Session 9 | Crooked Media
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March 19, 2024
Ruined with Alison Leiby and Halle Kiefer
Session 9

In This Episode

Halle and Alison get very invested in the asbestos removal industry to ruin Session 9.

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Check out @theradiopoint and @crookedmedia for more original content!






[theme music]: If scary movies give you dread. Keep you up late night in bed, here’s a podcast that will help you ease your mind. We’ll explain the plot real nicely then we’ll talk about what’s frightening, so you never have to have a spooky time. It’s Ruined.


Halle Kiefer: Oh, hello. Welcome to Ruined! 


Alison Leiby: I’m Alison. 


Halle Kiefer: And I’m Halle [laughter] and this is a podcast where we ruin a horror movie just for you. 


Alison Leiby: Halle how, how are you? 


Halle Kiefer: I don’t know, Alison. I think, like everyone else I’m being torn apart at an atomic level. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Just reading the news. Yeah. It’s just unfortunate that, we are headed back to the 80s. We already lost Roe, and now there—


Alison Leiby: I mean, we could wish for the 80s at this point. 


Halle Kiefer: Girl, you’re—


Alison Leiby: More like the 1880s. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, boy, you’re not wrong about that. Yeah, it is funny watching these, because of course, we’re doing, March Madness month. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And we are. 


Alison Leiby: Fitting. 


Halle Kiefer: A lot of descent into madness. And it is funny, again, as a queer woman, how easy I was like, well, I would be in a facility, I think at some point, you know, if, there’s a lot of that in our past— 


Alison Leiby: I think just for being a writer, you would have had we would have ended up in facilities. 


Halle Kiefer: I, a woman, okay. Could control a pen. Oh, my God. 


No. That’s witchcraft. Put her in a hospital. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. So. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. Absolutely. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. and it just sort of I we’ve talked about this on the podcast before, obviously, but. Yeah, well, it’s just sort of like America thinks of itself as an exceptional country. And we are in fact going to be like most countries in the world, I would say, which is the government no longer cares what we want, like. 


Alison Leiby: No, no. 


Halle Kiefer: The government conducts its own business and we have to sort of, just live our lives on the ground. And I guess that that is simply the way things are going to be. I, I’m talking, this this week about IVF and, surrogacy and everything. And—


Alison Leiby: And I would also say the day to day of knowing that overwhelmingly, people do not want to fund, a genocide. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. And that thing is like it goes hand in hand where it’s like, yeah, we we, the people in power can only imagine control and can only forgive. Those who also exert that control. Like that seems fine to them. Right? So the people in charge, like it seems fine to give infinite amount of money to Israel to wage a genocide. Because, you know, Mike Johnson and his friends, they might say they’re pro-life, but, they, they’re excited for people to be, to live in hell, you know, like they’re excited to, to bring, to bear, to force people to live the lives that they want them to live. And again, I don’t know, I feel like in the past, I would have just been like, there is I would have been nihilistic about it because we keep doing this, and I just feel like the only way past this is, as we’ve talked a million times, a truly, unprecedented optimism. Especially also because, like, media is collapsing. It’s like, well, you know. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: Like, yeah, it’s like, well, if it’s everything at once, then at least we could all be acknowledging it’s everything at once. I don’t have any solutions. I want to be clear. 


Alison Leiby: No no no no, no solutions. 


Halle Kiefer: But I just want it to be we know and we’re talking about it with you. And hopefully this is a little respite. Of course you will be screaming at those things, but, yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s just a cacophony of like, oh, I’ll, read this, you know, like to decompress. Oh, Vice is ending. Okay, well, I guess websites don’t exist, and I, I’ve said this before, but it’s like the the jobs I did in my 20s that you could, like, cobble together, like having two roommates—


Alison Leiby: Don’t exist. 


Halle Kiefer: —and living like you could live. They literally don’t exist. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. You can’t, like, be a freelance writer. You can’t be a journalist. You can’t like. Do that kind of creative work. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: And like, ascend through a pathway of like this kind of corner of. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: You know, media and entertainment. Because none of the places that we did those things for exist anymore. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And we’ve talked a little bit like venture capital and private equity, but it’s like but it is true. And if it’s true about the industries that we know and talk about it, I’m sure in every other industry they’re having the exact same problem. I just have like, what are their jobs there, teacher? Oh, no, I’m sure that’s bad working in medicine. I’m sure that’s insane. 


Alison Leiby: Awful. Yeah. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Like yeah. Every like. And—


Alison Leiby: Have you considered being the CEO of a corporation that seems to be a job that you could still have. 


Halle Kiefer: But then you’ve got to be insane. And it’s like. 


Alison Leiby: I want to do—


Halle Kiefer: Like, they’re just. Yeah.


Alison Leiby: I just don’t want to work. I guess at the end of the day. And I don’t think anyone should have to. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: There is something in all this. So it’s like, well, aren’t we meant to be just wandering around the woods? You know, obviously—


Alison Leiby: Picking berries and petting dogs. 


Halle Kiefer: And that’s not to fantasize like, oh, that, that is like an automatically like equal or just a moral way to live. 


Alison Leiby: No, no. 


Halle Kiefer: But rather like, boy, we really screwed the pooch on making our version of a livable reality, which of course is like white American capitalism. It’s like, well, it wasn’t that. So it has to be—


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Something else. Because if that is what it was, we fucked up. So we should not be in charge of this. 


Alison Leiby: No, it definitely wasn’t being on Slack at night. Like, that’s not what we were built for. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: The lean in of it all, especially as women where like they and they got us. [both speaking] They got all of us. But it’s like the last era where it’s like, we’ll just lean into a system that will punish you and and won’t exist in five years, and you’ll give up your whole life and you make nothing of note and like, it’s like, what? Why would we have leaned into that? But that’s of course, you know, I mean, and that’s like every marginalized group, I, I obviously we’re just like, wait, what are we doing? Why are we agreeing with this? 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: Again, I don’t know how to literally my list of like to do bring back media, bring back journalism. We need it. But I mean I guess unfortunately that’s like every time this happens in history, it’s like, oh yeah, journalism and media is collapsing at the same time as these religious people are gaining traction, state to state. That’s what has happened—


Alison Leiby: And education is being decimated. So people can’t even understand the like little media that there is and there’s and like now we’re in this like new insane age where it’s like, I can’t tell if something is real or not anymore. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh girl, I know—


Alison Leiby: Media literacy, like like you show someone a video and like, now every video I see, even if I took it, I’m like, is this AI? I don’t know. [laughs] Is this a deepfake of my cat? 


Halle Kiefer: And I feel like for me, when I can’t tell, I can feel my brain being like, then I can’t deal with us. And it’s like, no, we have to. 


Alison Leiby: We have to.


Halle Kiefer: And again, do we have solutions? We do not. But we just want to talk about it because we know that you are if we’re dealing with it, you’re dealing with it. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. We’re all we’re all struggling and I like and it’s also like a strange place to be where you’re like, I’m struggling a lot like mentally, financially. And I’m in an extremely cushy position and a privileged position. 


Halle Kiefer: Absolutely. 


Alison Leiby: In comparison to, I would say, 99.5% of the people that live in America. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Absolutely.


Alison Leiby: So it’s, my God, it just like, makes my brain melt out of my ears.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And I think it is on us. And like this is sort of, what we’re all going to have to be doing. But especially people who have privilege like we do is like, I we have to then like whoever is leading what we’re doing next, we have to be supporting it. It’s just sort of like, how do we find that? What is the group? If you’re part of a group and you think, please, like, you know, read up on our group and see if there’s stuff that interests you, just send it to us— 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. We’ll see. 


Halle Kiefer: Because it’s it’s sort of, you know, I mean, here I’m thinking of like, political candidates, but like, even that’s, like almost too limited, you know, a framework to—


Alison Leiby: Like mutual aid and grassroots community stuff and like, just starting, I don’t know, whenever, like, things feel deeply overwhelming. And I feel like this year they’re going to be so awful. [both speaking] As we approach November, like, I mean, I like sometimes I’m like, just shoot them both in the head. At this point. 


Halle Kiefer: I mean listen, I didn’t say it. Well, my concern is you. They’re simply going to turn to dust like I am concerned. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. I don’t even think we have to, like, stop them. I think time might do that, but it is like. 


Halle Kiefer: Time comes for us all Alison.


Alison Leiby: Really brutal moment. But whenever I feel like, super stressed at, like, kind of a more zoomed out, like, national and global level, I’m always like, what can I do in my neighborhood to make sure—


Halle Kiefer: Yeah absolutely. 


Alison Leiby: —that I’m, like, helping? I’ve been, like, carrying a lot more, cash and small bills on me for the folks who live here. 


Halle Kiefer: That’s fine. 


Alison Leiby: Because I never have cash. I’m always like. Or I have like hundreds I got paid with. And I’m like, I don’t really know what to do with these.


Halle Kiefer: No I think being thoughtful in that way, like in LA too where it’s like nobody carries cash. Like how how. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And how quickly that happened. Like how devastating that would be to people who lived off that. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. I, I think it’s just yeah. Keeping in mind that like we our obligation to our local communities and, and we will do that as well and we’ll tell you about it as we do it. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Because I don’t know what I was talking to my mom, I. And she’s like, I gotta go to a meeting, I gotta do something. I’m like, that’s. I feel the same way. So, let’s all do it. 


Alison Leiby: My parents and I have had similar conversations where I’m like, okay, well, like like it also had to look, you know, for my if I’m in a position of comfort, my parents are in an even greater one. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: As like boomers with a home and all that stuff. [laughs] And when I hear them be like, I don’t know what we’re gonna do about all this, I’m like, relieved that at least they feel it. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And I have a lot of, I don’t know, like, again, like, our parents raised us to be successful in the systems that existed. 


Alison Leiby: Exactly. 


Halle Kiefer: And not to not not not to do it without questioning it, but but but to also sort of there’s just a presumption that certain things are just the way they are. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And I, I’m grateful that this what this will hopefully evoke in all of us is no, that’s simply not true. And it can’t be true. Like, literally there’s no way we I how will people live—


Alison Leiby: No we can’t this can’t keep going that’s for sure.


Halle Kiefer: How will people rent my god. 


Alison Leiby: There’s gonna be like 18 old rich white men and then the rest of us are going to be dead. 


Halle Kiefer: Sorry. My my brassiere is falling out. 


Alison Leiby: Of what? [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Of your of your boobs?


Halle Kiefer: Upwards of my eye for some reason. It’s coming up out of my shirt. 


Alison Leiby: Oh is it hooked in the back? Or is it just kind of like, resting atop—


Halle Kiefer: You know, actually, it’s a bra that if anyone here has big boobs, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. They’re just. I feel like we’re past it. But there was a time where you. If you had big boobs, you could only get a bra that looks medicinal. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And I used to have a joke. I just talked about it, but it’s like I had a joke where it’s like, oh, every bra I have sounds like. I looks like I found it on the grounds of an abandoned insane asylum. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Which is perfect because—


Alison Leiby: I feel like I remember you saying that on stage.


Halle Kiefer: This is the perfect movie, that because it takes place on the grounds of abandoned insane asylum. 


Alison Leiby: Look at us having segues. 




Halle Kiefer: So let us begin. This week’s movie is Session 9, which I had of course always heard of. It’s on like, every list, and I never watched it. And I think, I there’s some movies that I feel badly that I haven’t seen or that I sort of feel like, I mean, God, I’ve seen so many movies, but like, certain movies I’m like oh my gosh, I haven’t seen it. And I do think, like, I’ve now have this perspective every time I see a horror horror movie, it was the right time to see it. Does that make sense?


Alison Leiby: I think that’s a nice way of thinking about things. Otherwise, it’s like there are so many movies—


Halle Kiefer: Yeah there’s just no way. 


Alison Leiby: Is it is like it’s just overwhelming to be like, it’s a full time job. Yeah. I mean, it is like it is literally your job, but like also like it’s [laughs] it’s a job to like stay on top of art that gets created when there’s this many. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, places to make it. 


Halle Kiefer: So this is, directed by, Brad Anderson, who also, co-wrote the screenplay with Stephen Gevedon, and let me just say Brad Anderson, he has sort of an interesting, filmography. He did The Machinist with, Christian Bale. He has also, done a number of rom coms, including Happy Accidents, which I remember. God, I’m trying to. I don’t know if I saw it, but I remember seeing the trailer for this 2000. It was a rom com starring Marisa Tomei and Vincent D’Onofrio. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, okay. Love, Marissa Tomei. 


Halle Kiefer: I want to go back and revisit it because Session 9 was great. So I was like, oh, well, maybe his rom coms are great. He clearly has good, comedic instincts. Another one called Next Stop Wonderland. 


Alison Leiby: That sounds like vaguely familiar without me knowing anything about it. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. And. Okay. They meet on a train. It looks like the Wonderland station in Massachusetts. Oh, and, Session 9 also place, takes place in Massachusetts, specifically Danvers, Massachusetts, specifically at the Danvers State Hospital, which is, also known as the State Lunatic Hospital at Danvers, the Danvers Lunatic Asylum, and Danvers State Insane Asylum. Back when you used to call things that. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, it’s so funny. I saw it in the trailer, which I know we’re about to talk about, but, like, it’s so, like, the way that language evolves. Like when you see something that’s like lunatic asylum. I’m like, I use the word lunatic to describe. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Like, somebody at a grocery store who’s, like, buying weird stuff and, like, being weird and not in a not in a mental health way. 


Halle Kiefer: Right. 


Alison Leiby: Just like about somebody’s behavior. That’s annoying. And it’s like, so strange that it’s like, no, that was like, technically a medical diagnosis at a certain time in our—


Halle Kiefer: It’s so devastating. 


Alison Leiby: —history and then I’m like, I’m like this maniac over here. And it’s like, yeah, that’s a guy that kills people. That’s what we use that word for in the past. [laughs] 


Halle Kiefer: Well I also think like a lot of that was like a person who killed someone. But now and like we would understand is having severe psychosis. And they had no understanding of it whatsoever. 


Alison Leiby: Of what was happening. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. But I do agree like how I really tried to not say crazy and insane as much as I do, but God, it’s just that they’re such evocative words. But I do think we just need to, all work together to come up with better words. I like absurd, you know, like I there’s—


Alison Leiby: Thesaurus like wild as a I like using like that was wild. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. And I think I think eventually we’ll get there. Maybe, you know, it might just take us a minute, but I love that it was set at an actual space. And then they use details about it, much like how I love when people go to the local library to look something up. I, like every detail they brought up about Danvers State Hospital. I like, looked it up. It was like, this is on the National Register of Historic Places, you know, just like this is, you know, like it was in 1984. So I appreciated the attention to detail and just a little sprinkle. So it makes it seem more, realistic. Right?


Alison Leiby: Yes, I like that. 


Halle Kiefer: And, we always like to have Alison watch the trailer. And what did you think about the trailer for Session 9? Alison? 


Alison Leiby: I can’t quite figure out what they’re like. At first I was like, oh, they’re contractors, and they’re tearing down the building. And then I was like, no, they seem a little more involved in its history, so perhaps that’s not what’s happening. But very spooky. Like, I mean, it is just like a classic spooky, scary like abandoned mental hospital from the 1850s. Like that is always going to be scary.


Halle Kiefer: Right. Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: So I like that. 


Halle Kiefer: I think you’re pretty dead on with your assessment of what those guys are up to. We always like to take a baseline. Scary. Alison, how scary would it be to have to remove asbestos from an abandoned mental institution? 


Alison Leiby: I mean. Very on a lot of fronts. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Like, do you think there’s like an extra like, is there like a pay scale for like how fucked up a place is if you’re doing construction work on it? Like, if it’s, do you think there’s like an extra, like an overtime type fee if it’s like, haunted? 


Halle Kiefer: Well, they didn’t, not for haunting, but they do get a bonus for this job. And I was like, yeah, I would need a bonus to get—


Alison Leiby: I would need a bonus if I felt like somebody who regularly worked on like parking garages and office buildings and they were like, do you mind getting the asbestos out of the old, loony bin back here? Don’t worry. There aren’t like I’d be like, oh, well, for more money. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, if you pay me $1 million. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: But again, I did something that I thought this movie from, like, what? I knew if it was like, a very. It’s going to be much more like cynical and cold and maybe more like hostile, I think just because maybe the setting, I thought, like the visuals of it, but it’s actually a like psychological. It is a horror movie, but like it has more of a psychological drama to it. 


Alison Leiby: Oh I like that. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, that I really enjoyed. And I was like, oh, that makes me want to watch his rom coms. And then finally, would you like to guess the twist in Session 9? And yes, there is a proper twist in this film. 


Alison Leiby: Ooh. 


[voice over]: Guess the twist. 


Alison Leiby: I’m going to guess that one of the guys on the crew is actually a ghost. 


Halle Kiefer: Ooh, okay. 


Alison Leiby: But none of them know it until they start being like meow meow meow meow meow. Getting in there like. 


Halle Kiefer: Better and better at guessing every single day.


Alison Leiby: I’m learning but also not. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, well, it’s like getting into you on like a, like an emotional, level. Right? Like it’s like you. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Don’t know it consciously. But it’s like when you train a dog like we’ve trained you to. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. Thank you. 


Halle Kiefer: Absolutely. Listen, we are both, human, golden retrievers, if you’ve ever met them. So I say we—


Alison Leiby: I’m more of a basset, but yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Aw. Yeah. Okay. All dogs are good, and all dogs go to heaven. 


Alison Leiby: That’s true. 


Halle Kiefer: And unfortunately, I will say this. Well, whatever. Well, we’ll get to it. In case you’re sensitive about animal deaths, there is a dog that does go to heaven in this film. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: So if you don’t want to hear it, skip it. And I say this only because recently I was thinking about, having Naomi Ekperigin on and not not not being conscious of the fact that the movie we did with her does have a pet death, and she couldn’t have been more distraught. So I just want to flag that. 


Alison Leiby: Sure. 


Halle Kiefer: Other than that, any other problems you have, you’re just gonna have to figure it out. 


Alison Leiby: Well, Rizz is never going to die, so it doesn’t affect me in that way. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. Well he’s certainly not gonna die before you. I mean, we could all agree on that. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah definitely not.


Halle Kiefer: Definitely not. All right. Well, with that in mind, let us please ruin Session 9. All right, so we open on. And this is a shot that is in the trailer. It’s on the cover. If you look up the movie, it is a old timey wheelchair. So it has little wheels at the bottom. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Sort of like a hospital wheelchair versus a standard or, you know, a more modern wheelchair. And it is upside down in the hallway of an abandoned building that we’re obviously gonna find out is the Danvers State Hospital. And the image slowly flips right side up, telling us, things are going to be a little unexpected. Okay? Things are going to be not as they seem. Alison. Oh, we see a man sitting in the driver’s side of a very messy car, and there’s a lot of, like, excellent shots where he’s looking at the radio, and the radio keeps changing. And so you’re not sure. Oh, is that in his head? Is he hearing a change? And then we hear somebody talking to him in the passenger seat. And we pull back and we see his friend, played by David Caruso, is, also in the car with him. 


Alison Leiby: Sure. 


Halle Kiefer: But a lot of, a lot of great, like, immediately putting you, off, like putting on your [both speaking] like, oh, wait, what am I listening to? Which I love, and of course the man listening his name is Gordon, and he owns an asbestos cleanup crew. And it is printed, printed on the side of he has a bright red van. And so basically they are hired to different jobs. This is like a huge job. Obviously like this is going to be basically they have different companies come in, assess what they could do, how much money, how much time. And then they all put in a bid. And I understand they don’t know what the bids are beforehand. Right. So—


Alison Leiby: Like they don’t know what the other bids are.


Halle Kiefer: Yes. So I will say there’s a lot of discussion about running an asbestos cleanup business, which I thought was interesting. And I seem—


Alison Leiby: It’s nice to have that info. You know, you never know when you’re going to need it. 


Halle Kiefer: So his passenger, his friend Phil, who has worked with him, presumably forever, is asking about the baby. So Gordon just had a baby named Emma with his wife, Wendy. And the baby is old enough to have a christening. But I think we’re to think under a year old. So little bitty baby Gordon is exhausted. And as all, parents of infants are and says, yeah, it’s just been really hard. Emma still has that ear infection. Gordon’s like, oh, she’s had it since the christening. He’s like, I know it’s been really I’ve been exhausted. Wendy’s been exhausted. It’s just been really hard. But I mean, we’ve all heard that. So again it’s it it’s it’s like what weight should we give this a, you know, starting out the way that we do? I also want to say the guy who plays Gordon is Peter Mullan. He’s so good in this. I think he’s excellent—


Alison Leiby: That name is really familiar. Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s a Scottish actor and his accent does come in and out, which is fun, but like. 


Alison Leiby: Very fun. 


Halle Kiefer: It doesn’t matter to me. Like, it’s like he’s an excellent actor. And I thought he really crushed this role. Oh, yeah. He’s in a ton of British stuff. Check check him out. And so, but we’re already seeing, like, he’s kind of sleepy. He’s kind of slow. So then it’s like when things start to. Maybe he’s not sure what’s real and what’s not. We’ve already established there are factors at play that maybe he’s not on his game like he normally would be. Right. 


Alison Leiby: Mm hmm. Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So Phil, Phil’s a nice guy and he’s like well let me know if you need anything. Obviously I love you and Wendy like you know just let me know I’ll help out. And they are of course seated outside the Massachusetts abandoned Danvers State Hospital. A security guard joins them and he says, oh, Billy Griggs is almost there. He’s from the county or the city, I think from the city. And he is going to do a walk through with them, explain the bidding process and that kind of thing. And Billy knows, Gordon, because I imagine whatever state you’re in, there aren’t that many asbestos cleanup guys right. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: For Massachusetts, like I. Sure there’s like the handful that gets everything, especially for something that this is intense like this. You wouldn’t want to do this with someone who just started. 


Alison Leiby: No, you would need and like, I’m sure there’s like a lot of specific, like, expensive equipment and like, a lot of, like, safety and health, kind of like protocol that you would need to know. So.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. So they’re getting called in because they are experts because they can do this kind of level of work. That being said, the they just do seem like guys from Massachusetts. So, you know, they’re not approaching this level of science is like the regular guys. This is like Gordon’s business. And they have it have worked together for a long time. Phil says, you know, I’m going to be honest, like, so this place has been closed since. It’s 1985. So it’s been 15 years. And he says it’s a place has been closed that long. Why are you up here and why do they have you carrying a gun? And the—


Alison Leiby: Great question. 


Halle Kiefer: And the guard tells him, well, you know, a lot of patients like, lived here for years and then we’re basically unceremoniously dumped. So a lot of people actually come back here. And I’m like, that makes sense. Like, I’m sure it’d be a traumatic place to live. But also if you spent years living there, it would be a home, you know, and also if you’re a mentally ill, person who was dumped out of an institution, you might be homeless. So the idea of like returning that, I think that makes sense. And he’s based like—


Alison Leiby: How long ago did it close? Did they say? 


Halle Kiefer: 15 years. 


Alison Leiby: Oh 15. 


Halle Kiefer: So it’s been a long time. But like, the patients would still be alive. A lot of them, right? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah. I was thinking 50.


Halle Kiefer: No no no. Yeah. It’s much more recent. And basically the city is, you know, this guy. Well, we’ll meet Billy in a minute. Again, there’s a lot of, like, a related conversation that I thought was fascinating. I loved it. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, I would love to know more about it. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. He says, like, I can’t imagine coming back here. If I was them, I’d rather be homeless. But then again, I’m not nuts. Well. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Not yet anyways, the car arrives with, Billy Griggs from the city, and they follow him in, and, once they get there, Gordon tells Phil that he heard that Environmental Solutions and American Yankee already came last week and put in their bids. So they’re the last company. And Gordon is basically like, I know if I know American Yankee, they put in a bid to do it fast with a low price point. So now Gordon’s like, how are we going to get this? How fast can we do this and at what price. And they sort of argue what to do because Phil’s like look at this place. It’s going to take weeks. Like there’s no way like please do not lowball us specifically with the time. Like it’s just gonna be impossible. Right.


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: But Gordon’s like, Phil, I’ve known you for years. Just trust me on this. I know what to do. They go to the hospital. It’s gigantic. It’s red brick, four stories like brick columns in the front. Stunning. And Bill Griggs, gives them a tour. We. These are all actual facts, you know, he’s like, oh, this is a Kirkbride building named after Thomas Kirkbride. And there’s basically he said it’s shaped like a giant bat. So the main, staff building is the body. 


Alison Leiby: Oh ew. 


Halle Kiefer: And then it has two wings. One’s the women’s wing and one’s the men’s wing. And, they sort of start walking through. And as they do, we find out, oh, you know, the building is on the National Historic Register. So they wouldn’t let Bill. Bill wants the city to tear it down and actually use the land, like the land is the most valuable thing. And it’s kind of like a is it worth it to clean house and use these buildings again, knowing they’ve been sitting here 15 years or level it? But the town manager is basically overruled, Bill, and he wants to re like just reuse the buildings as they exist, which I can’t because they’re beautiful historic buildings. But then what that requires is an insane amount of rehabbing the interiors of everything.


Alison Leiby: It might be easier to just have a new building. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And they’re walking through and it has, like, all these old timey like it has a hydrotherapy room. And Phil says, what is this? And it’s a big tank full of stagnant water. And Bill’s saying like, yeah, I—


Alison Leiby: Why is the water still there?


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, I it’s, it looks like they just left a bunch of stuff there. Like it’s full of furniture, it’s full of files. Which again you think they wouldn’t do. But again, I wouldn’t be surprised, you know, if something like this should get shut down. He said yeah. They used to do hydrotherapy. It was kind of like cutting edge when they first built this stuff. And Danvers is actually the place where they perfected the pre-frontal lobotomy. 


Alison Leiby: Ah. 


Halle Kiefer: This will, of course, come in later. Come in handy later.


Alison Leiby: I would guess it might. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. As they move on, Bill says, you know, the this basically the facility was built as its own self-contained town. So you got a movie theater, a bowling alley, a church, and there’s a cemetery on the grounds, but they only labeled the, graves by number, which I thought was so disgusting because it’s like, you know, their names. 


Alison Leiby: So gross. You’re just right. It’s not that you don’t know. You know. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah exactly. You’re just too lazy to get a actual headstone that spells it out, but again. Oh, that does seem like what humans do is we’ll just give you a number and, you know, you’ll be back there. They walk on. Each wing is made up of four wards wards A, B and C. Ward A, he says, where they keep the quote, “most extreme patients,” people with psychosis, and they turn down a dark hall and while Bill and Phil sort are walk on talking. Gordon turns and sees the wheelchair we saw in the opening shot. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And he has a moment where he it startles him and he. And you see this look of recognition. Alison, the light dips in the hallway and a man’s voice says to him, hello, Gordon. And then Phil calls from and Gordon sort of snaps out of it. 


Alison Leiby: Ooh. 


Halle Kiefer: And Phil says, come on. 


Alison Leiby: Not great. 


Halle Kiefer: And it’s too early to say what would you do? But there will be another moment, because to me that would be it.


Alison Leiby: I wouldn’t take the job. 


Halle Kiefer: I’d be like a man, talked to me out of the hallway. And it was a ghost I can’t. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Like I’m sorry. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. I can’t work here, so. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Bye bye. Find new asbestos removers.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, but we do find Gordon, like, basically needs this job, like, in order to keep the business going. I just. While, it is both a specialized work that you do get paid a lot of money for. You’re not getting called every week. I’m sure. You know what I mean?


Alison Leiby: Right. It’s like, not. It’s not regular maintenance being done. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. You’re not a plumber. You know, this is something, and you have the, investment in the equipment. So they walk on, they walk through the solarium, they walk, to quote Danvers Town Hall. It’s like this big room. And Phil says, okay, I’m looking at it. I have some bad news. These ceiling tiles are from the 40s, which means those things are absolutely full of asbestos. If I were you, I would go and seal this off, bring in neg air machines, which I’m assuming means like, just keeping it out of the air and then set up a recon shower. Basically. Like what? We’re gonna have to come in and out of here. We’re gonna be covered in asbestos dust. And his main concern is like not bringing it to their homes. But obviously, you know, he says this shit gets everywhere when we start pulling it out of the ceiling. So we’re going to have to have a whole setup. So again, that’s expensive. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And we see Gordon cut off a piece of the fallen ceiling tile and bag it presumably. I’m like I don’t know. They’re going to test it for his business or he’ll look at it later. But obviously it’s full of asbestos as it turns out. And Bill says okay, so just level would be OSHA won’t even let me get started on like construction until you guys do your pass. I need that pass to be done by Columbus Day for the construction crews to come here. Is that possible? We don’t know the date, but apparently this is going to be in a pinch. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And Gordon says, I would say these rooms, the dining room, the tunnels, there’s also tunnels underneath that they will have to be—


Alison Leiby: Of course there’s tunnels. You gotta have tunnels, you gotta have tunnels. 


Halle Kiefer: And he says, I would say, and Phil butts in and says it’s going to be three weeks minimum. There’s no way we’re doing this in less than three weeks. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Gordon says we could do it in two. He needs the job and Phil’s face falls. It’s like, if we do the two, those are gonna be two weeks where it sucks shit like you’re gonna have. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah two rough weeks. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, it’s going to be horrible. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And Bill says, well, all right then, two weeks. But as they like, as they start to leave the building, Gordon looks into one of the patient rooms and he calls them over and says, what is this? And we see, on every surface, of the walls there is cut out magazine pictures and photos and. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Bill says, oh, you know, this room is used for seclusion, solitary confinement. I it looks like a sort of art therapy from the 70s. You know, it looks like a patient put this up and Gordon sees this photo of a mom and a baby, and, you know, like, affects him as a as a father. Once they get outside, Phil realizes he left his bag in that last patient room and runs back to get it. And now that they’re alone, Bill, you know, Bill’s like, congratulations on your new baby. I mean, me and Elizabeth are so excited for you. Apparently, she’s the town historian, which is why Bill knows all this stuff about Danvers. And Gordon takes out a baby photo from his wallet to show him. And baby Emma is adorable. And he’s like, well, while Phil’s inside, we’ll match Yankees bid and we’ll do it in a week. I don’t run an asbestos removal service, but just from talking to them like there’s no maybe if you had—


Alison Leiby: There’s no way. You couldn’t vacuum that building.


Halle Kiefer: Exactly like it’s not even like even if you had 100 guys, it just would be the the hours in the day compared to what you’re fixing, right? Like, it doesn’t seem like possible. 


Alison Leiby: There was an amount of time that is non-negotiable for tasks, like it just like some specific thing. Like it just takes this long to do one square foot. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: No matter how many people you have, if you all simultaneously like, it’s still like takes time. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. It’s like the and like the equipment in the, you know, like setting up the recon showers on like a week. But Gordon again, he’s, you know, sticking to his guns and he’s gonna make it happen. And Bill’s like well, you know, I can’t tell you what they put in, but look, I mean, I would love to give it to you. So you just let me know by Friday, you know, and and we’ll let you know, because basically, like, they’ll know by if they let them know by Friday that they’ll start on Monday. And so Gordon’s like you will not be disappointed we can do this in one week. Again talking out of his ass because he needs this job. Right. And we’ve all done that before. Obviously. 


Alison Leiby: Of course. 


He says I have four great guys. I’m going to hire one more. That’s five guys. I really need this job. And Phil’s like, okay. 


Alison Leiby: It doesn’t seem like enough guys. 


Halle Kiefer: Not, not by a long shot. They should have 50 guys in there. 


Alison Leiby: 50 guys, 50 guys. 


Halle Kiefer: But of course, Bill says, okay, I’m going to take it into consideration. Just submit your bid. Back at home, we see Gordon sitting in the car, and he’s looking at photos of, baby Emma across the street. And then he goes and he looks up and he stares into the front yard. He sees Wendy pick me up out of the front yard, and they see their little dog tied up, and she looks at Gordon. She kind of shrugs sadly and walks in the front door and we can see on the stovetop there’s a big pot of boiling water. She’s making dinner and the dog’s going nuts running around, and Gordon sort of sighs when he, sees this, and then we look and he sees his bag is full of flowers and champagne. Alison. They have won the bid. They have won. Which means the next week he’s going to be ass deep in asbestos and I think. 


Alison Leiby: And ghosts? 


Halle Kiefer: He also has like Oreos and peanut butter and like treats and groceries. So I think it was sort of like a hey, you’re not going to seeing me for the next week. So I’m going to bring you some nice stuff. 


Alison Leiby: I’m going to butter you up with some junk food. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Let’s celebrate. You’re going to be alone with the baby. I’m going to be covered in asbestos dust, you know? But we go inside or we walk as he walks inside and we hear a woman’s voice. Essentially. Wendy say roses. Why? They’re lovely. What’s the occasion, Gordon? And then a woman’s screaming and a machine starts up. The machine, of course, is a generator outside the hospital. It is time to get in there and start ripping out the asbestos on the screen. It says Monday. So our first day we’re on the job. 


Alison Leiby: I like that. Yeah, I like that. 


Halle Kiefer: They’ve strung lights down in the tunnels everywhere they go, like is covered in powder. And I was like, is all that powder potentially asbestos? Like, how do you know if the powder is. But I guess you don’t. So they have like, like painters masks. They also have like full on what looks like gas masks. In certain areas they wear full hazmat suits. And I was terrified because I see this person who I don’t know his name yet. He’s the one setting up the generator. He’s in a mask and white hazmat suit and like, they’re all in hazmat suits. I’m going to have to bail. I can’t summarize this movie because I can’t tell. No, they’re all white guys. Like, I’m it looks like one guy’s younger. But like, I was like, I can’t tell who was who when when 95% of their face is covered up. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Even if it wasn’t. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And luckily for me, they do kind of play a little fast and loose. And that’s just a movie. You know what I mean you can’t in reality, I’m sure the second they step in there, they are masked and especially now—


Alison Leiby: Yeah, but we need to, like, at least know who is talking and like, what’s happening. 


Halle Kiefer: So, this is their employee, Hank. Hank has worked with Gordon for about five years. He’s not the most reliable guy, but he’s really good at his job. So he’s kind of something where, like, they let it slip that he’s a little bit unreliable. Gordon sort of lays out everything needs to be done and ends with. And I need you marking the ducks in the tunnels with green slime, which is what they call green. Like, it’s like temporary paint. 


Alison Leiby: It’s paint. Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: And Hank’s like, well don’t you mean, red? Because they’re a biohazard. And she and Gordon goes, oh, yeah, that’s what I meant that’s what I meant.  


Alison Leiby: Uh oh. Somebody is already exactly distracted. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. I said, Alison, clearly he’s distracted. Exactly. 


Alison Leiby: Look at us on the same page. 


Halle Kiefer: We also find out that Hank is currently fucking Phil’s ex-girlfriend, who he stole from Phil. And he says to Phil because he’s such an asshole, where it’s like you stole. If you stole the partner, you’re not allowed to be the asshole. You like you. And he goes out to Phil and says, Amy says hi. Absolutely not. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: And Phil storms off. But also this is their job. Like they like. Okay, I won’t have to deal with you but what? But why be an asshole? You know.


Alison Leiby: You know, it’s so funny because, like, I think often about, like, the drama within, like, the comedy community or the entertainment industry, and there’s always, you know, couples that break up and cheating rumors and all that. But it’s like, that does happen in any. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Community. And it’s so funny that it’s like, ooh, there’s a lot of drama going on in the asbestos removal industry in Boston right now. Like in Massachusetts. 


Halle Kiefer: No that’s so true. Yeah. Like every, every every industry.


Alison Leiby: Not glamorous and sexy. But it’s still happening.


Halle Kiefer: People still still out here, they’re out, everyone’s still having sex—


Alison Leiby: Everyone’s having sex. People need to fuck. It really doesn’t matter what you do for your job. 


Halle Kiefer: Over in the dining room, we meet another of Gordon’s long time employees, Mike. He’s been with Gordon for five years, and then the fifth guy he hired is Jeff, who is Gordon’s nephew. He has never done this before. Phil does not like us at all. And but he’s sort of tried out to be a crank about. And Jeff’s, I think supposed to be, like, college age. Like a real sweetheart, but kind of a dumb ass, you know, like just being goofy. And Mike says, hey, just, you know, your uncle is great. He’s not a slave driver, but I am, so you better not be doing drugs on the job. And Jeff says don’t worry about it. I’m not going to do that thing. And he plugs Jeff plugs in a boombox and starts blasting a rock. Hank immediately starts yelling at him when he walks in and says, do not play that. It creates vibrations that make asbestos dust slough off of surfaces and into the air, and then we inhale it. So if you want to play music, you have to play something like Yanni or John Tesh. That doesn’t actually create reverberations in the space. Like that’s interesting too.


Alison Leiby: John Tesh.


Halle Kiefer: I know what a time capsule I can see him in 2000.


Alison Leiby: Well, you couldn’t play the video of him doing the NBA on NBC theme live at Red Rock, because it has the bouncing basketball at the beginning. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s so good. And then there’s also an SNL sketch where—


Alison Leiby: Yes, it’s so good.


Halle Kiefer: Tim Robinson and Will—


Alison Leiby: The basketball. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, Will Ferrell plays John Tesh’s brother who sings the lyrics. 


Alison Leiby: Tim Robinson and Jason Sudeikis. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh it is Jason Sudeikis oh so sorry. Yeah.


Alison Leiby: It’s really funny. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s so good. 


Alison Leiby: If you haven’t seen that, go watch it. It’s great.


Halle Kiefer: Just pause this and go watch that. So, again, asbestos dust covering everything. Hanks. Hank heads down into the bowels of the asylum, into these tunnels. He’s going to go mark the the ducks as a biohazard that they have to clean up. He going down then you put on a gas mask, which to me makes sense for at least the other areas. You can have windows open, have some ventilation. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. If you’re underground, you’re just breathing it in.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. At lunch Phil says, okay, we’re off to a good start. And also they promised to give us a $10,000 bonus. From what I understood, it’s $10,000 each, but they have to be done by Monday. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And Hank and and Mike who are old hands are like Gordon, this is at least a two week job. You know this. Why would you promise them a week? 


Alison Leiby: Also, it would suck to, like, work so hard. Clearly you’re going to work overtime. Shitty hours, harder than you’ve ever worked, and then also miss the deadline and not get the bonus. 


Halle Kiefer: Which is what I was assuming. I was I’m I’m like, even if we work 24 hours a day, we’re going to fucking blow this. And also there’s only five of us and one of us is new, you know. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: The guard arrives. The guard made them keys for the main gate to let themselves in. And, you know, they’re sort of talking about why the building got abandoned. He’s like, well, you know, again, my wife is a historian, and it has a lot to do with it. Deinstitutionalization, following budget cuts, sort of people were deinstitutionalized. And because it’s America, we didn’t really set up anything for for them to be received into. Nor did we fix any part of society that that made us think, we’ll, we’ll just send anyone with a mental illness to some sort of facilities. We don’t have to deal with them. So these people were released. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: And Mike says, well, it was budget cuts. But it wasn’t just that. There was also the Patricia Willard scandal of 1984, which would have been the year before it closed. Right. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And of course, luckily Mike knows the whole story. He’s going to lay it out for us. 


Alison Leiby: Thank God. 


Halle Kiefer: He says. Patricia was committed in the 1970s by her parents.


[clip of Stephen Gevedon]: But in the 1980s, this new kind of therapy took off repressed memory therapy. See the shrinks figure that with these new techniques they designed, they could release hidden memories. 


Halle Kiefer: And under that, she unearthed memories, in which she said that she when she was ten, her father raped her three times a week. And it wasn’t just rape. He would come into a room in a black robe, drive or to the woods where her grandparents and mother were waiting, also in robes, and they’d take them off and have group orgies. She would then watch as her mother would cut out the heart of a newborn and drink its blood, and others would eat its flesh. 


Alison Leiby: Okay no. 


Halle Kiefer: Meanwhile, Gordon is looking at his phone. It says home on it. So, you know, he’s like, picturing his own, like family. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, of course. 


Halle Kiefer: And Mike says, and finally, her father and grandfather would rape her and forced to get abortions and then cook it and eat the aborted fetuses. And Jeff’s like, wait, did that happen? And Mike says no it was basically a repressed memory of satanic ritual abuse, which is part of the satanic panic. And it ended up being this huge scandal because that didn’t happen and there was no evidence of it. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: And in the end, Patricia ends up suing her family. Like after that comes out in therapy and their family essentially found a physical proving, quote unquote, “she was a virgin.” I was like, maybe biologically you could prove that she had been pregnant multiple times, but I don’t know how you prove. I mean, like, what her hymen’s ripped? But like, maybe that was the 80s. Maybe that was like what it was.


Alison Leiby: It was different time. Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Crazy. But basically they’re like, well, none of this happened. There’s no evidence. And it seems like she has never been had sex, let alone been pregnant. But I feel like this abuse would have some sort of physical toll considering the brutality and repetitive nature of it. So I’m not saying like, oh, if you’re pregnant, everyone can tell afterwards. I’m just saying, like, this seems like the most extreme version of which there would be some kind of physical. 


Alison Leiby: Something. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, and then maybe that’s just like photographs, video like even beyond the body. 


Alison Leiby: A robe. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Black robe. Exactly. In the end, there wasn’t evidence of it. The family sued the hospital and won. So Mike concludes it was that. But it was also the budget cut. So that was sort of the last straw that, like, shut down Danvers. They all head back into work, and Hank teases Mike. It turns out that might he, Mike knows all this because his dad’s a state attorney and actually was on that case. But Mike dropped out of law school. So Mike sort of he’s like the black sheep of his family. And now he like, works removing asbestos. And everyone’s like, okay. Okay. College boy. Phil takes Gordon aside and says me and Mike called you to get a drink to celebrate the job in the bonus. But you didn’t answer. I just wanna make sure everything’s okay with you and Wendy, you know? And Gordon’s like. I’m so sorry. I was trying catch up on my sleep. I was dead to the world, you know? Emma’s still got this ear infection. And he says, well, you know, while I was there, I met up with this other asbestos remover guy who works for American freedom called, Craig McManus. You know, Craig, you know, from around the asbestos removal gang game. And, you know, he says if, he’d be willing to join us, if we wanted to sub him in, and he’s he’s incredibly experienced. I think we really great to have him on the team. Gordon. Of course, he assumes he’s talking about Jeff because Jeff’s new. He’s like, Jeff is not as dumb as he looks. He’s also young. He has the energy. We just need to put him on stuff that requires a lot of energy, you know, and Phil’s like, I’m not talking about Jeff, I’m talking about Hank. But of course, Gordon’s like, okay, but Hank is good at this. It’s just that you hate him because he stole your woman, you know? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Which is. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, but Phil says, Craig actually gives a shit, like, that’s what he brings to the job. And Gordon says, I appreciate you saying this. Your job is to keep the wheels on the project. I’m not firing Hank at this point. He’s already on it. So let’s set up the recon chamber, and we’ll just keep going forward. But we’ll keep Craig in mind for future jobs. Right. And Phil says, that’s fine, but of course, Phil’s upset. We see Hank go back into the basement. He’s down there looking around. Jeff is driving a floor cleaner over the tiles, and this is when I realized, like, I was trying to pay attention of, like, what progress they were making. And it’s actually impossible to say over the course of the movie. And I’m assuming that’s intentional. Like, we never see a finished room, we never see anything get totally resolved. And I’m assuming that was a stylistic choice, because when you see it, you’re like, I would like to see this all spick and span.


Alison Leiby: Yeah. What’s it look like? All cleaned up. 


Halle Kiefer: We never will see that because it much, much like the human mind, certain things cannot be put back in place. There are certain certain certain ills that cannot be resolved with just a floor cleaner and an asbestos cleanup team. Jeff is driving the floor cleaner around and it dies suddenly. And Mike, of course, checks the plug and says, Jeff, this is a fuse issue. You’re going to have to go to the basement and check the breaker box. And Jeff says, I can’t do that. I have nyctophobia. Alison—


Alison Leiby: What is that? 


Halle Kiefer: What is nyctophobia? It is, extreme irrational fear of the night or of darkness? 


Alison Leiby: Oh, I was gonna guess tubes for some reason. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, okay. 


Alison Leiby: You know. 


Halle Kiefer: I, I, I can totally see—


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Night also.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Like falling in a tube, maybe. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Thank you. Okay. Mike says—


Alison Leiby: Being in a tube. Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Mike is like. Okay. That’s fine. I’ll go. I don’t even know what that is. He’s able to get the lights back on in the basement. Alison. He turns around and sees the open door of a room behind him. It says staff only. So you know he’s going in there? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, you got to. 


Halle Kiefer: And he enters what appears to be a file room, but everything’s overturned. There’s like boxes on the floor. The light flickers and he looks up to see a sealed box labeled evidence. And of course, he does the most natural thing, which is open it with a box cutter. 


Alison Leiby: Open it. Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: I’m like, there, there’s a—


Alison Leiby: A box cutter in play? 


Halle Kiefer: There is nothing. Everyone has like, little implements, like, everyone has a knife. Everyone has like. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: There’s a lot of weapons on hand which will obviously come into play, of course. So he opens that bad boy up and, we don’t see it exactly. But he reveals, eventually recordings of the sessions of a patient, which we’ll find out in a minute. At the end of the day, the men started trickling out of the building. Hank has got dust in his eye. And then I’m like, if you get just your eye once, does that mean you get asbestos in your body forever? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, I like I I’ll be honest, I don’t know a ton about asbestos [both speaking] and how it works and how it affects us and like, how it decomposes and and kills. I don’t know, but that seems like you don’t want that. 


Halle Kiefer: I only know about mesothelioma because they had all of the, commercials about it. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, ads for it. Get your mesothelioma today. 


Alison Leiby: A two for one. 


Halle Kiefer: They’re all getting ready to go. And, Phil tells Gordon, you know, Mike’s going to stay. He’s going to fix the genny carburetor. It’s the generators acting crazy. So he’s going to stay, but he knows we’re leaving and he’s good to go. And Gordon says, okay, because I don’t want anyone in the building after dark. It’s not safe. Which is true. But also, I thought for sure they’d have to work from midnight until midnight. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I was like, you’re going to do this all in a 12 hour day? I just don’t. 


Alison Leiby: Day hours? 


Halle Kiefer: It’s just, there’s no way. So they all take off, they wave to Mike as he’s working on the generator. As soon as they go, he goes back inside and we see Michael again. He dropped out of law school, but he has, like, the inquisitive mind, you know, he wants to figure out what this is. He pulls out one of those, like, reel to reel, tape players out of the, evidence box. And we see that there are, tapes from nine sessions. He puts the first one on, and we hear a psychiatrist talking to a woman who’s sobbing. She says that she misses Peter, and Mike looks at a file that’s included and says, Mary Hobbes alters the princess Billy Simon diagnosis DID, dissociative identity disorder. So doctors talking to the patient, Mary accuses, Mary, I want you to remember what happened 22 years ago on Christmas night in Lowell. Mary’s still crying. She says nothing happened. Doctor says that’s why we’re here. Something did happen. That’s why we have these sessions to help you remember, okay? Because if you remember, I think you’ll be able to get well. So we know something happened 22 years ago on Christmas in Lowell. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Mike looks and we see again, the last one being Session 9. You know we’re going to get to it at the end of the film. 


Alison Leiby: You got to. 


Halle Kiefer: Suddenly on the tape, Mary’s voice turns into a little girl’s voice. The princess. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: So little girl, she’s talking to a little girl is like, Mary got a China doll from her mom and we couldn’t find it. The doctor says, Princess, could you tell? Could you tell me what happened 22 years ago on Christmas in Lowell? And princess says oh there were presents. Mary got a China doll and Peter got a big old knife. You’re like, okay, so I that’s kind of where I thought we were going with this because me and Billy were playing upstairs and Mary and Peter were playing downstairs. Peter was playing hide and seek, and Mary turned out the light and we see the other guys in their homes. But again, I really liked just like a very humanizing but again, not scary but like dramatic choice of like we see these guys at their live. So it’s like Jeff taking a shower. We see Phil drinking alone at a bar as we hear this, the recording, and the doctor says, okay, so Billy was there, Mary was there, Peter was there, and you were there. Princess was Simon there? 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Who was the third alter listed, and Princess says, I don’t know any Simon. Outside his house. We said, Gordon, get home and he stares at the front window in the rain, looking devastated, and he looks down at his pant leg and his blood seeping up from his leg through the fabric, and he winces in pain. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison. Tuesday. 


Alison Leiby: Why is he bleeding? 


Halle Kiefer: Well, not nothing. No good reason. You know this? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Not for fun. 


Halle Kiefer: Tuesday. They’re back at it again at dawn. Gordon is taking a break and he looks out a window. I thought it was a little gazebo. I’m gonna say it’s a gazebo. For now. It looks like a gazebo with crosses painted on it, and he keeps being drawn to it over and over again. Alison in his head again. He hears the man’s voice he heard when he first entered the building. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, no. 


Halle Kiefer: And the voice says, you can hear me. Alison, what would you do? 


[voice over]: What would you do? 


Alison Leiby: I am abandoning this job. I’m never coming back here. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: And I’m moving my self to another state. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. I just feel like if you were to tell someone, it would suck, but people would understand. Like, this is not a I’m going to ruin my family and my health and my like, business over this. 


Alison Leiby: It’s not worth it. 


Halle Kiefer: You know what I mean, it’s not worth it—


Alison Leiby: Even if you got it done and got the bonus. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: It’s not worth $10,000. That’s not enough money for what is clearly going to happen. 


Halle Kiefer: Right. Yeah. And that’s the bonus. So we don’t know what the actual bid is. So it could be a lot of money. Like I don’t know, like if you’re an asbestos person, maybe you only work twice a year because this is such an insane job. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: That only specific people could do it. Like, I could see that. Maybe. So maybe that is more the pressure of like, this is going to be a huge part of my yearly income— 


Alison Leiby: But nothing is worth, what I assume it’s happening in this.


Halle Kiefer: It sure isn’t. And if he knew what was going to happen, he would know that. But of course he doesn’t. That’s the problem with being in a horror movie. 


Alison Leiby: You don’t know. 




Halle Kiefer: Gordon snaps out of it when he hears Phil banging on some ceiling tiles to bring them down. We see Jeff back again, in the dining room with Mike, and, Jeff says, what’s with Hank and Phil’s weird dynamic? Like they’re really in each other’s face all time, Mike says. Hank stole Phil’s girlfriend, Amy. We then see Hank downstairs. He’s spraying red slime on the affected ducks. Alison looks down. He sees a quarter, and Hank’s no slouch. He’s picking that quarter up. Clearly. He looks at it and it’s dated to 1884. And then he sees another quarter, 1883. Holy shit. He’s thinking this might be worth something. And he goes into a corner and he sees a brick in the wall. There’s sort of a coins emerging from behind it, and he’s able to pry it out, and there’s hundreds of quarters come prying come pouring out of the hole. And not just quarters, like gold coins, rings, different kinds of jewelry come dumping out. And he picks up the ring and it looks like it’d be of a, I’m going to say an evidence tag’s still on it. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, that sounds about right. 


Halle Kiefer: And he puts it on Alison. Phil radios down and says, Hank, I need you to be upstairs with Mike and Jeff, for the afternoon. And Hank says, sure. But he’s trying to figure out, like, how do I take all this shit? Because I’m going to take it, right? And he puts the brick back in. So, like, people can’t see that part of it. And of course, we reverse on the brick. Alison, we are inside the hospital’s crematorium. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, boy. 


Halle Kiefer: And those are the coins and the jewelry and the belongings of people who were cremated in this furnace. Right? 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Gordon buys them lunch, and we see Phil, took his wallet to buy them all scratcher tickets. So Phil hands Gordon back his wallet, and they all do the scratcher tickets. Mike is the only one still inside because. Because Mike and that’s the problem is, like, Mike is actually the worst at his job. Because he keeps sneaking, sneaking away to listen to the session tapes. But we need him to in order to move the plot along. You know what I mean? 


Alison Leiby: Exactly. 


Halle Kiefer: This time we get Billy, who’s a little boy with like, a little southern accent, and he tells the doctor, Princess leaves in the tongue because she’s always talking, and I live in the eyes because I see everything. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. Don’t love that. 


Halle Kiefer: And the doctor says that. Okay, well, where does Simon live? Billy doesn’t reply. Outside, Jeff shows them that he found a log book from the 1880s, like just in a room, and he’s reading all the diagnoses. And to me, I was a queer person. I’m like, these diagnoses are all basically like, this person is gay or trans. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: You know like, yeah, this person is fucked up in a way that society—


Alison Leiby: Clearly that. 


Halle Kiefer: And he says, what’s mortified pride? These patients were committed for mortified pride. Like all these. Like, what does that mean in a modern day world, you know. And he says 17 were committed for disappointed expectations, which I love. And Jeff says, well, what do you what do you have to do to get committed or something like this now? And he says, you just got to kill somebody. John Hinckley I mean, he pled temporary insanity and he got committed. You didn’t go to prison, Mike. Of course, knowing from his lawyer father says, most people that doesn’t work like that plea doesn’t work even when it is true. But he says he says I believe most people are cognizant of their actions when they kill. And Jeff starts making fun of him, he’s like, oh, you know all about it. What you have a lobotomy, too, and they’re eating Chinese food. He drinks a container of, like, milky white soup and like, it’s like egg soup. And you sort of, like, squelches it out of his mouth because he’s still basically a child, and he goes, lobotomy. And Mike grabs him and holds a chopstick up to Jeff’s eye. 


Alison Leiby: Jesus. 


Halle Kiefer: And he says, that’s the thing about Danvers. It’s where they perfected the ice pick lobotomy. That’s how it works. Or it didn’t work. And he sort of walks through basically like. 


[clip of Stephen Gevedon]: Insert a thin metal pipette into the orbitofrontal cortex and enter the soft tissue of the frontal lobe. A few simple smooth up and down jerks to sever the lateral hypothalamus. 


Halle Kiefer: And then, of course, either that would relieve your symptoms or it would leave you with permanent brain damage or potentially both. And he lets Jeff up and Jeff kind of jumps up and runs away. And Jordan goes, sorry. Gordon’s watching this whole scene with a very peculiar worried face on his like look on his face. Which is why I love this actor so much as you keep catching him. It’s not just a worried look, it’s a different shade of worry in every scene. It’s so well done. And because, like, he’s obviously not going to tell anyone about the fact he keeps hearing that voice. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But then they are in this environment that it’s like, is this making me crazy? And I’m not sleeping because of the baby and all this stress from work and we’re constantly surrounded by asbestos. You can see how he’s rationalizing the voice into the rest of it. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Hank and Jeff and Mike work in the dining room. Hank tells Jeff, you know what a whale is? A whale is a big time gambler. My friend works at Foxwoods and his whale comes in and he has a house down $300,000. And when he walks out, he goes up to my friend. He drops the keys to his car in my friend’s pocket. He gave him his car. It was a Porsche. 911. It’s like that is quite a name for a car. And Jeff says, well, okay, but what’s your point? How do we do that? Hank says, my point is, is you gotta have an exit plan, because this job, you don’t want to be doing it when you’re our age, you. This will wear you down. This is backbreaking work. More so that even construction. And he snaps off a piece of tile. Also Hank. While he’s talking about this does not have his mask on. He breaks off a piece of tile. You could literally see the dust come out of it. And he’s holding up. He says, think of this. A microscopic particle of this could already be in your lungs. It’s like, well, don’t don’t snap it off. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. What are you doing, proving a point? Like.


Halle Kiefer: Put your mask on, bitch. And Jeff says, well you don’t have your mask on, it’s like, oh, it’s too late. That’s why I have an  exit plan. He said, everyone here has an exit plan. Mike, he’s he doesn’t read all those books for nothing. He’s going to get another job. He’s gonna get out of here. You know, he talks about, Phil, he’s got his stress reliever. He’s got his plan. Maybe he’ll tell you about it one day. Meanwhile, we see Mike has gone downstairs for, a piece of equipment, and he finds that the red biohazard paint has spilled onto the ground, covering a fresh bouquet of roses. Again, that would be enough for me to bring it to the other guy and be like, what is this? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Because it implies somebody brought it in, right? 


Alison Leiby: Those aren’t. Those aren’t, like, from 15 years ago. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. But of course, now Hank is holding court and he says, well, you know, Gordon. Excuse me. Gordon, your uncle, he’s the Zen master of calm, but he doesn’t have a backup plan. That’s his problem. This is his career. This is his life. And the last couple months I’ve seen him, some real cracks show right now. Mike comes back in and he’s like, he just had a baby. Like when you and Amy have a kid, you’ll see how hard those first months are. And Hank’s like me and Amy, we’re not gonna have a kid. I’m just fucking her to get to Phil. It’s like, that’s the straightest thing anyone has ever said. 


Alison Leiby: Yes.


Halle Kiefer: It’s. Fucking his ex—


Alison Leiby: Fuck you.


Halle Kiefer: —to annoy Phil. Like, what are you talking about? Upstairs, we see Gordon arguing on the phone with Wendy. He says we have to talk because we have to. Will you let me finish? Hello. And Wendy is hung up on him, so obviously something has happened between them at home. Wendy is not taking his calls outside. He sees Phil pretty clearly buying drugs from two guys. So again, I think we’re I think that’s his stress reliever. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s also out every night drinking. So these two like young guys are buying drugs from him. They saunter off when they’re done. That night, a car arrives at the hospital after dark. After all the guys have gone home. It is Hank. He’s come back, I don’t know, he’s got a bucket and he’s come back to load up on coins and other things from the basement. Basically so he can go gambling. Like he’s clearly just gonna go to the casino and go nuts. He also finds a lot of stuff down there, like watches, coins. He also finds dentures. He is not fazed by this. He’s just pawing through the dust, finding treasures. He finds a bag of glass eyes he’s also listening to. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s listening to a Walkman. 


Alison Leiby: Not in a bag. 


Halle Kiefer: In a little bag. Yeah, a little bag. And he said, oh, these are probably worth something. And that is true. You could sell them online. 


Alison Leiby: I guess. Yeah. A bag of glass eyes. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. He’s listening to a Discman, which I remember having in high school and loving. Me too. And he said that there’s a thud behind him. He’s like, I think my time here has gone. So he gets up, he starts walking in the tunnel, he’s about to leave and go into the tunnels and he for the last sort of grab, he reaches into the furnace and picks up something and it pricks his hand. And when he brings it up, it’s a real find. Is an actual ice pick designed for ice pick lobotomies. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: Which again, people would pay money for that though. So I’m sure—


Alison Leiby: Leave it where it is. 


Halle Kiefer: I will pay. I think eBay existed by then, 2000 or around then. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So I’m sure he’s like, I can I can really get some money for this. So he loads up everything. And he then heads down the darkened hallway. He’s got a flashlight. The lights are not on, obviously, because the generator is not running, and he’s walking down the hallway and he finds a jar, an empty jar of peanut butter on the floor. To be fair, they’ve been told the people squat there all the time. It’s also massive. Like there could be people on the other wing. They’d have no idea. Like it’s such a sprawling piece of real estate. He picks up the jar and he hears something behind him. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: He whips around, obviously there’s something there. He goes to walk on. Another clatter. Happens a third time. A figure appears at the end of the hall. Hank, wisely books it, and he just screaming and running until something flies at him. 


Alison Leiby: Correct, correct.


Halle Kiefer: And it’s a pigeon. And he says, fucking birds, which I’m right there with him. 


Alison Leiby: Yep. Oh, God. No one hate some more than us. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison. He sees the exit sign. He’s so close and as he walks is a great shot where he’s walking toward the. So the exit and we see from the POV of somebody else walking down another hallway towards him, so we see the moment when Hank turns and the look of surprise on his face. Cut to Wednesday. Everyone’s hard at work, busting up tile, breaking up. You know, the, the ceiling tiles in the basement. We see the hole in the wall. There are no coins at all. There’s nothing. There’s nothing. No evidence that they’re anything. It’s not like he could take all of it. You know what I mean? 


Alison Leiby: Right? Right, right.


Halle Kiefer: There’s nothing to suggest. Anything was ever there. All the guys take a break on the roof. No one could get through to Hank, right? So they all. He just didn’t show up. Phil’s like, I told you, this guy is unreliable. You know this about Hank? Of course he was going to fucking do this. Jeff says, could you please call Amy? Like, let’s just call her. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And Phil demands, Gordon’s phone to call with, and he’s like, I know the number by heart. I’ll just call her. He calls Amy. We hear his side of the conversation, and when he hangs up, he says, okay. Hank came to her place last night, packed up his bags, took the car, and then drove to Miami because he said he’s going to casino school. 


Alison Leiby: Casino school. 


Halle Kiefer: I was like, I guess to be like a dealer. 


Alison Leiby: A dealer. 


Halle Kiefer: I guess that could be a fun job.


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And Phil’s like I told you he’s a fucking flake. I. Gordon, you should have fired him six months ago. And Jeff’s like, whoa. I wonder if he won that scratcher yesterday because they did do scratches and then, like, nobody showed each other. He’s like, damn mean. Did he get a little bit of money? Phil says, let’s call Craig McManus. He replace Hank tomorrow and do a better job than him anyways. But Gordon’s looking at that gazebo with the crosses again. So like, something is not right here. And he turns and, he says who those guys you were talking to yesterday. Because clearly Gordon’s not thinking you hated him. You wanted him off the job. And you hate. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s fucking Amy. Did you talk to some guys about killing him or scaring them out of town? 


Alison Leiby: Threatening him? Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Like, did you threaten him? Of course. A Phil’s like, I can’t even believe you would suggest that. And starts to walk away. And Gordon snapped and screams at him in front of the other guys. Don’t you walk away from me. And Phil turns and says well then hit me. But Gordon’s not going to do that. And he storms inside to go stew on the stairs. Alison when he looks at his hands while he’s stewing on the stairs. His nail beds are coated in dry blood. And at lunch we see Phil is also pouting. He’s like, you know Gordon didn’t want to be a father. That was always this idea. And now he is. And it’s making him soft and bad at his job. He should have fired Hank six months ago. I told him he was a flop, and now he’s fucking us over. Meanwhile, Mike is down and Mike is looking at the book that Jeff found of like, from the 1800s and says, you know, eight people were committed for uncontrolled passion. That seems gay. There’s some some that feels like a gay person diagnosis. 


Alison Leiby: That really reads as gay. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, and he but Mikes’ trying to be rational. It’s like plenty people say they don’t want to have kids, and then when they have kids, they love them or they change their mind about having kids. That’s so crazy. Six years ago, you know, I thought I didn’t want to be a lawyer, but, like, now I’m kind of back on it. And Phil says, you’re bullshitting yourself. Your life is your life is in there shucking fiber with us. Shucking fiber?


Alison Leiby: Shucking fiber?


Halle Kiefer: I love it. Mike storms away. 


Alison Leiby: It’s a little more kicky and fun. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, there’s a lot of people storming away. Mike storms back down into the file room and he finds Mary file Mary Hobbes’s file. It was under, number 444. So he’s finding more Intel about Mary Hobbes, right? Meanwhile, Gordon, he’s been really drawn to this gazebo, and he gets there. It’s not a gazebo. It’s like the entrance to a set of wooden stairs down to the cemetery. 


Alison Leiby: Of course, why wouldn’t it be? 


Halle Kiefer: The grounds are gorgeous. I was like, this is beautiful. He finds a fallen tree to sit on and call Wendy. And he says in the phone, can you ever forgive me? And as he talks, we pan down to see he is sitting on. Mary Hobbes tipped over grave number 444. Jeff interrupts him and Gordon, like, hangs up really quickly and Gordon is on the verge of tears and Jeff can tell, but Jeff’s thinking like, oh, is it about the job is about Hank, you know, like. And Jeff’s like, just want to check in on you. You know, my dad got the photos back from the christening, and Emma looks really pissed and Gordon’s like. Yeah, I really did. Like, literally, his life is falling apart—


Alison Leiby: He’s like holding back.


Halle Kiefer: Thank you for telling me. Down the file room, Mike listens to another session tape, and the doctor says, where did you get your scars, Mary? And she’s sobbing. She tells him, I already told you. From when I fell off my bike as a girl. Alison, we see a photo of the scars. They are, in fact, a bunch of stab scars on her breastbone. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: And slashes to her wrists. And the doctor says, is that what you remember, Mary? A bicycle accident? She says yes. And he asked her again. Do you know who Princess Billy or Simon are? She’s like, I keep telling you, I don’t know who you’re talking about. Billy then cuts in it, says, okay, Billy, let’s get down to brass tacks. Why won’t you tell me what happened 22 years ago on Christmas in Lowell? And Billy says, well, because you know very well what happened. The doctor says, yes, I do know, but we have to have you tell Mary. Mary has to know because of Mary’s allowed to consciously know it, that will help her be well. And if you don’t want to tell me, maybe Simon will. And Billy goes, no. In the decom shower. Phil and Gordon are getting cleaned up at the end of the day, hosing each other off, hosing themselves off. And Gordon says. What is your biggest regret, Phil? 


Alison Leiby: Just some light post-work chat. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Phil’s like. Well, I would say right now, introducing Hank to Amy. That was a pretty huge one. But also, I’m sorry, like if your girlfriend just needed to meet one other man. She was—


Alison Leiby: You guys weren’t gonna last anyway. 


Halle Kiefer: She was going. Phil? I’m sorry. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Finally, Gordon reveals. Like what he’s been sort of in a panic about. He says, I hit my wife and he tells a story we saw. He said, I got home Friday and I wanted to celebrate. I was getting the beard. That’s why you. The flowers and the champagne and the treats. He said when I walked in to kiss her. She had a pot of boiling water on for for dinner, and she turns and the pot of boiling water dumped onto my leg. And between that and the dog barking and Emma crying. I slapped Wendy across the face. She obviously kicked me out, and I’m staying at a hotel and she’s refusing to talk to me. And Gordon’s like as a friend. Please do not tell the other guys. I just had to tell you. Like, that’s why I’ve been acting like this and Phil’s like. Okay, well, then I’ll talk to you about my thing, which is. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: The kids the other day. And of course, Gordon’s like, were you selling drugs. And Phil says, no, I was telling him not to do graffiti on the grounds. And if they come back, I’ll call security, which is obviously horseshit, but Gordon’s like, okay, man.


Alison Leiby: Sure. If that’s the story you want to tell, fine. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And Gordon says to him, like, okay, you were right about Craig McManus would you please call him and see if you can come tomorrow? Because, like, if Hank’s gone [both speaking] there’s nothing we do about it. Yeah. At night we see Gordon wake up, and it is nightfall. He’s actually fallen asleep in the driver’s seat of his van. Alison, we hear again a man’s voice. Say hello, Gordon. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: You know who I am? 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: And we see a flash of Wendy holding Emma. We hear Wendy thanking him for the roses, and we hear the boiling water overturned and Wendy screaming, like in a panic. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And then we see, obviously, it’s Gordon in his mind. We see a man in a hazmat suit standing in Danvers, covered in blood, standing in the hallway. And the man’s voice says, do it, Gordon. And we hear the sound of the slap. And sort of Gordon like jerks to. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And he groans as he pulls up his pant leg and we see why he was bleeding. He’s this horrible bubbling burn wound on his thigh from the water. And we see him pour iodine over it and scream. 


Alison Leiby: I have a physical reaction to that. 


Halle Kiefer: And, Alison, that night, we see a figure hobbling through the hospital in the dead of night on the screen Thursday. In the morning at dawn, Gordon pulls up next to Phil, who is also going through a lot. Everyone’s going through a lot. 


Alison Leiby: Everybody’s got stuff going on. 


Halle Kiefer: And he tells Gordon. Craig can start tomorrow. Thursday, he can come Friday. So we’ll take his work, you know? And Phil says, how are you doing? And Gordon, who is not doing well, he says, I want to go home, but they can’t. There’s asbestos to remove. You can’t literally can’t go home to do any of this work.


Alison Leiby: You can’t go home. You have to finish this. 


Halle Kiefer: The fuses keep blowing. So you know, before Mike can go downstairs. Phil interrupts him and pulls him to the hall, and so he sent Jeff down to the fuse box but Jeff doesn’t want to do because it’s dark. He’s like, I have nyctophobia. Phil does not care about that. And he sends Jeff down into the dark. In the hall, Phil immediately tells Mike about Gordon hitting his wife. He says Gordon is falling apart, so we need to see what we can do, whether that’s him taking time off. Because if we don’t finish by Monday, we will lose the game and we will lose our bonus. And I do think that something was like at this point, like throw the bonus at two other guys who remove asbestos. Like it is if if this is even conceivably possible to get it done, we got to have to spend more money to get more guys. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I don’t know why I’m so invested in the business part, but they do a good job being like well you do, you have to figure it out. 


Alison Leiby: It’s nice when they’re like the it’s not the subplot. It’s like technically it’s like the main plot. It’s like fleshed out enough where you’re like, I see why we’re where we are. 


Halle Kiefer: And it’s very satisfying. I think this job, we’ve done a good job with, like, I like every character, every they give enough life to every character. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Like Mike’s with the session tapes and, you know, Hank is a gambler who also like, is an asshole? And like, Jeff’s a sweetie pie, like I they did an excellent job in. And not that I don’t, I don’t hate a movie where the characters are all flat and like, there’s a slasher, but it does make me invest more. And I do feel bad for poor Gordon. He’s done something horrific and it is destroying him as it should, you know? Of course Gordon is hearing this. He’s literally standing at the bottom of steps, hearing Phil tell Mike that he hit Wendy, and he’s like, that’s the one thing I asked you to please not do. So then we walks up, there’s like this moment of Mike and Phil being like, did he hear me? 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: And, Phil turns around and Gordon’s walking towards them. Mike says, oh, we were just talking about Jeff. He’s really coming along, you know. Everyone’s like, okay. Meanwhile, Jeff is down in the basement. He flips the breaker. But then as he walks up the stairs, he sees Hank wearing sunglasses standing in a stairwell, you know, talking to himself. And Jeff says, Hank, what are you doing? And Hank, looking out the window says, what are you doing here? What are you doing here? Jeff says, I’m working. What are you doing here and all, Hank can say is what are you doing here? and he reaches up and he wipes his hand on the window, and his hand is covered in blood. Jeff, reasonably enough, runs back to the other guy’s screaming, and we see Gordon flip a coin to see whether he or Mike have to go get lunch, and we see the coin spin just as Hank drops one of the coins he found under the ground up on the stairwell. Okay, and we see Phil grabbed the coin. Jeff runs up to them. Is like, I found Hank, and I don’t know if he’s doing okay, but Phil refuses to believe him. He’s like, I talked to Amy. He’s. She said he went to Miami. You’re delusional. 


Alison Leiby: But it’s like, what’s the harm in going and seeing. 


Halle Kiefer: Also, Amy could be lying. Amy could have thought he left. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: Told her he was leaving—


Alison Leiby: And then like—. 


Halle Kiefer: Is shacking up with another woman. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: Right, like, he could be up here looting the hospital and Jeff was like, fuck you guys. I don’t care about this anymore. But of course, when they go back up there, Jeff is in a panic. But needless to say, Hank is not there. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Phil is basically like, I fucking told you. Amy said he was in Miami. You all heard her say it and says no. You told us. She said it. We didn’t hear you were on the phone. None of us heard her and Phil’s like. Well, she told me, and Gordon says give me my cell phone. And I think that is like his work phone that like, everyone can use. He’s like, give me the phone and I’ll call her myself. Phil flips out. He says, see, Mike, he’s losing him. Don’t give him the phone. If somebody says they’re losing it, don’t give them the phone. That person is in the wrong. Like. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: There’s no proof more positive that they’re crazy. Don’t let them make the one phone call that would prove whether or not I’m being insane right now. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Well, then you should make the call, right, Gordon? Again flips out, says give me the fucking cell phone. Alison. Just then they hear someone running over their heads on the next floor up. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, no. 


Halle Kiefer: Phil has the fucking stones to say what was that? And Jeff screams it’s Hank. It’s obviously Hank, you stupid bitch. Gordon yells at Phil to come with him upstairs to find Hank, and he tells Jeff and Mike to go to the exits to catch him if he tries to leave, but Phil says, fuck you, I’m not going with you. After you doubt me like this, I’m taking Jeff we’ll do the exits. Mike, you go with Gordon and everyone’s like, okay. Mike and Gordon ran upstairs while Phil and Jeff run to the right of the door. Jeff starts to run outside of basically run around to the other exit and Phil says, no, let’s take the tunnels. It’ll be safer. 


Alison Leiby: That’s literally never been true. 


Halle Kiefer: To which Jeff reasonably replies, safer. 


? But it’s already too late. Phil is running down into the tunnels and Jeff follows behind him, and as they walk up on the third floor, Mike says, did you hear that? I thought I heard something down in the tunnels. Alison at this point in the movie. Who will survive? 


[voice over]: Who will survive? 


Alison Leiby: I’m going to guess nobody except for who is coming on Friday. Craig. 


Halle Kiefer: Craig McManus. 


Alison Leiby: I’m going to guess Craig is the only survivor. 


Halle Kiefer: You think Craig’s going to walk off, be like, oh my God, this place is a mess. There’s no way I’m going to make the bid now. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, that’s my guess. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Sorry, Craig. I know that you’re getting paid for this job. 


Alison Leiby: No, I don’t think anybody is. 


Halle Kiefer: No. Getting paid in heaven or hell, depending how things go from here on out. 




Halle Kiefer: Gordon says. What do you mean? In the tunnels? Mike says, I’m going to go out of the tunnels. You follow up, top, you stay up here. I’m going to go in the tunnels. Right. However, Mike is not trying to trick him or anything. Mike says, fuck this. I’m going to go listen to the session tapes. Alison, it is time for—


Alison Leiby: The original podcast. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Meanwhile, Phil is also in the tunnels. Phil tells Jeff. Did you hear that? And they look down and there’s like a ladder opening to a subbasement. Alison. A subbasement of a abandoned mental institution. 


Alison Leiby: No, no, no. 


Halle Kiefer: They look down a ladder to opening, and they can hear Hank’s Walkman playing in the tunnel below. 


Alison Leiby: That’s not great. 


Halle Kiefer: Phil says stay up here. I’ll call you on the walkie. Of course. Jeff left his walkie in the van, but Phil starts going down the ladder and he says, I just want to warn you. When I saw Hank, I think he had blood on his hand. Phil’s like. Okay, great. If he goes down to try to find him. On the session tapes, session number nine, we hear the doctor tell Billy if Mary is sick, then all of you are sick too. So to help Mary get better, you have to remember what happened that night in Lowell. And we see in her files right now, it says the alter Simon. The first manifestation of appeared during, quote, “the tragedy.” And Billy’s crying. He says Mary’s a good girl. She doesn’t need to know what Simon did to Peter. We see a family photo, we see like a 14 year old Mary and her slightly older brother, Peter. Upstairs we hear the man’s voice calling Gordon. And when Gordon follows it, he sees ripples of footsteps in like a water on the floor. So he’s like, oh, there’s somebody here. Must be Hank. So he starts to pursue the voice through the floor. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison Phil finds Hank’s Discman. And then later and further in the basement, he can hear Hank saying, what are you. What are you doing here? What are you doing here? 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And to Phil’s credit, he starts going towards Hank to try to see if he can help him. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Jeff has also made his way down into the tunnels. Presumably not knowing what else to do. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: As he does, the generator outside conks out and they’re all plunged into darkness, and there’s this great effect of suddenly this wouldn’t happen. Like the lights would all go at once, but the lights are going off one by one, and Jeff starts trying to outrun the darkness. 


Alison Leiby: Incredible. 


Halle Kiefer: In a total panic. It’s a great sequence. He he doesn’t succeed because that’s not how darkness works, obviously. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: Phil does find Hank. He is naked except his underwear and his sunglasses on. He’s in like a dead end corner of one of the tunnels, and he’s just saying over and over again, what are you doing here? What are you doing here? Just then, Phil hears on his walkie. Gordon saying. From the higher floor. I think I found Hank. We see Gordon walking down another hallway, and he sees the wheelchair we saw at the beginning at the entrance of the hospital that we’ve seen a couple times, and Phil walkies him and says, where are you? Gordon tells him in Ward A third floor, I’m following someone, I think it’s Hank. The generator luckily starts up again, just as Jeff makes it to the end of the tunnel and we see sunlight streaming in Alison, just billows of asbestos dust. He’s coughing it in and out and that was as terrifying as anything in this—


Alison Leiby: That is fucked up.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Having had, Hank scare him about it to see it, then, you know, he’s. It’s coughing out of his lungs. Awful. Oh. Also, Hank describes, what mesothelioma is, which is asbestos gets into your lung tissue, and then, because the tissue can’t reject it like it can’t get rid of it, it starts to grow around it like a pearl. Like if a piece of sand gets into a clam, like. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: Or oyster. So it’s like, and then flesh starts to grow around it and then it basically your lungs start working because it’s like they’re so full of these like nodules. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So we got that going for us Alison. This time the tape shows playing again. And this time there is a voice we haven’t heard before. Well, except we have. It is Simon’s voice. It is, of course, the man’s voice we’ve been hearing throughout the film speaking to Gordon. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And Simon says on the tape, do you know who I am? And the doctor says again, I’m going to cut the shit here. What happened 22 years ago on Christmas night in Lowell. Simon tells the doctor Peter was naughty. He shouldn’t have done it, doc. He crept up behind Mary in the dark. She dropped her China dolls. The shards cut her up real bad. She needed someone to help her in that moment, so I introduced myself. And I told her to cut up Peter. We see Phil walking upstairs to find Gordon. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison. Phil is holding a curved knife. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: We see Gordon enter the room with the photo collage that we saw at the beginning, and of course, we see on the door it’s Mary Hobbes’s room. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And we see, like, the wall covered in 70s images of her staying there. He turns around. On the far wall is a similar collage made entirely out of photos of Emma’s christening. Smeared with the red slime paint. 


Alison Leiby: What. 


Halle Kiefer: Gordon turns around just as Phil steps into the room. And we cut to Jeff running outside of the basement, sobbing, pulling off his jumpsuit like there’s dust everywhere. And Jeff runs to the walkie talkie, he gets his walkie talkie from the van and we see a while he’s doing it. He reaches into the door pocket and pulls out the box of Oreos. We saw Gordon taken to the house. 


Alison Leiby: To the house. 


Halle Kiefer: So he’s like eating Oreos while he’s like sobbing into the walkie talkie. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And he calls Gordon on the walkie talkie and a voice replies, who is this? Jeff’s like, well, it’s Jeff. We then get this incredible POV. We see Jeff turn around and he has like a look of relief. And as we approach him from the killer’s POV, he says, I’m sorry I got so scared. Can I eat these? And he reaches out his arms for a hug and he gasps as the camera zooms towards him. Alison, it is Friday. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: We are back at it and in the basement we see the tape player is still on and it’s just flipping. We just hear the end of the tape flip, flip flip, flip. Gordon is is in his van and Phil calls him from inside and says, come back. We found the one. We found the one responsible. And we see Gordon put his cell phone into his cell phone holster and go inside. Alison. Luckily, just in time, a black car whips into the parking lot and it’s just exactly who you want to see be named Craig McManus. 


Alison Leiby: 100% I know I have an image of who Craig McManus is, and I bet it matches exactly who was cast. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, like mustache, like brown. Sort of like longer hair, smoking a cigarette. And he’s like, oh, hell yeah. Okay, I’m here to get some asbestos. He gets out and because, Gordon’s van is red, he doesn’t see that there’s a bloody handprint on the passenger side door. Craig walks into the building and goes, hello? In the gym. We see there’s a huge pool of blood on the floor. Gordon makes his way into sort of a cordoned off area that’s covered in tarps. So tarps hanging, and he finds Hank’s body covered in a tarp. And Gordon gets looks down and looks up to see Phil standing over the corpse. Phil says, look, he was a liability. He brought it on himself. Gordon says. You did this. Phil says, Gordon, I need you to wake up and like, really take a good look at him, okay? And we see Gordon kneel down. He takes off Hank’s sunglasses. Alison. The lobotomy. Icepick is stabbed in the inner corner of Hank’s eye. 


Alison Leiby: Jesus Christ. 


Halle Kiefer: And he is not dead. Hank gasps awake, and he repeats the only thing he’s been able to say. The last thing we’ve heard him say, which is. What are you doing here? What are you doing here, man? And Gordon, of course, is like, oh my God, I’ll call 911. Don’t worry, I’ve got you. He’s still alive, I assume you knew he was dead. And Phil says, well, the problem with that, Gordon, is that if you tell someone about this, they’ll find out about the others. And he says, you did this. You hired those two guys to do this to Hank. I don’t know what you think and Phil of course interrupts says you got to wake up Gordon. And Gordon screams, I am fucking awake. Just then Craig fucking McManus wanders in and doesn’t immediately understand what’s going on. [both speaking] Is like, hey, I’m here and he walks all the way over to Gordon before he looks down, presumably just like a pile of tarps to see Hank’s still alive, slightly alive body. And I think Craig says basically, like, I’m a little confused. And Gordon turns to look at Phil. Alison, there is no Phil there. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And when Craig realizes, okay, something horrible is going on, Gordon grabs Craig and we hear Simon’s voice encourage him, do it! We see Gordon reach down, pull the ice, pick out of Hank’s eye, and stab it into the inner part of Craig McManus’ eye. Killing him.


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And we here on the Session 9 tape. Simon’s voice and the doctor saying, well, why did you do it, Simon? And Simon tells the doctor, because Mary let me. Doc. They always do. And we cut back the last scene where we saw Phil alive. And that scene was when he walked into Mary Hobbes’s room and told Gordon, I found Hank. He’s hurt, and he’s saying, you did it to him. And Gordon killed Phil. Then and there. He then also kills Mike in the gym and the saddest death. He is, of course, the one who killed Jeff and I feel bad. Jeff throws out his arms to hug his uncle. 


Alison Leiby: He wants a hug. 


Halle Kiefer: And he he kills him with the hook knife. 


Alison Leiby: Jesus. 


Halle Kiefer: That Phil was carrying. We hear Phil’s voice say, Gordon, it’s time to remember. And we see Gordon walking into his house. And the pot burning on the stove. Boiling on the stove. And then we hear sort of where we’re panning over the collage of family photos in that room. We hear the slap, and then we hear it escalating, and eventually we hear Gordon stabbing Wendy to death. As Simon encourages him. Do it Gordon, do it. As if that wasn’t bad enough. 


Alison Leiby: There’s more. 


Halle Kiefer: We also hear him kill the dog. 


Alison Leiby: Hey! That’s tough. 


Halle Kiefer: The dogs barking cuts off and then we are left, unfortunately, with baby Emma crying. And Simon tells him, do it, Gordon, do it. And Gordon does. And the crying stops. Back at the hospital. Gordon stares out the window of Mary Hobbes room, of course, and calls Wendy again. And this time, when we see his phone, we see it’s all smashed. It’s, not, you know, calling anyone.


Alison Leiby: It’s not making calls. Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: He’s not making calls. It’s all smashed up. He says, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so lonely here. I want to come home. I want to hold you. I want to hold my baby. Can you ever forgive me? And as we pan over the top of the stately, abandoned Danvers State Hospital, we hear the end of the session tape where the doctor asks Simon. Where do you live, Simon? And Simon replies—


[clip of Simon]: I live in the weak and the wounded. Doc.


Halle Kiefer: The end. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. A great one.


Alison Leiby: It’s a lot. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: I kind of don’t understand some stuff. 


Halle Kiefer: Great. Let’s go through it. 


Alison Leiby: Who is Simon? 


Halle Kiefer: Simon, I believe we’re to think that Simon is a demon. 


Alison Leiby: Uh huh. 


Halle Kiefer: Or some sort of entity. 


Alison Leiby: That, like, was in Mary Hobbes. And so what did he end up in? And also, all the names are the same. So like, it was a little hard to keep track of, like, I’m like, Jeff and Phil are the same name. I don’t know how to explain that. 


Halle Kiefer: There’s also a Billy and a Bill, which is the same thing. Like not even a Will. But yeah.


Alison Leiby: Was listening to the tapes. How Simon got in, like got into. Who killed everybody? Gordon. 


Halle Kiefer: Gordon. I think that actually it was as soon as he came in the building because we hear— 


Alison Leiby: Right. Before he listens to the tape.


Halle Kiefer: Say hello Gordon. 


Alison Leiby: So it’s just like. 


Halle Kiefer: That was like, yeah. 


Alison Leiby: But he had killed his wife after the first day. Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. So I think we’re to think.


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: I think it is sort of similar to In The Shining, the book where Jack has like a flaw within him, and that’s sort of like in The Shining. It’s that he broke his arm or dislocated his son’s shoulder. Right? That there was something already in him that allowed a space for something evil or supernatural to come. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Now, I do think it gets a little less compelling when it’s like, okay, but Mary Hobbes was a 14 year old girl where it’s like, okay, if she’s mad at her brother, I don’t know. But I think the idea is like in that moment of rage at his wife he, like it’s almost like, how do you allow yourself to hurt someone you love? It’s almost like you have to give yourself permission. And I think Simon is like—


Alison Leiby: It’s that kind of like, yeah.


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. So yeah. So unfortunately, I think, I do think we’re to think he killed his wife on that Friday night and she had been dead this whole week. And he, of course, was mentally breaking down, but that Simon had already had had control of him as soon as he entered the building, because he had some sort of flaw within him that he was going to, you know, he could manipulate, basically. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. That’s all. Yes. That all makes sense. That’s what I assumed. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: But I was like, well, I confused all of these different men’s names. So I’m not 100% sure who was up to what. Audibly. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. Great. We could keep going. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. So what are some fatal mistakes you think were made in the movie Session 9? 


[voice over]: Fatal mistakes. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, the rush job, like, agreeing to, like, do this intense, obviously impossible job of asbestos removal at a psychiatric hospital that clearly you can’t do and obviously pushes everybody to their limits.


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Absolutely. I think using, inventing and using asbestos was the number one.


Alison Leiby: Yes, yeah. Well, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Mistake that people have made. 


Alison Leiby: Like lobotomies and hospitalization for things that, are not helped by those things. 


Halle Kiefer: Right. Well that’s the thing is, like, obviously like demon possession or whatever is not real. But if it was real, I don’t think they would be able to solve it in the hospital. Right. Like that would not have been Mary could not have gotten treatment for that is what I’m thinking. So similarly, I don’t know what what anyone could have done to prevent. Simon from taking possession of them or accessing them in that moment. So, like, there’s not that sort of mistake. It’s really mostly the exposure to asbestos. And again, there are harder jobs than ours. And shout out to anyone whose job involves them having to interact with asbestos. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Terrifying shit. Absolutely horrible. But also, thank you for your for your work. And then finally, where would you place Session 9 on the spooky scale? Alison.


[voice over]: A spooky scale. 


Alison Leiby: I think this is a seven. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay, great. 


Alison Leiby: I think the imagery of the hospital is obviously just, like, immediately chilling. I think like the concept of asbestos as this thing that can kill you, that’s just floating in the air is like a nice. It’s not just like, can you guys clean the floors? Like there’s also this like added kind of danger that kind of keeps it all on edge. And then. The rest of it’s just really scary. Scary ending. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. I love the ending. Perfect ending. I’m going to give it a five. I would say ten out of ten. I think it’s a great movie. To me, it’s sort of like, Shutter Island, where it is mostly sad. Like, obviously the family killing is horrific, but it’s not scary. Like, it’s just like. And that’s why I think it’s, like, more of a psychological. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I, I do think it’s a psychological horror movie. It’s not a thriller. Like, because there are horrifying moments designed to horrify in the moment. But, I would say it’s a great movie, but not necessarily one that I found particularly scary. But there is a mounting dread. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. It’s fun. 


Halle Kiefer: I love that all the characters are fleshed out. Like I just what a treat to, like, be invested into to. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Genuinely feel bad when they all get, brutally murdered. And by an ice pick, for the most part. 


Alison Leiby: Me too. 


Halle Kiefer: But, yeah, what a great movie. I’m really glad that we finally did it. And then it was as good as it was, like much more human and warm and character driven that I then people have given me the impression of or that I had taken from them. 


Alison Leiby: Perfect for this month. 


Halle Kiefer: But I really enjoyed it. I thought, I really liked it. 


Alison Leiby: We’re cruising through March Madness and yeah, I guess now all we have to do is ask you to please, if you wouldn’t mind, keep it spooky. Keeping it spooky. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay. Thank you. Thank you for doing so. Thank you. We really appreciate you. 


Alison Leiby: Please keep it spooky. Don’t forget to follow us at Ruined podcasts and Crooked Media on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok for show updates. And if you’re just as opinionated as we are, consider dropping us a review. Ruined is a Radio Point and Crooked Media production, we’re your writers and hosts Halle Kiefer and Alison Leiby. This show is executive produced by Alex Bach, Sabrina Fonfeder and Houston Snyder, and recorded and edited by Kat Iossa. From Crooked Media our executive producer is Kendra James with production and promotional support from Ari Schwartz, Kyle Seglin, Julia Beach, Caroline Dunphy, and Ewa Okulate.