Tuesday, September 04, 2007


--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: During the Halloween festivities in West Hollywood, a couple of gay men are brutally murdered while having sex in a parked car, their heads cut off and taken as trophies. Needless to say, when a group of gay men headed to the festivities decide to stop at the crime-scene to get their spook on, they end up being trailed by the killer. Who will make it out alive?

Scariness factor: It's got a few heart-pumping moments of tension in it, though not as many as I'd like.

Gross-Out Factor: Lots o' heads being chopped off, of course.

Complaints: The trope of slasher films is that the sexually promiscuous are being punished for their promiscuity by being picked off one by one. Hellbent is no different, but in a genre that typically exploits the opportunity to suck viewers in with lots of on-screen sex and nudity, Hellbent was surprisingly devoid of this. It has lots of sexy moments--boys making out, sexual innuendo, etc., but short of a blow-job scene at the beginning, it was pretty tame. God knows, this is probably to keep raters off their backs (tee hee), but it seemed like an opportunity for onscreen gay-sex that was sorely overlooked. My other big complaint with the movie is that we never find out *why* this guy is going around killing gay men. I found this really really strange for a horror flick, which typically has an elaborate backstory to explain away the motivations of its killer. In a society where violence against gay folks is (unfortunately) not that uncommon, it was a bit unsettling to see a movie about gay men being killed without an explanation. Perhaps this was the point of that lack of explanation--that it happens and we can't ever really wrap our hands around why. But it seemed a bit of a stretch.

High Points: This has been dubbed the "first gay slasher film" around, and for that I was excited to see it. And it was, no doubt, fun to watch all the typical slasher-film tropes being playfully gayed up. It was also entertaining trying to pick out all the allusions to other horror flicks and urban legends nested within--from references to The Shining (see picture below) to the urban legend of the man with the hook who kills young lovers in their car, this movie is chock full of them. The acting was sufficiently lousy, but in a fun kind of entertaining kind of way. And the boys were pretty. Chances are I would've enjoyed this more as a gay man able to catch more of the in-crowd references, but it was still entertaining despite my vagina.

Overall: It's fun and 90 minutes worth of entertaining. There's better out there, of course, but how often do you get the opportunity to watch gay horror flicks, huh?

Grade: C+



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