October makes me think of pumpkins and scarecrows in the corn fields, and no one does scarecrows better than Pumpkin Rot, the King of Halloween on the web. If you haven't visited his site then you must immediately do so! Beyond the volumes of visual inspiration for your holiday, he also runs the definitive Halloween blog.
Last year Pumpkin Rot took time away from the blog to work on a secret project that resulted in prop design and construction for the movie Mr. Jones, which premiered earlier this year. Reviews for the movie were mixed (we loved it), and granted it's not an easy film to digest. It's an experimental, meta film that begs the viewer to leave logic behind and simply experience it as the characters in the movie are experiencing the events. With such little narrative, it forces the viewer to come up with their own answers and fill in the many blanks. Is it asking too much of an audience? Yes. It's not a perfect film, but horror fans who appreciate a deep dive into mythology, symbolism, and high concept may see through the veil. As small budget, independent films go, it's trying something new in the age were horror films are mainly regurgitations of one another.
If you were left bewildered as to what the hell was going on, you are not alone. I feel there was a much bigger story only hinted at, and below is my crazy and possibly far-fetched interpretation. WARNING: Major spoilers lie ahead, so do not proceed until seeing the movie first. Repeat viewings are also quite helpful, and ultimately, this is a disturbing movie for a chilly and dark October night.
From my interpretation, I found the film to be full of icons that suggest a bigger story that what we are shown. Mr. Jones appears to be a protector of our world, like the guard dog from Greek mythology, Cerberus, who guards of gates of hell. Mr. Jones goes out nightly for some sort of business (gathering sticks?), and creates scarecrows to scare away the world of nightmares from our waking “normal” world. This seems very Lovecraftian to me, especially at the end when he seems to pulled up and out into the darkness (by a giant tentacle?).
The connections to Halloween are also unmistakable. He also wears an ugly mask (costume) and carries a lantern to ward off evil. He also decorates many areas of his house with lit witch jars which suggests Halloween pumpkins (or perhaps just lack of access to electricity). He also sets several scarecrows on fire which again seem to recall the sacrificial bonfires of the Druids. And Halloween is the night when the veil between the world of living and the dead is lifted, as it's vividly portrayed towards the end of the movie.
During Scott’s interviews they keep calling the scarecrows "totems". Though widely misunderstood, totems hold some a spiritual significance telling not only the story of a tribe but perhaps also serving as a protector. One guy says that there are at least 9 known scarecrows sent around the globe to apparently random locations. What if these locations were areas of were that veil was weakest – perhaps say a hellmouth?
In the film, Scott uncovers a portal and literally enters into another world, finding a large alter with the baby totem (the set up seemed very Christ like to me). This clearly suggests he enters some sort of hellmouth, perhaps the biggest on Earth. He then upsets the balance by displacing that totem and that triggers all kinds of time/space warps, and like the bible says, a day with never ending darkness.
Mr. Jones was the one who made contact with Scott because he was looking for a replacement. I imagine making those scarecrows is very tedious work, and being the sole person responsible for keeping the evil at bay is even worse. But maybe he’s not the only one. Maybe there’s a Mr. Jones at every hellmouth? Those forces must be trying to break into our world from more than one spot, right? There will always be a Mr. Jones, and his duty will always be to guard the waking world. The tagline is also very coded. If you see him, run because he intends to make you the next Mr. Jones. It’s a very intriguing concept.