Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Dead Serious" on Logo: a mix of "Feast" and "Timber Falls"

I expected “Dead Serious”, directed by Joe Sullivan (in 2005), available at LogoOnline (here) (from Moodude films) to be a gay “Feast” and I’ll get to that in a moment. But it’s more like “Timber Falls”, the take-off on “Deliverance” that aired recently on the Sci-Fi channel.

The premise of “Dead Serious” is that a right wing group (called “The Christian Action Army”) takes over a fictitious gay disco (called the “Boulevard Tavern”) more or less on New York City’s west side (presumably near “The Trucks”), kidnaps some patrons and presumably will convert them to straight on reality TV on “The Decency Channel” that comes ready with production assistants. The cult leader (Tom Cahill) purports to fix the “pervert” brain with a serum. (He makes a curious comparison between homosexuality and left-handedness, viewing them both as "abnormal". Chandler Burr's book "A Separate Creation" in 1996 on homosexuality and biology had compared sexual orientation to handedness.) Well, he does, and that’s by converting them to vampires. Gradually, the film turns into a gore fest.

There’s some opportunity to explore his existential motives. He wants to make everybody normal, make everybody play by his rules, and he gets off on capturing others into his world of virtue. And they live forever (vampires do) as slaves, of the head vampire, as long as he lives. So, I guess there is some sort of allegory to how all our historical political and moral problems play out.

Feast” (2005, dir. by John Gulager) won the Project Greenlight III screenwriting contest (by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton) in 2004, and was screened at Landmark’s E-street in Washington. Here, an ordinary bar (or plain dive) in the desert is attacked by monsters in the night. There’s no real meaning or pretense of it. HBO ran a series on how this film was made for Dimension for less than $1 million, and how tough it was. (HBO had series on the other Greenlight winners (“Stolen Summer”, and “The Battle of Shaker Heights”, which featured Shia LaBeouf), and there was enormous pressure on all the directors from Miramax executive Chris Moore). Anyway, “Feast” was more “straightforward” than this Logo film; “Feast” was just a rondo.

Timber Falls” (from Slowhand Releasing and A-Mark, dir. Tony Giglio) looks a little more ambitious. (Don't confuse with "Seraphim Falls"!) A young couple goes hiking in West Virginia (it looks like British Columbia, sorry) and is waylaid by a religious cult that will make mockery of the idea of “marriage” in order to give the cult leader an heir and an anti-Christ. This pretty much combines “Deliverance”, “Misery”, with the “Saw” and “Hostel” movies. The decapitation at the end is so well done. All this movie needs is Betsy Palmer from “Friday the 13th”. “They were doomed,” indeed. Nothing could save them, except themselves.

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