Poptartology: Tokoloshe terrorises Orange Farm!

2013-07-14 06:00

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“Under your bed. Waiting to be fed.” Yes, that’s an actual pay-off line for the South African horror movie that was inevitably going to be made.

The poster for Blood Tokoloshe: Dawn of the Beast

Not just made but taken seriously. Producers Pascal Schmitz and Mayenzeke Baza were astonished when their made-for-DVD film Blood Tokoloshe got itself selected for the prestigious Durban International Film Festival coming up later this month.

“We set out to make a Nollywood-style horror. It was an experiment to see if it can make money in the DVD market,” says Schmitz, a top documentary producer. “We made it on a shoestring with unknown actors. It cost R75 000 to make – and when Durban chose it we ended up spending R78 000 polishing it in post-production.”

In the film, a man gets a sangoma to make him a tokoloshe so that he can get himself sex and money. Of course it all goes wrong and he makes one wish too many. His calabash overflows with blood and the serial-killing tokoloshe goes on a babe-slaying rampage.

Blood Tokoloshe is every kind of offensive – and it could just work. Asked if he expects a backlash from people accusing him of exploiting African culture, Schmitz says, “We’re about to find out, I guess.” He says that test audiences “laughed their heads off for about 70% of the film”.

Of course, the nation has been primed for Blood Tokoloshe by Daily Sun, who have exploited the mythical hairy little monster for years. Tokoloshe eats my groceries! Tokoloshe gave me Aids! Terror of the gay tokoloshe!

In fact, the tokoloshe was even captured on camera by the intrepid tabloid.

And it’s not just a black thing. The paper once ran a story, “Tokoloshe haunts mlungu!”

As if in retaliation, mlungus then haunted a tokoloshe. Two years – and a couple of accents – ago, Die Antwoord were commissioned by Vice magazine to investigate the matter at home.

Of course, Leon Schuster managed to outdo even Die Antwoord on the offensive-o-meter with his horrible candid camera tokoloshe gag.

Pop culture has had a love-hate relationship with the tokoloshe for years. In fact, Mangosuthu Buthelezi even guest starred in the first-ever South African tokoloshe feature, in 1965. In the film “a young African boy is rescued from a witchdoctor’s death curse. He travels to the big city where a blind white man becomes his protector.” Uh huh.

The other reason Blood Tokoloshe might work is that it’s landed itself an international sales agent, is targeting township screenings and will be available through an amazing new Wi-Fi download initiative operating in high-density commuter areas. You will be able to download Blood Tokoloshe on your phone at your taxi rank for R4. Tokoloshe eats Ster-Kinekor!

That and the fact that the producers have created a cooperative in Orange Farm, where the film was shot. “If we hit R500 000 returns we will go straight into making the sequel,” says Schmitz. The co-op will buy all the equipment needed to shoot it and production company Amariam will hire it from them. They will be set up to produce and screen their own movies if their tokoloshe hits the jackpot.

My favourite bit of exploitation irony is that the tokoloshe is played by a white guy.

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