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Aftertaste

evil-remains-1aEVIL REMAINS

2 Stars  2003/89m

A.k.a. Trespassing

“…Long after the killing is over.”

Director/Writer: James Merendino / Cast: Estella Warren, Daniel Gillies, Ashley Scott, Clayne Crawford, Jeff Davis, Kurtwood Smith.

Body Count: 8


This talky film features a quintet of college kids who drive out to a supposedly cursed Louisiana plantation to film a documentary about a murder that may have occurred there two decades earlier.

Sceptical group leader Mark aims to debunk the myth for a class project. While lesbian couple Kristy and Sharon wander off into the woods to discuss life n’ love n’ stuff, Mark, his weird brother Tyler, and gasbag Eric, tour the house looking for evidence both for and against the legend.

After much bickering and Blair Witch sounds-from-the-next-room styled tension, the boys are successively killed off and the girls become trapped inside the basement, where Sharon begins losing her mind.

Eventually, Kristy engages in a game of cat and mouse with the dog-masked killer, right up until an ending that shamelessly copies The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

While it’s creatively put together both visually and – sometimes – chronologically with accent placed on the characters over the expected stalk n’ slash antics, it’s also that little bit pretentious, rendering it somewhat stale for a low-bud slasher flick. And, for once, the lesbians aren’t solely engaged in topless faux-porn shenanigans.

Almost scary (the cellar scenes tingle the spine) and almost good, but too indecisive on its genre of choice.

Blurbs-of-interest: Daniel Gillies was in No One Can Hear You.

Walk on slaughter

SLAUGHTER STUDIOS

2.5 Stars  2002/85m

“The place where nightmares come true.”

Director: Brian Katkin / Writers: Dan Acre, John Huckert & Damian Akhavi / Cast: Amy Shelton-White, Peter Stanovich, Nicolas Read, Allen Scotti, Tara Killian, Andy Chulani, Eva Frajko, Matthew Roseman, Laura Lawson, Serra Ellison, Lorissa McComas, Darren Reiher, Matt Westmore.

Body Count: 10

Laughter Lines: “Oh my god! The smell killed her!”


If you can get past the first moment of an incredibly annoying and stabbable director going on about what a big horror fan he is, there’s some mileage in this worn out premise, which is another film-within-a-film slasher flick, but unlike some of its contemporary vehicles from the same era, it drives a bit further before the radio breaks, engine blows, and the wheels fall off.

Said killable director leads a small crew and a bunch of airhead actresses with more cleavage than a January sale at Contessa to the abandoned and soon-to-be-demolished Slaughter Studios, home of numerous cheapo productions he’s a fan of.

There, he intends to shoot the last ever production before the wrecking balls arrive, guerilla style. They have just nine hours to film Naughty Sex Kittens vs The Giant Preying Mantis.

If you were to imagine a particularly violent episode of Scooby Doo that also featured Daphne and Velma getting their kit off and then making out, you’ve arrived at Slaughter Studios. Once the killing begins, it’s reminiscent of some of the old style slasher films with lots of POV work, spooky silhouettes wielding sharp implements of death and excessively ludicrous means of teen-dispatchment.

Is the ghost of hot-shot dead actor Justin Kirkpatrick – accidentally shot by a co-star at the studios a billion years earlier – responsible? The deaf security guard? One of the crew? The reality is a genuine surprise, and yet so simple in many ways. It’s down to the likeable couple of survivors to get out alive!

Where it fails is in trying to be too clever at time, parodying producer Roger Corman’s own cheapo micro-shoots – footage from The Slumber Party Massacre is wheeled out yet again. But there’s too much ham-brained humour and slightly perverse T&A exploitation: only the heroine keeps her top on, and other girls experiment in the usual soft core lesbo antics before meeting grisly ends.

Without the it-was-there-all-the-time twist at the end, Slaughter Studios would surely be found for less than two-stars, but as it is, they were trying to make something fun and, for most of the running time, they have, it’s merely a shame that what makes a slasher film good has once again been suffocated by a barrage of tits. Literally, that would be terrifying. For some. (Me).

Blurbs-of-interest: Darren Reiher was in Hatchetman; Brian Katkin later directed Scarecrow Gone Wild. Make of that progression what you will.

And then there were nun

Bloody-Bloody-Bible-Camp2BLOODY BLOODY BIBLE CAMP

3.5 Stars  2012/91m

“Heaven is for everyone… Except YOU!”

Director/Writer: Vito Trabucco / Writer: Shelby McIntyre / Cast: Reggie Bannister, Tim Sullivan, Deborah Venegas, Jay Fields, Ivet Corvea, Jessica Sonneborn, Matthew Aidan, Christopher Raff, Troy Guthrie, Elissa Dowling, Jonathan Cahill, Mike Wood, Julianne Tura, David C. Hayes, Jeff Dylan Graham, Chris Staviski, Ron Jeremy.

Body Count: 15

Dire-logue: “I plan on being balls-deep in Betty by ten o’clock.”


I grew up in a religious household, not a strict Catholic “thou shalt not…!!”-type deranged one, more or a tambourines, sandals, and Toronto blessings-type deranged one. Marry a mockery of this lifestyle to a summer camp slasher film and I’ve found MY heaven.

Starting that golden year of 1977, the horny teenagers of Happy Days Bible Camp have clearly ignored all the lore of The Good Book and want nothing more than to smoke dope and have sex. They try to misbehave, but are instead thwarted by premature ejaculation and laid to waste by a loon dressed as a nun and rocking a big axe.

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Seven years later in that slightly embarrassing year of ’84, a new busload of happy Bible-loving youths come into town with the intent of scoping out the camp to see if its worth their church purchasing it. The requisite all-knowing locals at the general store try to warn them off, but Father Cummings is intent on getting to camp and starting the Biblical fun (is that an oxymoron?).

The psycho nun, Sister Mary Chopper, soon returns to cut her way through the fresh crop of young folk who, like their predecessors, are more interested in each other than learning God’s ways, save maybe for rotund goody-goody Timmy (“I’m sorry Jesus! Please take this sinful boner away!”). Douchey Tad wants in dim-bulbed Jessica’s pants; Vance is looking for loopholes in the Commandments that allows for sodomy; Millie can’t stop touching up bad-girl Jennifer; and even Father Cummings is browsing a sticky-paged mag called CUMunion in his private time – “There’s only one type of wiener you wanna wrap your lips around!”

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Christianity and the various contradictions of the Bible are derided at every available opportunity and the cast chew up the hammy lines with gusto, topped off perfectly with Jesus himself appearing – played by Ron Jeremy. The Bible-quiz scene throws up some great moments:

  • Father Cummings: “What happens to anybody who asks forgiveness before death? They go to heaven!” / Jennifer: “What about Hitler? What if he asked for forgiveness?” / Father: “Uhhh… then he’s probably up in heaven.”
  • Father: “What happens to homosexuals?” / Jennifer: “They become priests!”

In slasher film terms, Bloody Bloody Bible Camp is Friday the 13th by way of the Sleepaway Camp sequels (the Pam Springsteen ones, that is); a high body count comprised of amusing and grisly deaths, all bathed in the sloppy gore effects (intentional): decapitation, squashed heads, crucifix up the ass, and a new meaning to the vulgar slang ‘axe wound’ as a girl cops a blade right in the… well, you know where.

Just look how Camp Crystal Lakey it is:

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An initially unlikely final girl emerges from the pack and there’s a good, if short, chase scene with some amusing accoutrements tossed into the salad. She packs a good scream where it counts and was my favoured choice of survivor so I’m a happy camper on that front.

Nit-picking faults in a cheap film that imitates a genre of cheap films is pointless; some of the jokes may be lame for discriminating viewers, but I wouldn’t expect those people to be sitting down to watch this in the first place. If you like tits, gore, and fart/cock/gay jokes, all wrapped up with a killer nun offing horny teenagers dressed in 80s clobber, you’re sure to love this, and if you don’t, then flick through the Bible instead.

Blurbs-of-interest: Ron Jeremy had the title role in Andre the Butcher; Jessica Sonneborn was in Camp Daze; Jeff Dylan Graham was in Home Sick; Christopher Raff was in Jack the Reaper; Reggie Bannister was in Spring Break Massacre.

Stock Background Characters 101: Unrealistically camp gay

In this feature, we examine the lesser beings of the slasher movie realm, which, if you’re making your own slasher film, could provide a good cast roster for you.

No killer or final girl profiles here, this is a celebration of those underlings who made the most of their fleeting flirtation with stardom. And usually died.

This month, be catty, yet fashionable and definitely sexless as we look at
THE UNREALISTICALLY CAMP GAY

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Overview: In movie-world, minorities only ever come in two types: threatening and entirely non-threatening. In these PC-centric times we live in, gone are some of the more offensive stereotypes of gay characters, specifically men (we’ll deal with lesbians another day), where the only plausible style of representation was being a drag queen, a child molester, or a repressed psychopath. These days, it’s all about camp humour. Think Will & Grace & Ghostface.

Linguistic Snapshot: “Oh my God, girls, I tell you that killer better not come after me… Unless he’s Jensen Ackles with a donkey dick and doesn’t get blood on my Prada *squeaky giggle*.”

Styling: The camp gay man must wear tight-fitting clothes that make him appear skinny and weak. He can’t be one of the gym-sculpted Adonises that litter the scene, because they might be mistaken for REAL men and we can’t have that! No, be flaming, be stylish, be a functioning hair-gel addict. Hey, why not try make-up too?

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Hallmarks: After it being communicated to the audience that he is gay, the Unrealistically Camp Gay needn’t do much more. After all, that’s all that’s required on the knowledge front. All that’s left to do is hang around in the background and make occasional razor-sharp quips about the depressingly-dull romantic problems of the main boy and girl, as only THEIR love matters.

Downfall: In days of yore, UCG’s would be quite violently slashed up on screen to appease the assumed hoards of homophobic audience members who like to see “them fags get what they deserve!” While social stance may be a little more progressive, gay characters tend to hang around a little longer, neither being the first to go, nor one of the last. He is a midriff victim (possibly to complement the crop-top he’s likely to have been forced to don by the costume department).

In Venom, Ricky is summarily done in relatively early on, incapably running from the killer (remember, gays can’t run, throw, or lift weights in Hollywood) and having his arm ripped off; super-camp Latino-gay Shawn of 7eventy 5ive, miraculously gets laid by a hot cowboy (an unlikely pairing, but, y’know, gays will do anyone) before almost literally running into the killer’s blade; Fame-dancing Asian-gay Ricky (double minority points!) from Hack! attempts ill-advised martial arts on the killer and is, instead, gunned down. Finally, Timmy, student of Cherry Falls High School and victim of evident high-velocity collision with the Boots cosmetics counter, is afforded an off-screen throat-slashing as one of the primary virgin victims.

Genesis: Early slasher movie gay characters were far more commonly found in red herring roles, suspect because of their “deviant” sexual preferences, that, naturally, go hand in hand with psychotic breaks. One early example, though more incidental than intended, was Radish in Final Exam. Whether the geeky character is supposed to BE gay is a mystery, only Joel S. Rice’s performance at least APPEARS angled towards being the fag for heroine Courtney’s hag. He survives most of the film, is picked on by the macho jock-types, and done in when he tries to warn Courtney of the impending danger.

In the curiously named Canadian export American Nightmare (!?), Dolly the transvestite is the sole “male” victim of a razor-toting loon, who encounters him earlier while escaping and yells a hateful remark in his direction, then later returns to finish the job.

Lastly, and most infamously, is boy-hero Jesse in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: This much analysed entry in the series had an intended subtext of homosexuality, as Freddy Krueger literally “came out” of Jesse’s body at various points to kill schmucks. Eventually, Jesse is saved by the kiss of a girl; hetero-trumps-homo and saves the day. Those who criticise the film for it’s “pro-gay” material are clearly uninformed on what “pro-gay” means… Elm Street 2 doesn’t have much positive to say on the subject. Just check out that S&M-fused gay bar Jesse coincidentally wanders into…

elm2bar2Legacy: In Scream 4, Charlie and Robbie make a point of stating that, in their “rules reversed” theory of modern horror, that the only way to survive a scary movie is to be gay. Nice idea, but yet to be seen in practice.

Until that happens, we stand and watch as gay characters become slightly more evident in the genre, ideally less camp and annoying, and aren’t written as pathetic cowards either.

The gay boys in Bride of Chucky, Venom and The Clown at Midnight are, at least, far more incidental in terms of their sexuality. None of them are able to demonstrate anything on screen, merely colour their hair with peroxide, engage in short-lived conversations about not being straight, and, of course, die summarily.

Elsewhere, gay-produced slasher HellBent may have been largely set in a West Hollywood gay club, but it presented characters of varying campness, from the muscle guy who regrets dressing in drag for Halloween, to the testosterone hemorrhaging sex-pest, and the more sensitive final guy.

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In Scary Movie, the revealed killers are made up of a closet gay teenager and his friend who allows him to suck cock, but who has been the subject of endless gay visual gags throughout the film, culminating in their har-de-har-har ‘position of death'; slumping into a butt-fuck position.

Conclusions: Sadly, it’s still widely believed by the people that produce slasher movies that the audience is strictly limited to heterosexual men interested only in seeing girl-on-girl action when it comes to intonations of anything-but-straight sexualities. The sheer number of fansites, blogs, and even books on horror written by gay men is staggering, what the draw of this largely unsympathetic subgenre is remains to be made clear, perhaps the sense of “outcast-ness” shared with the likes of Laurie Strode or seeing the popular (and probably nasty) kids laid to waste are among viable reasons.

Anyway, we wouldn’t have gotten Hellbent in the 80s (Cruising sure don’t count), so tropes are morphing and changing all the time and, perhaps Charlie and Robbie’s reading will be made fact in the not so distant future.

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Una pesadilla en Arizona

THE CURSE OF EL CHARRO

2.5 Stars  2005/18/88m

“True evil can never die.”

Director/Writer: Rich Ragsdale / Writers: Ryan R. Johnson & Kevin Ragsdale / Cast: Andrew Bryniarski, Andrew Mia, Heidi Androl, Kathryn Taylor, Kellydawn Malloy, Philip Boyd, Andres Lopez, Matt Prater, Tabitha Stevens, Lyndsay Martin, Eric Unbauer, Danny Trejo (voice).

Body Count: 10

Dire-logue: “You said it, sweet cunt, now get the hell out of here before I get bitchy.”


A so-so, well-pieced together horror flick, which sees a young woman (Mia) – traumatised by nightmares after the suicide of her sister – off on a college road trip to Arizona with three other girls, two of whom are particularly nasty.

They encounter horny freeway cops, creepy locals in a dead end bar, and pick up guys at a club to take back to the secluded villa they’re staying in. Their private party is soon crashed by a blade-wielding, poncho-clad ghost of a murderer, who, it transpires in one of the oddest flashbacks seen in this type of film, has cursed the heroine’s entire bloodline and will merrily kill anyone around her.

There’s an interesting angle adopted in this one and it’s also adorned with an arty credits sequence and better performances than expected, especially considering the one-note characterisation the central cast members are stuck with: There’s the drug-dealing lesbian goth chick and the trash talking ‘token’ black girl (who ends most utterances with ‘bitch’ or ‘girrrrl’), while their friends are much more pleasant. The former, of course, engages in a completely superfluous and sleazy girl-on-girl encounter, which are sadly becoming more and more prevalent in the genre.

Some messy kills – including a neat hand-chop followed by a beheading – and gallons of claret to lap up, but the ineffective climax looks rushed, lacks clarity and is just a bit dumb.

Blurbs-of-interest: Bryniarski – playing the maniac – was Leatherface in both of the Texas Chainsaw re-tools; Trejo – who voiced him – was in Rob Zombie’s Halloween.

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