‘Save Yourselves’ Pouffes Explained by Directors: Get to Know These Adorable Autonomous Weapons

[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Save Yourselves.]

As someone who loves rich backstory and lore, and also adorable (even if they’re deadly) on-screen creatures, there was bound to be a lot of pouffe talk during this edition of The Witching Hour with Save Yourselves writer-directors Alex H. Fischer and Eleanor Wilson. Sure enough, a good chunk of our spoiler conversation did focus on those deceptively cute fuzzy balls of gas, and Fischer and Wilson were kind enough to share loads of behind-the-scenes details on them.

As we see in the film, when Su (Sunita Mani) and Jack (John Reynolds) decide to hole up in a cabin upstate and disconnect for a bit, the world is attacked by aliens – aliens that Su and Jack wind up dubbing pouffes because they look a whole lot like fuzzy footstools. But, of course, pouffes in this movie aren’t harmless ottomans; they’re a deadly force determined to slurp up all our ethanol. As Fisher put it, they’re an “autonomous weapon.”

Pedro Vivas Hernandez / Bleecker Street

How’d Fischer and Wilson come up with the way that weapon functions? Here’s what Wilson told us:

“I remember the first thing was when the pouffe is in the cabin, it was like, ‘What would be a fun, surprising way for it to get out of the cabin?’ And so we thought of this sort of stretchy tube suction thing that moves around. And so then, once we thought of that as a way that it moves, it was also like, ‘Well, what if that’s a way that it kills as well, and drinks and does everything?’ In our minds what it is is this tube that can kind of suction onto a thing and then because a pouffe is basically a ball of gas covered in little antennae … we figured that it has the ability to shoot out a high pressure air bullet basically through anything with precision so it can bust through glass or steel or a human’s body.”

So does that mean pouffes are natural killing machines? Or, if humans didn’t respond with force, could humans and pouffes have lived happily ever after together on Earth? Wilson said, “They were there to kill I think. I don’t think that there was any way around that happening.” There is one exception to that rule though because in addition to coming in a variety of colors, the pouffes also have their own personalities. Fischer noted, “They all have different personalities. Cabin pouffe, the brown pouffe that’s in their cabin, has a whole story.” Wilson further explained:

Courtesy of Bleecker Street

“Really, the only reason that the cabin pouffe doesn’t kill them is because of the cabin pouffe’s personal backstory. We like that there was this one pouffe that’s sort of more of a pacifist, more of a – did we say more of a scientist type? [One that] is observing Jack and Su, and because they don’t appear to know what’s going on in the rest of the world, it’s this perfect opportunity to just watch them, which is why it kills the other people who come near the cabin, like Raph and the guy in the woods who threatened to sort of disrupt this perfect case study. He doesn’t kill Jack and Su, and obviously when they approach him with the fireplace tongs there’s sort of a moment of, ‘Okay, I guess I’m getting out of here. I didn’t really come here for a fight.’ But the other pouffes, most of them came with a mission to kill.”

I was already interested in the idea of a pouffe-centric sequel after watching the film, but after this conversation with Wilson and Fischer, I’m convinced some sort of pouffe spin-off is an absolute must. If you’d like to hear Wilson and Fischer’s thoughts on that possibility and a whole lot more about their experience making Save Yourselves, you can catch the full Witching Hour conversation at the top of this article!

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Perri Nemiroff