Friday, April 23, 2010
Hellbent (2004) - the first gay slasher?
Hellbent (2004) dir. by Paul Etheredge-Ouzts
Two gay men on a date are murdered the night before Halloween in West Hollywood, California. Eddie and his friends Joey, Chaz and Tobey are going out the following night to the West Hollywood Halloween festival when they encounter the psycho, who sets his eye on them. The killer stalks them through the festival as Chaz parties, Joey chases his jock crush, Tobey tries dressing in drag, and Eddie pursues Jake, the bad boy he wants to get to know better. Not until the very end do you find out who dies and who survives their night of terror. Written by Esprix at IMDB
I don't know if it is the first gay slasher or not, but its definitely not bad. I first came across this movie when it was supposed to get a theatrical release back in 2005. I was talking about it to a gay guy I worked with at Pella Windows. Then I mentioned it a few times to my wonderfully gay brother. The problem is, I was so interested in seeing it, then it never released. I didn't come across it til today while streaming movies online. Paul hasn't directed alot of movies, but last year he directed Angel of Death with Zoe Bell and I loved it. I guess Paul is gay, and he wrote and directed Hellbent, starring almost an all gay characters, so I guess that is why they are calling it the first gay slasher. I think they might paint gay men in a bit of a negative light in this movie, as ever man in this movie is the gay/bi X-taking, sex in the bathroom, make out with every other guy type, and I know a lot of gay men, and none are like that. The other thing is, where are they living? Everyone in the movie is either gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or a tranny! I could understand a costume party at a gay bar, but everyone they run into on the street is gay as well. I just find it a little hard to believe. That being said I did enjoy the movie for the most part. The Devil dressed killer was extremely unique with a weapon no seen enough- a sickle! Jason Vorhees was picked on for being a retarded child, Freddy was burned alive by his own neighbors, but they didn't give any background or motive to this killer at all. I couldn't really tell you if that hurt the movie or helped it, but I just assumed the killer wanted to kill promiscuously gay men. The movie is for the most part predictable all the way down to the ending with a twist. That doesn't say that its not an entertaining film. If you are homophobic, I definitely wouldn't try to watch this movie, as there are alot of half naked guys making out. I'd still recommend at least one viewing to most people.
The acting in this movie isn't terribly great, but all of the characters seem to be a little different in some way, and that keeps things rolling. Luke Weaver, who played The Devil, did a really good job remaining his composure in his relentless pursuit of his prey. Everyone else did a pretty mediocre job.
They try to use the fact that hey have Joseph Wolf as a producer, as he was also a producer on Halloween II, and A Nightmare on Elm Street, but he is really just a name. The film itself did have a lot of great things going for it. It has a pretty good soundtrack for starters. The lighting was phenomenal, and really added to the element of the film. Great use of shadows was there for sure. Most of the gore was off scene, but there was still plenty of blood, especially considering they originally wanted to make the film without using any blood at all. I'm extremely glad they didn't. The movie was pretty cool looking, but I half expected it to be coming from a Director who got his start in the Art Department on films. The thing is, the movie is still predictable, and that doesn't really make it buy worthy. I really hope Paul returns to direct a horror movie in the future, as I would like to give him a second chance, but I probably won't be purchasing this on DVD unless it is a gift to my brother.
Entertainment Value: 6/10 Decapitations
Cinematic Value: 6/10 Decapitations