Hunk Factor: Beautiful blue eyes, killer smile, mop of gorgeous blond-Roger-Daltry-style hair, earnest, honest, good hearted, perfect boyfriend material.
Dispatched by: Hard edge of a steel bucket that falls onto his head.
Played by: William Katt
Of course, if you are a gay man (or even a straight woman), it might get to the point where you sort of wished you could see a doe eyed young man looking all spooked as he is trying to get away from the villain. Or how about a film that features a mostly male cast thrown into the formulaic world of a slasher film? Wouldn't that be a treat?
Apparently, director, David DeCoteau knows what you want.
DeCoteau, who cut his teeth as director of some pretty dreadful horror films in the 80's ( Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, anyone), is now the prominent (if not only) creator of such gay-centric horror epics like The Ring of Darkness, The Brotherhood, Wolves of Wall Street, and the one that started it all, Voodoo Academy.
Usually, these films star a bevy of pretty boys, one token hot chick, and sometimes a D-List actress to give them some added camp value.
The stories are usually lame rip-offs of better films, the acting third rate, and the special effects laughable. But the guys... oh so delectable. DeCoteau populates his works with Abercrombie types and manages to film them often shirtless, or in their underwear, as much as possible. The filmmaker is very fond of slow-mo shots of his stars in a wet or sweaty mode -- specifically I am thinking of the scene in The Brotherhood were a young buck stretches as he prepares for his morning run clothed in nothing but an impossibly tight pair of red shorts and sneakers.
Yeah, DeCoteau really knows how to shoot his principals so that they sparkle like rare jewels ... what a shame he does not show that much love to the rest of the elements of his films.
Honestly, David DeCoteau's works are reminiscent of the fare of that other beloved hack, Edward D. Wood Jr. Not since Plan 9 From Outer Space have movies looked this tacky, has acting been this horrendous, have screen plays been this lame...
And much like Wood, DeCoteau is a workhorse. According to his Wikipedia entry, the man has directed over fifty films! Well, you have to admire his work ethic.
Please, understand, I am not mocking David DeCoteau, far from it. I respect and admire this guy. Just think of the balls it took to create films like this. In his own convoluted way, DeCoteau was paving the way for Brokeback Mountain. And, if imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, all one has to do is take a look at Renny Harlin's The Covenant, with it's tale of four hunky college students who are witches. The Covenant is pretty much a DeCoteau formula film with better acting and good special effects!
Sure, you can see all kinds of bloodletting in any of the Friday the 13th films, but those movies have a comic book quality about them, one cannot take them seriously, while Hostel's raison d'etre was to shock and sicken and nothing more.
That said, Hostel did turn the slasher genre on its ear in that the primary victims of this venture are all young horny men (as opposed to young horny women).
As the "stalked" are all male, the survivor is also.
Played by the delicious Jay Hernandez, Paxton (no last name) is the hunky American in Slovakia who does his best Jamie Lee Curtis to avoid and escape the madmen of the Elite Hunting club . In keeping with the bravery that a Final Girl/Boy, he even helps a hapless Asian woman escape her torture (though the poor girl is missing an eye by this time ... don't ask).
All in all, watching Hernandez, as beautiful as he might be, is no reason to watch this film. Hostel is a shit fest of garbage that is best left to moronic fan boys and sadistic fucks.
Victim: Jeff (unknown last name)
Film: Friday the 13th Part 2
Hunk Factor: Baby face, nice arms, wears shorts, fond of his cap, shaggy hair.
Dispatched by: Six foot spear driven into his back while he is screwing his girlfriend.
Played by: Bill Randolph
Film: A Nightmare on Elm Street II - Freddy's Revenge.
Hunk Factor: Ron's a jock who sleeps in tight soccer shorts, is prone to pantsing his best bud, and has a great head of hair.
Dispatched By: Finger Knives.
Played by: Robert Rusler
Not only was DOTD a gore-fest, it was also a movie that poked much fun at consumer culture. When our heroes first make it to the mall, they find thousands of zombies mindlessly strolling the aisles of the shopping center - much like you'd see on any given day of the week at any suburban mall.
"Why do you think they keep coming here?" one of the character's ask upon seeing the horde of flesh eaters trying to press into the mall.
"Instinct", is another character's reply.
Our four main characters are television producer, Fran (Gaylen Ross) , helicopter pilot, Stephen (David Emge) and two members of a SWAT team, Peter and Roger (Scott Reiniger and Ken Foree). From early on it is clear that Fran and Stephen have a history and the viewer is aware they are a couple. However, it also becomes clear, as the movie progresses that Peter and Roger have formed a bond that might well be beyond a friendship.
The men first meet early on in the film as they are trying to clear out an apartment building in Philadelphia that has been overrun with zombies. Roger witnesses a horrid scene when one of his comrades goes on a rampage and starts arbitrarily shooting at the survivors while belting out racist remarks - which in turn causes all kinds of havoc and ends with the racist soldier shot dead and the zombies to have a mini feast before the other SWAT team members manage to clean house.
Roger goes into the basement of the apartment building to collect his wits and a deep voice booms out from across the room, "You ain't just in here alone, boy!"
This is when, blond haired, blue eyed Roger comes face to face with a tall dark and handsome African American, Peter. The men immediately draw guns on each other (as opposed to whipping out their dicks), but soon realize that they are on the same page. From here it does not take long for the bond to form and soon the boys are hooking up kicking dead ass, high fiving each other, and sharing smoke after smoke after they blow away a zombie.
When they finally do hook up with Fran and Stephen, it is clear that Roger and Peter are the top dogs, they mock the helicopter pilot at every turn, dubbing him "Fly Boy", and concerning Fran (who is actually quite a looker) they seem indifferent at best.
When the foursome decided to call the Monoreville Mall home, Roger starts to show his true colors. He's cocky and cock-sure, always willing to take a chance to impress his buddy. While on the other hand, Peter proves himself to be intelligent, balanced and take control - a "Top Man", if you will.
Peter is constantly calling Roger out because of his reckless behavior, and often, Roger is left looking like a chastised child. Of course, Roger is doing everything he can to impress his buddy, he seems to want to prove to him that he's not afraid of anything and ready to risk it all for victory.
While Peter has to try to keep his quick-on-the-draw partner in line, it is obvious how fond of him he is. But Peter is the take control guy an almost father figure (not just for Roger, but for Fran and Stephen as well). Peter is the cool collected type, a man of few words - the kind of any of us would want on our side when faced with a disaster (like a zombie-outbreak).
Eventually it is Roger's wild behavior that proves his downfall. While trying to fight off some zombie's in the mall's parking lot, he is bitten by one of the creatures, sealing his fate. When Peter sees what has happened to him, he not only expresses anger, there is something else, something sad betrayed behind his eyes.
As Roger falls sick, Peter becomes his care taker. Administering his medication, pushing him around the mall in a wheelbarrow (much like parent with an infant child in a stroller) - and when Roger finally dies and then reanimates as a flesh eater, it is Peter who puts him down with a bullet to the forehead.
After Roger's death, one of the most heartbreaking scenes of DOTD occurs as Peter, having just buried his partner in a plot of earth in the center of the mall, pops open a bottle of champagne and toasts his memory. He takes a swig of the bubbly and then pours some on his grave, tears rolling down his face. The camera pulls back and lingers on this sad moment and it tells us more about Peter and Roger's relationship than a million words.
Once Peter is gone, Roger seems lost at sea. The mall is now a safe place, he and Fran and Stephen have everything they could possibly need, and for awhile, the three of them live in a quiet Utopian world. Of course everything changes when their fortress is set upon by a marauding tribe of bikers who break into the mall and leave a wave of zombies in their wake.
By film's end, with the mall overrun again, Stephen dead and zombified, and a horde of flesh eaters hot on their tale, Roger heralds Fran up into the helicopter and tells her that he is not going.
Once Fran gets into the chopper, we see Peter standing in front of a wall, gun pointed to his head. He's going to end it all, to join Roger one suspects. But at the last moment, he changes his mind, blows away a couple of zombies and joins Fran and the duo heads off into the dawn sky.
Students of Romero's work might not be surprised of the homoerotic subtext of DOTD. If you've seen Knightriders (Romero's take on the King Arthur legend set in modern times with motorcycles), you'd have noticed that one of the peripheral characters is gay, and even accepts a public proposal of marriage by his boyfriend -- which of course was a big deal in a film made in 1981. Romero has always been miles ahead of the pack when it comes to social commentary.
I love horror films, been watching them all of my life.
As a gay man, I've come to note the more homoerotic subtext in many of these films. From the obvious in films like, Interview With the Vampire, to the more subtle in movies like, Scream.
So, what I intend to do with this blog, is, from time to time, highlight a movie that is both scary as well as sensual, provided that sensuality is borne of gay or lesbian themes.
I should start posting soon.