Pussycake (Emesis) is a 2021 Argentinian sci-fi horror, written and directed by Pablo Parés, with additional writing from Maxi Ferzzola and Hernán Moyano. Pablo is no stranger in the directorial chair, having over thirty-six productions under his belt since his debut in 1991 with a strong focus on low-budget zombie movies.

“The struggling all-girl rock band Pussycake kicks off a new tour in the hopes that it will be the spark they need to resurrect their careers. Things don’t start off well, however, as they show up to their first gig to find the place deserted. The band soon discovers that being forgotten by their fans is the least of their problems, as they catch the attention of horrors from beyond our reality.” – FirghtFest

Pussycake (2021)

Featuring a natural introduction to all of its story elements, Pussycake implements effective visual storytelling to allure to necessary character backgrounds whilst avoiding lengthy information dumps on the audience. As such, this organic development certainly keeps the pace at a consistent speed, at no time becoming bogged down with unnecessary story management. Although this does lead to certain aspects of the story being left in ambiguity, never truly understanding the origins of certain details as a whole. However, this reinforces the natural believability of the story, personally considering it unreasonable to be privy to every piece of information explaining a science fiction-orientated story such as this.

Additionally, this sci-fi motif slowly diverges outside of what is to usually be expected, starting out as what seems to be a standard zombie romp and soon evolves into an 80s-inspired monster movie. These chundering creatures are revealed to be controlled by parasitic Isopoda, monster insects whose only interest is to find more humans to convert into hosts. Undoubtedly, this fresh take on the usual undead is a breath of fresh air to an ever-stagnating genre.

Mostly made up of an unknown cast, the members of the titular band Pussycake provide a varied range in their performance. Their badass attitude fits the group’s punk aesthetics perfectly, yet still, ascertains a sense of humility through the ever-escalating terror as the girls, one by one, succumb to this otherworldly horror. Indeed, this is where their performances really shine, their in-human movements whilst portraying these creatures, along with the impressive make-up effects, feel effortless in their display.

Furthermore, the utilisation of these make-up effects, as well as the film’s special effects are faultless in their implementation. Making a conscious effort to employ incredibly detailed practical effects, a visceral display of blood, guts, and vomit that is, by far, Pussycake’s driving force. Not afraid to bathe the cast in enough bodily fluids that they are barely recognisable by the film’s halfway mark – a viscous coating that only seems to exacerbate as the film reaches its bloody conclusion. That isn’t to say that the film has no examples of CGI effects, solely effectuated in instances that would be unfeasible to ascertain through practical means. Although contrary to most, these computer-generated graphics are visually consummated, occurring merely a handful of times, and are rarely the subject of the scene.

Supplementing this gory display, an eclectically mixed soundtrack washes over scenes with an efficacious vigour that seemingly evolves in tandem with the story’s elements of horror. Beginning with a rowdy performance from Pussycake themselves, the score soon delves into similar territory to the story with a mix of tense rising-string crescendos as well as some John Carpenter-esc synths just to name a few of the many different styles effectively utilised throughout. Rather than feeling fractured by the change in style, this fluctuation undeniably nourishes the intended atmosphere of each scene.

Compelling from start to finish, Pussycake is a loving tribute to 80s monster movies that still accomplishes its own unique style successfully. The mix of captivating characters, a gripping soundtrack, and gratuitous gore equate to an enjoyably messy experience best experienced in a crowded cinema with fellow gore hounds.


We saw Pussycake (2021) at Fright Fest 2022

Fright Fest 2022 Banner

More Festival Coverage