Fans of the 2008 Canadian horror film Pontypool have long been awaiting the arrival of a sequel, and it is finally here… sort of.
The film, a clever reinvention of the zombie mythos directed by iconoclastic director Bruce McDonald and written by Tony Burgess (based on his own novel), garnered an immediate cult following for its surprising take on the subgenre and its strong performances. Rumors of a sequel have been circling since 2009 with the expected title of Pontypool Changes, and there was even poster art back in 2012.
Well, a sequel has arrived, but with a strange caveat. Writer Burgess and director McDonald have re-teamed with star Stephen McHattie for a new film called Dreamland, a film with nowhere near as much coverage as its description deserves:
“Stephen McHattie stars alongside Juliette Lewis, Tómas Lemarquis and Henry Rollins in the darkly comedic tale about a reluctant hitman who chases his jazz legend doppelganger through a city populated by street urchins, a vampire, and a crime kingpin.”
The big surprise, however, came when I recently spoke with writer Tony Burgess after noticing this tweet in his feed. I asked him about the use of the word sequel to describe Dreamland, and Burgess said:
“Well, it’s a strange thing… a sequel to the post-credit non-sequitur scene, with McHattie and [Lisa] Houle and Juliette Lewis and Henry Rollins. It’s in post now.”
The ending of the original Pontypool film (SPOILER ALERT) shows McHattie and Houle in some kind of fever dream otherworld shot in black and white, speaking to each other in a strange slang language and dressed in period garb. Burgess says this new movie is a sequel to that segment, but not really to the rest of the original movie.
So, does that mean we’ll ever get to see a genuine sequel to the beloved cult film? While it might be a tad premature to celebrate just yet, Burgess seems confident.
“The same producers [as Dreamland] are on the Pontypool sequel and have some confidence we will go in production this year,” he says. And as for the title, once thought to be Pontypool Changes? “It’s called Typo Chan,” he says, adding, “Haha!”
What does this mean? Is it another version of the story from Burgess’ original book, which contained many other narratives about the outbreak? Or is the zombie outbreak spreading somewhere new? Is the title Typo Chan a hint? The first film was about (SPOILER ALERT) a zombie virus spreading through the spoken word, and the film took place in a radio station. Could Typo Chan point towards 4Chan, the controversial anonymous posting site? Could the new film be about the disease spreading through the written word online?
We’ll just have to wait and see, but hopefully, we won’t have to wait very long!