From tanning salons and reality show houses to beauty parlors and lakeside cabins

You know you’ve entered 21st century horror territory when you watch 5 slashers loaded with pseudo-lesbian bimbos, fabulous gay guys, pretty muscle boys, voluntary cohabitating, and techniques for looking good for those video confessionals.

REALITY KILLS (aka: Reality Check) (2002)

reality kills cover

If nothing else, this is a great product of its time—affected post-Scream slasher crap with early 2000s MTV reality show type characters mocking The Real World concept.

reality kills gay guy

The two big names in this film are Eliza Dushku’s brother Nate as the fabulously flamboyant (mostly) gay guy, and Sticky Fingaz as the show producer (pre-Blade on the short-lived series).

reality kills stick bod

reality kills sticky back

The cliché characters hang and fight and talk about sex. Occasionally, one of them is killed with some sort of taser gun while being filmed.

reality kills cast

When bodies begin turning up dead, everyone starts distrusting each other, assuming any one of them could be the killer. So they all walk around the house with knives as thunder and lightning set the mood.

reality kills mask

It’s not until there are about twenty minutes left that we finally see a robed, hooded, masked killer and get some final boy and final girl action.

reality kills killer approach

reality kills gay lick

As for the gay guy, despite his big personality and aggressive sexuality, he’s less exciting than this dude, who is into nipple play and even offers up his ass for a tasering.

reality kills nip play

reality kills ass zap

Plus, the gay guy negates his entire flamboyant, out and proud existence in his dying breath.

SAM’S LAKE (2006)

sams lake cover

Sam invites her friends to her family’s cabin by a lake in the woods, where her father died a year before in a hunting accident.

sams lake ghost dad

Once they arrive, she’s haunted by memories of him…even with her best gay buddy there to keep her safe.

sams lake gay guy

Naturally, the group sits around a campfire telling scary tales. Sam’s is a shocker about a house nearby that was the site of a mass murder, and stories of people going missing to this day, only corn husk dolls left in their place.

It’s such a goody that it’s befuddling when the details are completely dropped from the rest of the proceedings, despite the kids going to the house to explore! WTF?

sams lake stud killer

However, they find a diary that the gay guy starts to read aloud, which piles on a whole bunch of different details and delivers the kick ass twist. Well, kick ass because it’s a surprise and also triggers a sleek slasher segment, even if it could have used a few more victims.

sams lake cute guy

In actuality, the spoon-fed diary backstory is really forced based on what was already presented, and only gets even more muddled before all is said and done, as more information is dished out right up until the end of the film.

sams lake stud hurt

I didn’t totally get it, but like I said, that turning point twist rocks.

869 (2012)

869 cover

It’s another reality show slasher. This one’s claim to fame is that it stars Dee Wallace’s daughter Gabrielle Stone.

869 stone

Hey, everyone’s gotta start somewhere, but when you consider that Dee started with Wes Craven, Joe Dante, and Steven Spielberg, well, it isn’t really fair to put any pressure on Gabrielle for being her daughter.

869 limo

I mean, this is about as trashy slashy as it gets, filled with hokey reality confessionals as a bunch of slutty bimbos, most of the predatory lesbian variety, live in a house while hoping to win the coveted contest to become the next big scream queen.

869 machete

This movie never even bothers to go into the technicalities of the show. The girls just hang until eventually one is possessed by a little ghost girl and then kills one bimbo after another like an assembly line slasher in the last fifteen minutes or so.

869 ghost girl

Some of the practical gore effects are wicked cool, but don’t expect any suspense or scares, and the slapped on explanation for the little ghost girl’s evil at the end in no way validates her killing a bunch of horny chicks…or where she learned do such things with an electric knife…

869 electic knife

SLINK (2013)

slink cover

For me, director Jared Masters delivered a tighter movie with After School Massacre, the film he did after Slink, which is very uneven in tone, pacing, and plot.

slink tanning kill

Part of the plot is about a crazy tanning salon owner who hires pretty girls and then kills them. Another part of the plot is about two girls who come to stay in their recently deceased uncle’s house.

The girls find themselves sharing the house with their odd aunt, who tells them scandalous stories about their uncle’s presumed sexuality…and the way he died. This doesn’t sit well with their father, who comes to intervene—because he doesn’t even know who this supposed aunt is!

slink bloody table

Without even realizing it, the girls get tied into the shenanigans going on at the tanning salon—and become the ultimate targets of a much bigger psycho tanning salon killer ring than is really necessary!

slink corpses

Scream king Anthony Del Negro (Anarchy Parlor, The Doll, Dark Haul, Deep in the Darkness, Dead Souls) comes into the picture as the sidekick of the tanning salon owner’s wife, who is using the flesh of dead girls to create a successful handbag business.

slink purse lady

It’s a bit of a campy mess, and you start to feel like you’ve stepped into an old Herschell Gordon Lewis film, which is possibly just what Jared Masters was going for here. If so, then he nailed it.

SCAREYCROWS (2017)

scareycrows cover

This film has a great setup for the short horror comedy it wants to be, plus the cast is a delight and perfectly plays up the fun angle. The only problem is that the script simply isn’t funny, no matter how much charm the cast members pour into their performances.

scareycrows cast

Basically a young hairdresser and her friends start to notice things are amiss during a big annual event marking an historical day in their small town—the Scareycrow Festival.

scareycrows hot dog

They feel that the scareycrows displayed around town are moving. They’re right. And it’s all part of a magic spell cast by a witch!

scareycrows tent

Pretty soon, the hairdresser and her pals are on the run from the witch and her army of axe-wielding scareycrows! Seriously, it’s as fun as it sounds…it’s just not as funny as it should be.

scareycrows barricade

It just seems to hold back and go for subtle humor, even when golden opportunities open up. For instance, a straight guy and a male hairdresser character—we can presume he’s gay, but the film never clarifies—are hiding from the scareycrows in the bushes. The straight guy tells the hairdresser he needs to take off his shirt because it’s too loud. End joke.

Personally, I noticed him a lot more when he took the shirt off…which is exactly where the bigger, better joke about two young cute guys trying to be inconspicuous in the bushes together practically writes itself. Hence, Scareycrows is the little film that could…but didn’t.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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