The Curator of Schlock by Jeff Shuster

Rec

That’s short for record. 

Howdy y’all. Yeehaaaaaaa! I feel like a cowboy here, eating my Campbell’s Pork n’ Beans over an open campfire just like they did in the old west. This global pandemic will surely leave behind some good memories.

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I’ve had a lot of opportunity for introspection, looking back on life choices good and bad. For example, why at the start of this pandemic did I go all in on the pork n’ beans? Why no chicken noodle soup or canned chili? I could murder a man right now for a can of chili.

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Tonight’s movie is 2007’s Rec from directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza. I’m assuming that it’s two directors and that one of them doesn’t have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thing going on. The movie takes place in Barcelona, Spain and is Spanish language for those who you that need to be warned about such things. For those of you who can understand Spanish or don’t have problems reading English subtitles, be prepared for what may be the greatest found footage horror movie ever made.

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Rec begins with a TV news reporter named Ángela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman, Pablo, shooting the latest in her documentary series While You Were Sleeping.  Each episode features people who work at night while the rest of the city is sleeping. The episode they’re shooting will focus on the city’s firefighters. The two firefighters they’ll be following this night are named Álex (David Vert) and Manu (Ferrán Terraza). The firehouse gets a call in the middle of the night about an old lady named Mrs. Izquierdo, a local cat lady, being trapped in her apartment. The neighbors heard her screaming and are gathered in the lobby of the building.

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The four of them get over to the apartment complex as fast they can and are greeted by a couple of police officers that don’t care for a television crew poking around the premises. They all head upstairs and find Mrs. Izquierdo shambling about in a pink taffeta nightgown. Oh, her nightgown isn’t pink. That’s just blood smeared all over it. One of the officers approaches her and Mrs. Izquierdo promptly sinks her teeth into his neck, promptly tearing a chunk out while the other officer and firefighters pull her off.

This is one of those “things go from bad to worse” kind of movies. As the firefighters and remaining police officer try to evacuate, the lights in the building go off and we hear a man from the Spanish government informing them over a loudspeaker that the building is now sealed off. Everyone is under quarantine until further notice and to please be patient. This is not good. Let’s hope the disease that turned Mrs. Izquierdo into a rabid monster isn’t contagious.

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At some point, the government sends in a doctor in a HAZMAT suit and we learn that the source of the disease came from one of the tenant’s dogs. I think this doctor has an injection that treats or kills the patient with the disease. That isn’t clear because no gets a chance to use it because everyone in the building keeps getting bit and turning into a raving maniac. Ángela and Pablo make it up to the penthouse apartment in effort to find a way out that isn’t known to the government officials outside. In this apartment, they discover all sorts of religious iconography, articles about a young girl possessed by the devil, and recordings about Vatican knowledge of this disease. We don’t learn much more because the end is nigh for Angela and Pablo. Maybe I’ll find out the rest in Rec 2.


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Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.