the, the asylum used to draw him in.

Craig: So

Todd: it’s, it’s starting to feel a little supernatural at this point, but he’s gone, like you said, he’s completely,

Craig: and it causes tension within the group because Gordon knows that Phil wanted to get rid of Hank anyway. And Gordon had also seen Phil like paying off a couple of young. Rough looking types.

And so he thinks that maybe in fact, eventually he confronts Phil and, and says, you know, you did this, didn’t you, you hired those guys to get rid of him. And Phil eventually says, no, those were like graffiti artists. And I warned them to stay away. The movie in my opinion is going well out of its way. To make Phil look super, super shady.

Todd: Yeah, I know. You know, the way I interpreted it though, was that, and from the beginning, when he meets these guys and they kind of shake hands and the guys kind of wander off and look both ways that he was doing a drug deal, because earlier, who is it? It’s Mike, I guess who’s chatting with the young kid.

Jeff w what was his name? Right. And he’s telling him about everybody and he says, Oh yeah. And Phil’s got his thing. And maybe at some point, he’ll tell you, he literally says to Jeff, like everybody here has their thing and Phil’s got his thing, but he doesn’t say what Phil’s thing is. And then when I saw those guys kind of leave, I figured Phil’s thing was like drugs, because.

Later in the movie, you know, Phil actually arrives to the work site early and rolls up a joint and is smoking it. Uh, Gordon shows up early as well, and Phil, you know, quickly hides it and he’s like, Oh, you’re here early. Aren’t you? And then there’s this, there’s a little bit of dialogue between, I mean, them earlier in the movie as well, where he’s, it sounds like, at least to me, it sounded like he was referencing.

That perhaps Phil had some problem with being under the influence at work. And so I just sort of assumed that those guys were drug people just selling them something and that Phil was covering for it. And Gordon was just like, whatever

Craig: that could very well be. I, I mean, I saw him smoking the joint before work or whatever, and just didn’t really think much of it, but it would make logical sense that yeah, he was just.

You know, buying drugs or whatever. Yeah. And it would make sense that he would lie about it. So, you know, that’s, that’s all well and good in making Phil seems so suspicious. The movie also makes Gordon seem potentially paranoid beyond a reasonable amount. Right. The, I think that the next and again, we’re hearing these sessions, um, and, and in these sessions, they’re constantly trying, the doctor is constantly trying to get the other alternative to allow him to meet Simon.

And they won’t like that, but it’s insistent that he, he needs to talk to Simon. So that’s going, and really, I think the next thing that happens is, um, Phil approaches. Mike and says, look, Gordon is becoming a liability. He told me he hit his wife, um, and Gordon overhears this. And so there’s all this tension between them.

They’re having that tense. Conversation. Jeff is just looking around or something and finds Hank, standing, looking out a window. Yeah. And Hank just says to him, what are you doing here? And Hank reaches up and touches the window and you see that he leaves blood behind. And so Jeff goes to grab them. The other guys and says Hanks here.

And they’re like, that’s not possible. He’s in Miami or whatever. We heard Amy say that. And Gordon says, no, we didn’t hear Amy say that. We heard you. Supposedly on the phone with her. We heard you say it, but we didn’t actually hear her say it. So there’s all this suspicion. So they all run around to try to, they, they go back to where Hank was, but he’s not there anymore,

Todd: but there’s a, this half dollar there, right?

Craig: Yeah. The coin. And then this is worth it. Things get kind of tricky because it’s purposeful. I think. The timeline gets kind of tricky here because in one moment, Hank is holding the coin and drops it. And then in the next moment you see that Phil is holding a coin, whether or not it’s the same one. Is a little bit unclear, but for whatever reason, they all run off alone looking for Hank, you know, it’s tense.

The, the generator goes out,

Todd: so it gets dark for a minute downstairs. That kind of sucks for him. And so he’s screaming. Yeah. Gordon goes out to fill

Craig: it. And Phil eventually does find Hank like huddled in a corner, just mumbling to himself. Um, and then we see Jeff gets out of the building and he’s kind of freaking out and he makes his way to the van and he calls and tells them where he is.

And we see from. This other person’s point of view that a person approaching him, obviously somebody that he knows and is not afraid of, but again, it’s one of those quick cuts and it seems pretty evident that Jeff has gotten attacked or something. Um, and that is when I guess the movie kind of starts like, like it, the story unravels here at the end, um, and it all.

Aligns with us finally hearing the session nine tape when Simon finally does emerge.

Todd: Yeah. I feel like sound, uh, plays a lot into this movie. The soundtrack of the film, uh, which was done by some band is, is eerie and atmospheric. And it’s. Really effective, I think. But then also, like you said, we hear these sessions of Mary Bean.

I played in the background as well. Like the idea I think is that Mike has long left. Like Mike has wandered off. But he’s let that tape go. And so we get to hear the extent of session nine, playing out over this. Very, like you said, disjointed visual of all of these people, doing all their weird things. So Gordon is like in a day is, and he wanders into a room and we’ve earlier seen these rooms of these patients, which by the way, apparently they didn’t.

Dress up, like there were photographs and clippings and things out of magazines and pictures that were apparently, you know, important to the patients that were just all plastered to the wall and it kind of collage. So we’d seen this before, but he wanders into this room and it’s such the collage on the wall is his photos that we had seen him flipping through of his family.

So like, did he perhaps put these photos up on this wall?

Craig: Yeah, but he seems confused by it and like, he doesn’t know what’s going on. And then this, by the way is the next day. So we’ve seen maybe Jeff get attacked. We know that Phil has found Hank, but we don’t know how this has turned out. And now this is the next day and we see.

Bef when Gordon goes in, um, where he’s coming from as he’s coming from his van and when he closes the door or there’s a big bloody hand print on the van. So something has happened in the interim that we, you don’t know. And all we know is that Phil has called him on the walkie talkie and told him to come in.

And when he, he goes in, he finds that stuff. Phil is standing there. Over Hanks body.

Todd: We don’t know at the time, but he says to him on the walkie talkie, I know who’s behind it. All right. Right. Gordon’s in the room, putting his hands all over that collage of his own family on the wall. And then Phil we’re seeing is apparently looking for Gordon, but he has a knife in his hand.

Like he’s either scared or on the defense or whatever, and he’s wandering around. Trying to find Gordon, presumably, but he’s got this knife in his hand. So it’s clear that things are coming to a head, but it’s, you’re still very disoriented as to what’s exactly going on. Right?

Craig: Yeah. And after Phil confronts, they end up face to face over Hanks body and I thought Hank was dead.

It turns out he’s not, um, he’s just kind of catatonic in that moment. Um, but they end up kind of face to face and I don’t remember what the conversation they had. But like Gordon accuses, Phil of being behind all this. And Phil says, look, you just need to wake up. And he keeps repeating it, wake up, wake up louder and louder.

And Gordon is saying I am awake. And then all of a sudden he hears something behind him. And what it is is they had called in another guy to replace Hank and this guy had just shown up. Um, and that guy comes into the room. And when Gordon turns around, Phil has gone as though he has disappeared

Todd: or was never there in the first place.


Craig: which is what it is. So this other guy who we’ve never met before comes in and just walks up to Gordon, doesn’t seem to be particularly concerned about the guy laying on the ground. So for a second, I wondered if Hank was even really there. Um, but he is because Gordon grabbed, he puts the other guy in a chokehold reach and gets down to the ground.

Grabs the ice pick out of Hanks. I pulls it out. This is the only really up to this part, gruesome part of the movie pull. And it’s the only CGI effects in the movie as well. Pulls it out of his eye and stabs it into the other guy’s eye. Meanwhile, we’re hearing Simon on the session tapes. As it turns out Gordon was the one behind all of this.

He, he was the one who had stabbed Hank and we ha it didn’t happen on camera, but we start to see flashbacks of what had actually happened. And he killed them all. He killed Jeff, he killed Mike and eventually he killed Phil as well. Um, but it’s as though he did it. In an unconscious state, he wasn’t aware of it.

And I think that the suggestion based on the tapes. Because we finally get the story. What happened on that Christmas? This was, and Peter had been playing hide and seek. Um, and Peter had jumped out of the dark and scared Mary and she was so scared that it brought out. The Simon person or thing in her psyche.

And then she had killed her brother. And that’s why she was institutionalized. I apparently, um, but this alternate personality of Simon. Speaks as though he’s an outside entity. And he talks about how, just like the doctor had asked the other alternates where they live. And they had said in the eyes and the tongue, they asked Simon where he lives.

And he said, I live in the weak and the wounded. Um, and so I think the suggestion is. That be, did we even bring up the, we didn’t even talk about that. The fact that it it’s revealed also that, uh, Gordon hadn’t just hit his wife. He had killed her and the baby

Todd: and we get this in a really grave flashback. I mean, it’s all audible.

That’s what’s really. I think quite nice about this movie. If you’re not a fan of Gore, then you can watch this movie. Yeah. There’s like a slight aftermath that you’ll see some bloody bodies toward the end. Like we were talking about when everything’s kind of revealed, but you’re not going to see people getting hacked to pieces, but all audibly.

Yeah. And you know, w we’ve con continually through the movies. Seeing these bits and pieces and heard the audio of these flashbacks of Gordon’s encounter, where he hit his wife, presumably. But what we don’t get until now is the full story, which is he didn’t just hit his wife. Like you said, he killed her and then like, chillingly, like you’re like, Oh God, no, please don’t let it be.

So you’re waiting for it, but you don’t want it to happen. You hear the suggestion that he’s also murdered his child. So the question, I mean, that really reveals the fact that for a couple days prior, right. Gordon killed his family. Like he’s come to the site at least a couple days since then. And that kind of explains his days, right?

Like why he’s been a little off.

Craig: Yes. And when he said that he was staying in a motel, I, that was a lie. I think we never see him going to, or from a motel. Um, and yeah, there is suggestion that he would have been staying in the hospital. Spittle because, uh, when Hank was down there looting, he comes across an empty jar of peanut butter.

And we had seen the peanut butter in, uh, Gordon’s groceries when he had gone home that one time, um, we had also seen the Oreos and Jeff finds the Oreos right before he dies. We see at one point the flowers. Um, that Gordon had had, um, in the back of his van covered, not in blood, it looks like blood. It’s actually the red stuff that they use to cover up the asbestos.

But it, it, you know, it clearly suggests blood, which is some foreshadowing. So the way that I read it is that somehow Gordon was haunted by something, this Simon, whatever this Simon is, he was haunted by it. From the moment that he went into the hospital and that is what led him to that’s why? Because he doesn’t seem, yeah, he was stressed out, but not stressed out enough to just kill his whole family.

Right. When Simon says, um, I killed Peter, the Mary’s brother, it says, why did you do it Simon? And he says, cause Mary, let me, they always do so. Some influence this Simon, whatever it is, whether it’s supernatural or whatever, it, it influenced Gordon and led him to do these things almost. Unconsciously. And, uh, I think that after he, he killed his wife, he was throughout the entire rest of the course of the movie.

He was delusional or crazy. Yeah. We even, we even see him trying to call his wife again and we see that the phone that he’s. Talking on is, is, is shattered. Um, it’s just the shell of the phone. All of those times that we had seen him talking to him, his wife on the phone before he wasn’t talking to her, she was dead.

He’s crazy.

Todd: And that was a heartbreaking moment too, like, right. Like he’s talking, he’s trying to talk to her. He says, I’m really sorry about what I did. It’s like, I’m sorry. I, I mean, he’s apologizing to nothing, right? To a broken phone,

Craig: any he’s crying and he’s begging to come home. And it is sad because for me, the implication is that this is something that.

Happened to him, like, he’s the victim in this? He wasn’t a bad person. He wasn’t a bad guy, something malevolent influenced him and caused this chain of events. And he’s just as much a victim as anybody else. And so it is sad.

Todd: You’re right. That’s how I interpret it too. That there is a actual supernatural presence here that’s causing this, this, this film has sort of been likened to.

The shining. There are a

Craig: lot of parallels.

Todd: A lot of, I think there are actually even some direct, like, Purposeful parallels in there that you can catch some sort of Easter eggs in the movie that cat, that throw out to certain aspects of the show.

Craig: Well, I definitely thought like when, when the generator died, that was very reminiscent of, uh, the, the, the boiler in.

Um, the shining having to keep an eye on the anyway. Well, there are lots of parallels,

Todd: right? You’re right. And, and the actual story of this guy kind of going crazy and killing his family is inspired by an actual true story that the director mentioned that back in like 94, uh, this guy named Richard Rosenthal, just some normal guy who lives in the suburbs, sold insurance or whatever his wife had a miscarriage or something, just him.

He just kind of came on hinged. He goes, and he kills her. And then for the next two or three days, he just goes back to work and it’s just like normal. Nobody had any idea. He just acted like he was normal. And so it was a direct influence. One of the many stories, obviously that he pulled from his inspiration.

Uh, for the story that he did. So I think it’s kind of interesting. You have this actual historic building with, with actual stories that happened in there and all the, like you said, it’s not like he pulled the stories from actual patients here and made it part of the movie, nevertheless, a whole lot, a lot of true crime or true lore about.

Mental patients and crime and whatnot that he’s pulled from and made a part of the mythology of the film. And like you said, it feels like what he’s, he’s tying it all together with the Simon character. And I think it’s cute. Like the way you put it, Simon says, Simon says, do this Simon says do that. I don’t think it’s a.

Coincidence that the entities name assignment. So I think there, there are a lot of layers, this film that I think you can unpack. I think it’s the kind of movie that upon repeat viewing probably gives you a little bit more. Um, but when you watch it and I think purposefully, so you’re a bit confused. It’s it’s a little days, like it’s a little dreamlike, at least at the end.

There’s something concrete. They show the bodies. It’s a kind of a Kaiser. So is a moment where you see that. Quite honestly, he has actually killed all of these people. We see their bodies, we see who they are and we see his madness. And then, like you say, over a very dramatic, sweeping shot of the. Of the institution from the air.

We hear the final words of Simon

Craig: I do have one lingering question though. What was the deal with Phil calling Amy and the whole he’s in Miami going to casino school?

Todd: I think that was just Phil’s way of getting him off the job. Like lying about it, just to say, look like he just pretended he called Amy. He didn’t really care. He just knew Phil went missing.

So he made up this story just so he could bring his friend in and get Phil off the job he wanted to do from the beginning.

Craig: That makes sense. I

Todd: mean, I think it’s a creepy atmosphere. FyreK movie, like you said, it’s a slow burn. Not a lot of happens, but if you’re the kind of person who’s in the mood for this, and you have the patience to sit down and go through it and you’re in the right mind, it has a build and a very satisfying concrete conclusion at the end.

It’s not one of these where you’re left with. Yeah, I kind of wonder, like, it’s up to your interpretation or whatnot. Not that I’m down on those movies, but it’s nice to see a movie where at least by the end, you know what happened and you can go back therefore. Yeah. Think about it and piece things together and figure it out.

In retrospect, the movies flaws are it’s pretty threadbare. It’s clearly just built around this. Creepy place. And it arguably is maybe not enough to hold your interest throughout just the idea. Ooh, we’re in a creepy old mental Institute. How many times have we seen that? But I think the payoff at the end.

Is all right. You know, I mean, at least it’s not two hours long. Yeah.

Craig: Yeah. I pretty much feel the same way. I, I think it’s a fine movie. I think it’s competently made. I think the acting is good and the atmosphere and the location is interesting and I found it to be a little slow. I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it.

I thought it was all right. I don’t know that I’d necessarily recommend it. I don’t know. Cause it’s not, I like fun movies and this movie just wasn’t much fun. It was just kind of like, okay.

Todd: It’s not goofy. It’s not self aware. It’s not anything like that. It’s, it’s fairly serious. Psychological thriller drama kind of stuff.

Right. It’s heavy.

Craig: Yeah. It’s heady. I mean, it was fine. I think it’s a perfectly fine movie. It’s just N just not to my taste. That’s all.

Todd: All right. Well, thank you for listening to another episode. And if you enjoyed this podcast, please share it with a friend. You can find Or you can find us on Facebook.

Just Google us, uh, two guys in a chainsaw. Please share us with a friend. We want to get more listeners. You can also find our YouTube channel. If you subscribe to us. There we can build up our listener base there as well and potentially reach another audience. Also this being a request. Thank you so much, Leah, for it.

This is not a movie that we probably would have chosen on our own. So we really appreciate your suggestion and we were happy to watch it and have something. Really interesting to talk about. If you have a new movie to introduce us to please just leave us a request at one of those places I just suggested, and we’d be happy to visit in the future until then.

I’m Todd and I’m Craig with Two guys and a Chainsaw.

1 Response

  1. Leeia says:

    Thanks so much for honoring my request! I am sorry you didn’t like it Craig. Your podcast is my favorite therefore I will need to request one both of you will enjoy.
    Stay safe!

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