In the years following the release of Scream, when slapping a bunch of pretty faces across a DVD cover was all the rage, David DeCoteau gave the practice his personal touch, making most of those pretty faces those of boys. While his films seemed to come out by the dozen, here are the only three that I felt were worth keeping in my collection.
FINAL STAB (2001)
It’s not every day that a slasher begins with a stormy night, a black out, a masked killer with a knife…and a guy in the shower! Unless, of course, it’s a David DeCoteau film. David had such an opportunity to flip the slasher genre on its head—or at least let it branch off into more male-centric fun—but he eventually threw away all the horror to focus just on the homoerotic.
Final Stab is one of his best efforts to capture the Scream spirit (not to mention, April Fool’s Day). This chick Kristin sets up a mystery weekend for all her friends at an estate in which a family was massacred. She actually considers it a murder mystery slasher weekend, because she’s hoping to create a real attraction in which people get to experience being in a slasher. This trial run begins as a party game, with one person playing the masked killer while everyone goes off to have sex, of course. But then the body count starts to rise for real!
It’s almost shocking to see DeCoteau creating genuine (if cliché) horror scenes, complete with jump scares, effective atmosphere and music score, fleeting glimpses of the killer, chase scenes, a twist ending, and some good old brutality and blood, but he pulls it off.
If it’s all rather routine, the bonus is that a couple of cute guys in tank tops get slashed, and a guy with a banging bod and wearing only his boxer briefs is treated to the bloodiest death of all. Plus, a secret love affair is revealed…between two guys! Yes, there are actually gay characters in a DeCoteau film. Now that is a twist! It actually lands a DeCoteau film on my die, gay guy die! page.
THE FRIGHTENING (2002)
With The Frightening, DeCoteau’s true purpose for making movies is starting to become apparent—so he can film as many pretty boys in their underwear as possible. However, he still manages to give us an actual plot, lots of kills, and a horror storyline.
The intro kill is awesome. A pretty boy in leather pants is being chased by a bunch of dudes in black caps and sunglasses. They catch him and he gets spiked in the mouth. And that’s not a euphemism.
Next, we meet the new guy on campus, whose mother is scream queen Brinke Stevens! Their relationship is tense because apparently he was involved in some sort of tragedy before they moved. And it’s not long before he is finding trouble at his new school. When he’s greeted by shirtless wrestlers who really want to wrestle with him, some other classmates warn him to stay away from the jocks.
The body count rises, and while all the kills are shown, they pretty much consist of flashing footage of victims getting their throats slashed. However, there is one highlight in the boys’ locker room. A pretty boy in the shower gets electrocuted. Hot. Sizzling hot.
Then we get one of DeCoteau’s trademark gay-baiting scenes. The main guy dreams of all the jocks in a tunnel, in their boxer briefs…with one girl dancing around them to imply a hetero gang bang. As much of a nosedive (muff dive?) as the film takes at this point, the reveal of what the jocks are really up to is fairly clever.
RING OF DARKNESS (2004)
A last gasp of “horror” can be found in this silly DeCoteau film. Personally, I have a special affection for it, because it came at the tail end of the boy band era and perfectly mimics the craze. The plot concerns a popular boy band that is holding auditions for a new member because, well, they ate their last one, and not in the good way!
That’s right. Behind the beautiful young faces, tight bodies, and stylish hair are a bunch of zombies! But, this being a David DeCoteau film, the zomboys spends most of the film looking pretty—and repeatedly performing one helluva catchy zomboy band song. Adrienne Barbeau is their manager, and she’s holding auditions for a replacement. The zomboys set their sights on a delicious looking hottie, but need him to ditch his girlfriend, played by Ryan Starr, who some may remember as a castoff from the first season of American Idol.
Along with a lot of dancing, the zomboys mock the idea of having an African-American member in a boy band, and also eat anyone who figures out their little secret, which consists of them swarming around the victim and making eating noises. No gore here. They even devour the black guy. So, he can’t be in the band, but he’s good enough to eat?
Finally, we get some “V – The Mini Series” special effects when the zomboys’ faces are scratched, revealing their bluish-green skin underneath.
They drag their newest member to a cave for a ritual that requires them all to be in their black boxer briefs, and for their new member to be strapped to a table so they can feel him up. Ryan Starr arrives to demonstrate what an awful actress she is. While she’s at it, she tries to save the day, but the zomboys remind her that this is a boys’ club and no girls are allowed.
Yes, it’s definitely a David DeCoteau film. He even managed to get Mink Stole of John Waters fame to play a small role.