Tag Archives: grrr men!

THE GAY BED & BREAKFAST OF TERROR

gb&bot 2007/18/109m

“Some things should stay in the closet!”

Director/Writer: Jaymes Thompson / Cast: Mari Marks, Michael Soldier, Georgia Jean, Robert Borzych, Hilary Schwartz, Vinny Markus, Shannon Lee, Denise Heller, Derek Long, Allie Rivenbark, James Tolins, Lisa Block-Wieser, Jim Polivka, Noah Naylor.

Body Count: 12

Dire-logue: “You will no longer yearn for the engorged penis of a well-muscled man in uniform! From this point on you will embrace the light of God and dream of the sugar-sweet Holy vaginal walls of your soon-to-be wife!”

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A lot of gay men like slasher flicks, they provide a kind of sanctuary where the misfit final girl (who is normally sexually repressed and ‘outside’ of the microcosm of society that she exists in) outlives the nasty cheerleaders and fag-hating jocks to best the killer and save the day.

This said, gay characters have always been few and far between, normally wasted with prejudice or revealed to be the killer of the ‘normal’ heterosexual teens, overtly camp, in drag or completely ignored altogether. Gay-centric slasher films are almost as rare: Make A Wish pandered to fantasies around lesbianism and set it to a Friday the 13th-lite baseline, Hellbent got it mostly right by playing it, ahem, “straight” and going for the octane-over-aesthetics route and now to join the ranks is a kind of mash-up of the two, it’s The Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror

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After a cabaret song about watching out for straight people adorns the credits, several gay couples drive up to the Sahara Salvation, having left it too late to book accommodation for a gay festival. The Sahara is run by mum/daughter oddball duo Helen and Luella, and the former wants to convert a gay fella from his “Satanic ways” to be a husband to oppressed-lez Luella. There’s also Manfred; a boy-slug hybrid who lives in a cage and likes to eat sinners.

The guests include an arty lesbian couple, a drag queen and his leather-daddy BF (played by director Thompson), an older guy and his buffed boy-toy, a couple of ‘normal’ gay guys and their fag-hag and a guitar-strumming hippie lesbian. Some of them soon fall victim to Helen’s Biblical-spouting and her crucifix-shaped dagger or Manfred’s green fangs. Then there’s partner swapping, sex, flashbacks to Helen and Luella’s homicidal-prompting experiences and a bloody finale of camp carnage.

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So it’s cheap and cheery, similar to But I’m A Cheerleader in its tone and execution (‘scuse the pun) with some funny lines and mannerisms: Helen screams her anti-gay diatribe at an en-dragged intended victim, to which he responds “if God hates us so much then why did he make all the beautiful people gay!!!!” There’s a hidden shrine to Reagan and Bush, a merry lesbian nun, hot players all around and a sense that those involved were having a great time.

As entertaining as I found The Gay B&B of Terror to be, it’d be unfair to ignore its less charming elements. Gay films still appear to lean towards stereotypical characters all too easily and there are an excess of in-jokes that those unfamiliar with gay culture will be bamboozled by. This is a fun party flick, if not a little overlong, but for an audience outside of the intended demographic, it’ll sink harder than a Bible verse in a pride march.

And who’s that woman at the beginning…?

November Knockdown: Sexy Psychos

Have you ever watched a slasher film and, when the murderous fiend is unmasked, thought, “I’m strangely attracted to that person?” As you’ll see, it happens to me a fair bit. Are we as demented as they, or is there just something a bit sexy about a knife-toting loon? Here’s my Top 13:

MAJOR spoilers follow…

SEXY PSYCHO #1

sexy1Film: He Knows You’re Alone (1980)

Name: Ray (Tom Rolfing)

Story: Seemingly jilted by his girlfriend, he kills her on her wedding day and then proceeds to stalk brides-to-be. Needless to say I was on his side fairly early on.

Why-so-sexy? Brooding loner type, nicely cropped hair. Hates weddings.

SEXY PSYCHO #2

terrirandallFilm: The Initiation (1983)

Name: Terri Randall (Daphne Zuniga)

Story: Terri is heroine Kelly’s evil twin. How freakin’ cool is that? Answer: so cool. Anyway, she’s mental but has decided she wants to kill Kelly and become her to go travelling and stuff. Quite reasonable really…

Why-so-sexy? Just look at that cute face! Even with no make-up she’s adorable! Works a good gardening fork too.

SEXY PSYCHO #3

howardFilm: Silent Madness (1984)

Name: Howard Johns (Solly Marx)

Story: incarcerated for nail-gunning a group of sorority girls in the 60’s, Johns is released in an administrative error (John Howard was the patient they should have released – duh!) and so returns to the sorority house to kill. In 3D.

Why-so-sexy? Premature balding aside, those green eyes are quite nice, as is his mutedness. No office talk to bore you over dinner. Has mother issues though.

SEXY PSYCHO #4

mickeyFilm: Scream 2 (1997)

Name: Mickey (Timothy Olyphant)

Story: Mickey is Randy’s film student friend, who films a lot of things, thus enabling me to guess his identity two thirds of the way through. I didn’t get Mrs Loomis though. Bad times. Anyway, he likes killing people, no more, no less.

Why-so-sexy? The QT-lite hair aside, intense stares, lots of film quotes could get annoying though. Nice meaty arms. Straight-up loon, no prissy motives here!

SEXY PSYCHO #5

brendaFilm: Urban Legend (1998)

Name: Brenda (Rebecca Gayheart)

Story: Brenda is fake-best friend to heroine Natalie (Alicia Witt) but secretly hates her for being present at the accident that killed her boyfriend, David, despite it really being someone else’s fault. Now she wants Jared Leto all to herself.

Why-so-sexy? “Looney-psycho-bitch” Brenda is a real smouldering femme fatale once revealed as the killer. Super big hair that would’ve made the hood she donned difficult to get over her head though… Probably wouldn’t take her home to meet Mum.

SEXY PSYCHO #6

larsFilm: Psycho Beach Party (2000)

Name: Lars / Larry (Matt Keeslar)

Story: Lars pretends to be a Scandinavian exchange student but is secretly killing people with disabilities or exterior health problems. He murdered his family because they were freaks. So he thought.

Why-so-sexy? When the glasses come off Lars becomes Larry, all confidence and homicidal intentions. Points gained for Keeslar being in Scream 3, then lost for only racking up 4 murders.

SEXY PSYCHO #7

jeremyFilm: Valentine (2001)

Name: Jeremy Melton / Adam Carr (David Boreanaz)

Story: He’s the geek-turned-sex-god, transforming himself from weedy Jeremy who was humiliated at his school dance into sexy – but alcoholic (understandably) – Adam, boyfriend of the final girl, the only one he doesn’t hate.

Why-so-sexy? It’s Angel for one thing. He hath touched Buffy. But contrary to what Denise Richards says, he is capable of an intricate revenge plot, passing the blame to an innocent party and doing it all looking hot.

SEXY PSYCHO #8

frankFilm: The Pool (2001)

Name: Frank (John Hopkins)

Story: Revealed to be the machete-wielding nut at the end, Frank is just mental and forgot to take his pills. He blames girls for everything and wants to kill them.

Why-so-sexy? It’s never a stretch to peg the British guy as the villain, must be our evil sounding accent. He’s buff and sweaty but loses points for resembling Simon Cowell.


SEXY PSYCHO #9

hellbent_devilFilm: Hellbent (2004)

Name: Killer (uncredited)

Story: ??? He just turns up at Mardi Gras in West Hollywood (a.k.a. Halloween) and scythes gay blokes for no apparent reason. Maybe the sickle is phallic?

Why-so-sexy? It’s all to do with the physique: not many slasher movie killers go to work in nothing but spandex pants and a devil mask. Thus, he lures in his horny victims by looking so good.

SEXY PSYCHO #10

leslievernonFilm: Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

Name: Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel)

Story: Les is a typical guy-next-door who happens to be planning a murder spree at an old farm and invited reporter Taylor (Angela Goethals) and her film crew along to document it. They can’t help intervening and it becomes clear Leslie has thought things through more than they have…

Why-so-sexy? The boy-next-door image notwithstanding, like Hellbent man, Leslie is nicely buffed and that little under-lip beardy thing is nice.

SEXY PSYCHO #11

mandylaneFilm: All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)

Name: Mandy Lane (Amber Heard)

Story: Killer final girl Mandy reveals herself to be a loon just like her patsy, Emmett, who gets the blame for it all while she rides off into the sunset with man-toy Anson Mount. Who knows what’s up with her? Being beautiful and popular obviously has consequences to consider.

Why-so-sexy? She adheres to the blonde, boobular thing without fault. Plus she’s nicer than the other bitchy girls who go on vacation with her. Who’d ever think she was a psycho, eh?

SEXY PSYCHO #12

fentonFilm: Prom Night (2008)

Name: Richard Fenton (Jonathon Schaech)

Story: For some reason Mr Fenton was obsessed with terminally-dull heroine Brittany Snow, kills her family and then breaks out a few years later to stalk and kill people at Snow’s senior prom. Yawn.

Why-so-sexy? Designer stubble, good athletic build, full lips. He kills boring teenagers freely but bloodlessly.

SEXY PSYCHO #13

jensenFilm: My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)

Name: Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles)

Story: Tom caused an accident, which caused cannibalism, which caused homicide then more homicide and so on and so forth… He went mad over a decade and returned to town to kill people for absolutely no reason, thus exposing how crap the script for this film was.

Why-so-sexy? All-American good looks as per subjects Fenton, Vernon and Melton, impressive biceps when shown and evidently so angered by lack of substance of plot that he wants to kill all associated with it, especially scribe Todd Farmer.

VICTOR: It’s probably best to pick your own winner this month. Alone. In the privacy of your room.

D-TOX

d-tox

2001/18/92m

“Survival is a killer.”

A.k.a. Eye See You; The Outpost

Director: Jim Gillespie / Writers: Howard Swindle & Ron L. Brinkerhoff / Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Charles S. Dutton, Polly Walker, Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Fulford, Robert Patrick, Jeffrey Wright, Tom Berenger, Stephen Lang, Angela Alvardo Rosa, Courtney B. Vance, Robert Prosky, Sean Patrick Flanery, Dina Meyer.

Body Count: 13

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Based on writer Swindle’s book Jitter Joint, D-Tox was shot in 1999 and then denied a release until the beginning of 2002, when it briefly appeared in a few choice locations. Seemingly a vehicle to relaunch the waning career of its star, there’s little that aids the cause.

Sly is Jake Malloy, a fed chasing a cop-killing maniac who also does away with girlfriend Meyer and evades capture yet again. Unable to cope with his loss, he is admitted to a remote Wyoming once-asylum-now-rehab-clinic for traumatised cops, which is run by ex-officer Kristofferson. Shortly after Malloy’s arrival, the “suicides” begin. Of course, the genre congnoscenti knows better and the cast eventually catch on and realise the cop-killer is among them. But which of the many characters is he?

While the identity of the loon isn’t glaringly obvious, the outcome is totally unimaginative and anti-climactic, indicative of the whole Hollywood ‘villains can’t be Americans’ issue.

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Violence is toned down to an almost PG-level – the powerdrill in the eye murder sounds more interesting than it is – and most of the characters run around wearing thick winter Parkas reminiscent of those first seen in Urban Legend. Stallone moves away from his usual action persona with just enough charisma to carry off his role as the mourning drunk but the rest of the cast are strictly conveyor-belt fodder with the usual tragic histories that make them plausible suspects, which is a bit of a waste when you scan the impressive cast roster.

A good and not overdone finale wraps things up nicely but much of D-Tox is a waste of its great setting and it ends up as a second-gear action/slasher fusion that’s already been forgotten about.

Blurbs-of-interest: Jim Gillespie also directed I Know What You Did Last Summer and Venom; Dina Meyer was later in Crazy Eights.

CREEP

creep 2004/18/85m

“Your journey terminates here.”

Director / Writer: Christopher Smith / Cast: Franka Potente, Vas Blackwood, Jeremy Sheffield, Paul Rattray, Kelly Scott, Sean Harris.

Body Count: 10

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Ahh…London Underground. Cancelled trains, bizarre aromas (I once saw a guy attempting to piss through the window into the gap between carriages), tube mice, people cramming themselves in like sardines and sub-human psycho killers. On reflection, I think I’d rather deal with the latter.

Chris Smith’s gritty creature-feature-cum-slasher kicks off with a relatively nightmarish concept: London it-girl Kate (Potente) rushes from a late night party to see if she can track down George Clooney, who is rumoured to be somewhere close by. A moment’s resting of her eyes and Kate wakes up on a deserted platform having missed the last train of the night. Worse still, she’s now locked in the station.

When an empty train does turn up, Kate hops on and is almost immediately plunged into darkness and then attacked by a sleazy acquaintance of hers, Guy (the excellent Sheffield). She is temporarily rescued by the intervention of an unseen figure who drags Guy away and (unbeknownst to her) has also murdered the train driver.

From this point, the film turns into a series of thwarted escape attempts. Kate purchases the assistance of a homeless couple who live in a ‘rabbit warren’ of tunnels and she finally joins forces with captive sanitation worker George (Blackwood). The two pool their resources and strike back against the killer, a dim-dwelling troglodyte with the super-scary name of…Craig, who is the implied product of some dodgy secret science experiment that was taking place under the station.

The inferences surrounding the killer’s origins dampen the grisly ambience and subtract much of his initial menace but Smith liberally dishes out the grue when required and really puts Kate through the grinder, having her crawl around within inches of rats and swimming through sewage, ending with a chucklesome note when she finally makes it back to safety.

Creep maybe indebted to the likes of Deathline with echoes of Mimic, but comes into its own in terms of its unpleasant nature and classic Brit-grit. Unfortunately, the premise does not afford an 85 minute film, so much as a segment in an anthology. The mission statement was to do the same for the tube as Psycho did for showers and, thanks to keying in on some of those trapped in an endless maze nightmare motifs, said mission is at the very least part accomplished.

Blurbs-of-interest: Smith later directed Severence; Potente had already starred in the German medical-slasher Anatomy; Sheffield later appeared in The Children.

I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER

ikwydls 1997/15/97m

“If you’re going to bury the truth, make sure it stays buried.”

Director: Jim Gillespie / Writers: Lois Duncan (novel), Kevin Williamson / Cast: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jr., Anne Heche, Johnny Galecki, Bridgette Wilson, Muse Watson.

Body Count: 5

Dire-logue: “Come into the back seat, I’ll let you do things to me.”

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I used to post on a horror forum that spewed bile at the mention of most slasher flicks made post-1989, in particular this film. It was hated. Hated with the fire of a thousand suns. “You’re not a true horror fan if you like it!” I was once told. Yeah, cheers for that. This was a few years back, mind. Now it’s kinda old school, the film the next generation of slasher kids’ll say was from the good ol’ days when characters were likeable, plots made sense and you could go to town and back, have dinner and see a movie for under a fiver.

Me, I always liked this one, and when it came out I’d already OD’d on the 80’s flicks, so I wasn’t being, like, totally obnoxious, dude. The 90’s clutch slasher flicks came out in my prime years, I was about twenty, studying film, teen horror was exploding all over again thanks to Scream (or so Scream would say). In the UK it had the oh-so sensible release date of December. Winter. Off through the drizzle and freezing wind to see a film full of gorgeous people set in the summer. Hmph.

Shot as a reaction to Scream‘s success, Last Summer was, once again, scripted by Kevin Williamson and based on the 1973 novel by Lois Duncan – who reportedly hates the movie and whose name does not appear on the opening credits – in which a quartet of teen friends guilty of a hit and run accident the previous year are tormented by creepy notes and psychological games. However, in the book nobody is murdered, hence Duncan’s hatred of the film, which turned her morality tale into a hack n’ slasher. That said, Last Summer is a tame film by any comparison, with little on-screen violence and characters with sensibilites absent in most of the genre examples that preceded it.

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Celebrating their last summer of “immature, adolescent decadence,” smalltown couples Julie and Ray and Barry and recently-crowned beauty queen Helen, head out to a local beach where they drink, fool around, relay urban legends about hook-handed killers and drive back to town along a windy coast road where they mow down a midnight pedestrian. In shock, the boys convince the girls that nobody would believe Ray was driving pisshead Barry’s car and they’d all go to prison. Helen catches on but Julie wants to go to the police. She is outvoted and they toss the body off a dock, but not before he proves he’s not quite dead…

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One year later, a now sullen, miserable Julie returns home from college and receives a note with the title of the movie written on it. It turns out that the hopes and dreams of all four of them have been dashed and she tracks down Helen working at her father’s store, under the supervision of her bitchy older sister Elsa (maybe she knows what they did last summer?); Barry is also back from college and still a prize prick and Ray has become a fisherman. They discuss the note, what it means, and decide that it’s from Max, another local fisherman who drove by on the night they had the accident. He might know what they did last summer too…

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Well, actually he doesn’t as five minutes after an altercation with Barry, Max gets a big-ass fishhook through the chin. Sensing that notes aren’t enough, the killer cranks the harrassment up a notch and runs down Barry with his own car. Forced to reconsider their situation, the group soon find that their tormentor really means business as he edges ever closer to consumating their one year anniversary – July 4th, another calendar date to avoid! Helen has her ever important hair cut off while she sleeps and Julie finds Max’s body stuffed in the trunk of her car.

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Psycho killers are anal about commemorative dates, they never miss an appointment and Captain Birdseye’s Evil Twin is no exception. As night falls, the killings begin… This is where I Know What You Did Last Summer kicks in and kicks ass, peaking with the supremo chase scene where he goes after Helen. It’s highly reminiscent of Wendy’s never ending marathon of fear from Prom Night (which, you’ll note, shares several overlapping story aspects); in her lovely dress, Helen kicks her way out of a squad car, runs, stumbles, hammers on the door of the department store while Elsa faffs with the keys, drops from a high window and staggers bear-footed through some backalleys… It’s a long, drawn out, but very well done scene.

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Once Helen and Barry have been done away with (along with a couple of extras who got in the killer’s way), Julie’s investigating leads her right into the killer’s trap. Or, as it’s called in the trade, a boat. The trawler-set finale is certainly different and Julie goes through all the usual final girl things, hearing out the killer, hiding, screaming lots, all the Jamie Lee-set industry standards. Things end another ‘one year later’ with a cool jump scene right out of a Friday the 13th.

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Buffy didn’t begin on UK TV until the end of 1997 and nobody really knew who Sarah Michelle Gellar was at that point; in hindsight it’s easy to question why she didn’t just kick ass! But it’s good to see a genre icon adopting different roles – hey, JLC never got to play the slutty cheerleader! Jennifer Love Hewitt (at the time in Party of Five with Neve Campbell) makes an interesting, if yet obvious heroine who shrieks effectively and does all the things we expect her to. The boys play their standard-issue boy parts well but are overshadowed by their female counterparts. I tell ya, horror is the only genre where this goes on! Oh, and some reverse perving…

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I can see why some purists don’t warm to this flick; it’s big budget and full of surface gloss and has a preference to build characters and work on dialogue rather than bloodshed in a genre that trades on minimal-everything (except skin). Perhaps they saw it as an insult to the films they held so dear…? There’s no exploitation here, no girls running around naked, marking a point where slasher films became appealing to both genders… The suckiest thing I can say about it is that the DVD has no extras… Not one. Who knows, it works for me just the same as My Bloody Valentine or Terror Train. Can’t I love both?

Blurbs-of-interest: Hewitt and Prinze returned for the cheeseball sequel; Gellar had a cameo in Scream 2; Anne Heche played Janet Leigh’s role in the 1998 Psycho remake. Jim Gillespie later directed D-Tox and the Williamson-scripted Venom. Several of the producers worked on reams of similar films in the same era, including Urban Legend.

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