Tusk Ending, Explained: What Was Howard’s True Intention?

Directed by filmmaker Kevin Smith, ‘Tusk’ is a 2014 horror-comedy starring the likes of Kevin Long, Haley Joel Osment, Michael Parks, Genesis Rodriguez, Johnny Depp, and more. The movie puts the audience into the shoes of Wallace Bryton, a successful and selfish podcaster who humiliates and mocks other people’s misfortunes to attract more listeners. Ironically, his thirst for an exciting story lands him in the house of Howard Howe, a man who claims to have lived many lives and is more than happy to share the tales of his adventures in return for simple household chores. However, things take a darker turn when Wallace wakes up in a wheelchair, missing a few parts of his body. If you’re curious to learn more about Wallace’s unfortunate fate and his sinister host, here’s everything you need to know about the ending of the ‘Tusk.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!  

Tusk Plot Synopsis

Wallace Bryton ( played by Justin Long) is a podcaster who doesn’t think twice before humiliating anyone’s misfortune or disabilities to satisfy his listener. This is fairly obvious at the beginning when he and his partner Teddy humiliates and throw puns on a guy who accidentally mutilates his leg while recreating an action sequence from the very famous Quentin Tarantino movie, ‘Kill Bill.’ He even plans to have a sit-up with the Kill Bill kid to make fun of his misfortune on the show but gets annoyed after learning that the Kill Bill kid has committed suicide. This demonstrates that Wallace only cares about himself and his podcast, and the people around him are nothing but an instrument to bring more and more visitors to his website and podcast. His girlfriend Ally also abhors Wallace’s lack of empathy and principles but often fails to talk sense into him. Fortunately, Wallace learns about Howard Howe through a letter pinned in a bar’s bathroom and decides to pay him a visit hoping for an interesting story. Sadly, his hunger and greed for the story eventually lead to his downfall and the transformation he never thought he’d go through.

Wallace arrives at Howard’s home and is promised a free room and tones of never heard stories on the condition that he performs simple household chores that Howard himself is unable to perform because of being restricted to a wheelchair. At first glance, Howard Howe appears to be an ordinary man, unbeknownst to everyone that he’s hiding a sinister secret and a harrowing agenda that would change Wallace’s life for good. Minutes after walking into Howard’s estate, Wallace begs the charming old man to tell him more about the lives he has lived. As the night progresses, Howard reveals that he has met Earnest Hemingway and even had the opportunity to drink with him during World War II. Howard even showed him the beer bottle he shared with Hemingway, greatly intriguing Wallace and luring him into the web of his stories. Howard also recalls the time when he was stranded at sea and was saved by a Walrus. Howard later named his trusted companion, who he deemed the most fulfilling friend, “Tusk,” after the name of the only trusted figure he has ever known, Mr. Tusky.

Howard continues the tales of his adventure, but before he can finish, Wallace falls on the ground unconscious. Upon waking up, Howard explains to Wallace that a poisonous recluse spider bit him, and to save him from imminent danger, the doctor had to amputate his leg. Howard’s attempt to explain what happened only serves to further perplex and frighten Wallace, who is still in denial over the amputation of his legs. Howard even denies him giving a cell phone to inform his family of his unfortunate condition, saying the doctor suggested removing all the phones from the house. Not just that, Howard even mocks Wallace by saying, “he’s truly sorry for his loss.”  

Tusk Ending Explained: What Was Howard’s True Intention?

Following the loss of his limbs, Wallace no longer has any interest in hearing about Howard’s exploits and is thus able to see through Howard’s falsehoods and realize it was Howard who arranged everything. Also, Wallace discovers that Howard is not crippled but has voluntarily confined himself to the wheelchair to make his victims feel comfortable before ensnaring them in his evil schemes. Howard somehow manages to get hold of his phone and tries to call his girlfriend to inform her that he has been abducted, but the call goes to voicemail instead. Howard again incapacitates Wallace and reveals that the life he has lived so has no meaning, and he must become a walrus to understand the true meaning of life. In the course of the evening, Howard elaborates on his background, detailing how difficult it was for him as a child due to the constant neglect he received from everyone around him. After the death of his parents, he was placed in an orphanage where he was subjected to abuse. Only Tusk, the walrus, was ever kind to him when he was stuck at sea, helping him to see the true nature of a human being.

According to Howard, man is a savage animal, and it’s better to be in the skin of a walrus. Thus, Howard places the needle between his fingers and sews Wallace into a shape of a walrus using human flesh. Afterward, Howard locks Wallace up in an enclosure, and the latter discovers that he isn’t Howard’s first human victim to transform into a walrus. Next, Howard, too, dons the walrus skin and challenges Wallace to a duel.

On the other hand, after learning of Wallace’s abduction, Teddy and Ally arrives in Canada, and meets a homicide detective named Guy LaPointe, and somehow manages to trace Wallace to Howard’s mansion. Wallace’s cries lead them to the enclosure, and the trio sees Wallace trapped inside a walrus’s skin and standing over Howard’s bloody caracas, suggesting that he has won the duel. Guy LaPointe aims a shotgun at Wallace to liberate him from his pain, and the screen fades to black. The movie takes a year’s leap, and we see Ally and Teddy driving to the same spot to see Wallace. Ally throws a fish to lure him out, and the duo shares a final heartfelt moment. Ally confesses her love to Wallace, and the latter, with watery eyes, replies in his own way, culminating the movie.

Why did Howard Howe Transformed Wallace Into Mr. Tusk?

Walrus were Howard Howe’s obsession, and he thought they were perfect in every way. Throughout his childhood, Howard was constantly thrown about, assaulted, abused, and raped. No one cared enough about him to treat his injuries. They all let their inner monsters loose on him. Howard finally escaped the orphanage when he couldn’t stand it any longer. Years later, while he was in peril at sea, a Walrus came to his rescue; they became fast friends, and he came to call the Walrus “Mr Tusk.” Howard had been able to make it for several weeks with the help of Mr. Tusk, but eventually, he murdered and ate the walrus to satiate his ravenous need.

But all was for nothing, for a passing ship came to Howard’s rescue soon after. The ship’s horns rang in his ears, and he felt sick with shame at the realization that he was no different from his abusers. He killed his best friend, and for what? To satisfy his hungry belly. Thus he swears to transform people, transitioning them from their impure and savage skin to kind and considerate animals. Wallace was one such human being, who only cared for himself, and would stop at nothing to make his podcast a success, even if it meant humiliating and bashing a disabled teenager. Thus Howard decides to turn Wallace into Mr. Tusk to free him from the above-mentioned flaws and demerits. In his opinion, Howard was saving him, giving him a chance to live a life of significance.

Why Did Howard Fight With Wallace in a Walrus’ Skin?

One may say that Wallace’s metamorphosis reaches its pinnacle in the final showdown when Howard confronts him while dressed as a walrus. Here Howard delivers a serious challenge to Wallace, an ultimatum that only one of them may prevail, implying that Wallace must kill him to preserve his own existence. This test is a moving metaphor, encouraging Wallace to rise above his human nature by accepting his new identity as a tusked walrus. On the other hand, one might also argue that Howard’s ruse is really just him trying to get rid of his guilt, giving Wallace’s new identity, “Mr. Tusk,” a chance to repair his agency. Wallace and Howard engage in a fierce battle that Wallace ultimately wins by stabbing the latter in the heart with his sharp tusks. 

Who is Guy LaPointe, and What Connection did he Share with Howard Howe? 

Guy LaPointe was an unusual and quirky homicide detective who claimed to have crossed paths with Howard Howe when he was investigating the sudden disappearance of a famous hockey player named Gregory Grumtree. Guy During his investigation, encountered a funny-talking and well-mannered man named, ‘Bartholomew Mosier’ who managed to trick LaPointe by successfully portraying himself as an unassuming elderly man spending the last of his days in a quaint cottage outside the city. But LaPointe’s investigative instincts began to pick up, so he probed further and found out that Bartholomew Mosier was not a real person, and he did not exist in Canada. A month later, Gregory’s body was found dismembered. Lapointe drove to the old man’s cottage again, but he was nowhere to be found. 

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