Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Dylan Fergus
HELLBENT (2004). Writer/director: Paul Etheredge.

"Why wouldn't you want to kill us -- we're fuckin ' fabulous!" -- Tobey

Eddie (Dylan Fergus) works for the LAPD, but only in an administrative capacity due to the loss of an eye in an accident. He wears his father's old cop uniform for a Halloween carnival, which he attends with some of his fellow gay male friends. His buddies include his apparently bisexual roomie, Chaz (Andrew Levitas); slightly geeky Joey (Hank Harris), who is wearing leather for the evening and isn't certain how it'll go over; and Tobey (Matt Phillips), who decides to go in drag, then wonders why no one is hitting on him. Two others attend the festivities: Jake (Bryan Kirkwood), a brooding bad boy type with attitude; and a masked killer who excites the others but prefers beheading people to making love. Just what the world needs: a gay slasher flick. Hellbent can at least be differentiated from Al Pacino's homoerotic serial killer movie Cruising, because both the hero and the major supporting characters are all  gay men, but their brutal slaughter might still make some viewers rather uncomfortable. Typical of slasher flicks, there's little pity for the victims, and just a slight attempt at pathos. The gruesome murder scenes are generally well-handled, with a standout being a slashing and decapitation that takes place amid the flashing lights of a crowded dance floor. The actors and characters are likable although not that well-developed, another slasher flick staple. One does have to ponder, considering the number of gay cops that there are nowadays (there's even a Gay Officers Action League or GOAL) why they couldn't have made the hero an actual cop on a night off. And must they have included the guy in drag and a few other stereotypes? On the plus side, the film does generate some suspense and eeriness, and it has a tense and exciting climax. The ending, however, may leave some viewers up in the air. Kirkwood is a standout as Jake, but the others are all pretty good. There is one especially nice touch dealing with a character who can't quite bring himself to actually kiss  another man until something helps him get over his hang-ups.

Verdict: If we must have gay slasher flicks ... ***.


angelman66 said...

Liked this one a lot when it came out, it was very well done and the guys are adorable!
I do prefer films that are out-and-out gay in theme rather than the "homoerotic" stylisng of a David de Coteau or those American Horror Stories or Scream Queens TV shows...
Would definitely see this one again!

William said...

I think you make a good point as to gay-themed movies as opposed to coy homoerotic ones.

And a good-looking cast never hurts!