hellbent (2004)

So being shacked up inside during this hurricane forced my roommate Mike and I to talk about art. And to drink. For some reason we got on to the topic of gay cinema (wonder why!?) and were discussing how there aren’t really any gay horror films, except über-cheesy ones that err more on the side of satire than satanic. So you’ll imagine my glee when I came upon HellBent, the interestingly capitalized title on N’insant. Unlike my second horror choice, The Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror, this one seemed to actually be a gory slasher film! Just in time for Halloween. And hey, it’s better than facing the real horror of the fact that most of NYC has been without power for two days, the subways won’t be up and running for a week and climate change is real.

Like Sandy Duncan – this recent hurricane’s namesake – the protagonist of this film has a glass eye. I would write !!!!!~SPOILER ALERT~!!!!! in front of that last sentence if I thought this blog was anything BUT spoilers and/or you would ever actually watch this POS film. Now, don’t think I’m being harsh. The benefit of the doubt was given, my friends. I turned out all the lights, I put on my fancy headphones and I was ready to get scared. But I actually ended up laughing out loud at least four times at some ridiculous “special effect,” editing mistake or idiotically penned punchline like, “C’mon, we’re fuckin’ fabulous!” delivered with an inexplicable Bronx accent. For rls, I LOLd. Ask Mike, who was frankly just happy to hear something other than porn reverberating through the paper thin wall between our rooms.

HellBent follows the basic slasher film formula. Which is totally fine, even appreciated at times! Eddie (played by the lithe Dylan Fergus), our Duncan-esque hero, and his three gay friends go to a West Hollywood Halloween Carnival and die one by one. There are even the stock horror movie victims: Joey: The Dope, Tobey: The Priss and Chaz: The Bachelor. Translated into fag that’s The Nervous Bottom, The Butch Queen and Rough Trade. This is so Sex & The City you guys… Each character has a  typically gay downfall. Chaz takes too much ecstasy and doesn’t realize he’s being sliced apart with a scythe on the dance floor by a hunky masked devil man. Joey is left decapitated in a leather bar basement bathroom for two candy queens to find and squeal at. And Tobey, an underwear model who dressed in drag for the first time (because he’s too desirable as a man and dressing as a woman will give him a break from the constant dicking he’s getting… wtf transphobia?! BAD GAYS), confronts the killer in an alley and desperately strips his cheap wig and clip-ons in a Flloyd-ian, gender-fuck strip tease, only to get his (cranial) head snapped off in silhouette.

Oh yeah, and that’s the weird thing. This ain’t a LOW-BUDGE film. There was some money put into this. It even distinctly lacks the notorious non-acting that happens in most gay films when porn-stars pretend to be actors (stay tuned for my upcoming review of Longhorns). Fergus’ Eddie is convincing if not played a little too eagerly – he almost comes across as a poor-boi’s Neve Campbell. However, he does get to flex his acting chops with the gruff flirtatious dialogue his character shares with Jake, a motorcycle-riding-with-no-helmet bad boy played by Bryan Kirkwood (who according to IMDB “Dated Melissa Joan Hart.”). Even though this film may have starred those who got it all explained to them by Clarissa (in bed), it was definitely made by homos. Even down to the soundtrack. It seems like bones were thrown to upcoming (and terrible) gay hardcore artists – which is noble, albeit unsatisfying. Just like Neve Cambpell.

Bottom line, this movie isn’t sexy/funny enough to be a gay parody of a horror movie, and it’s not scary/good enough to be a legit horror movie. You might as well cut your losses and watch Sphere.

Happy Halloween. Stay dry.



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