A good sense of humor is a great trait in a guy, but what if your man has a wicked sense of humor? Hell, over two decades later, I still wonder if my hubby fears my constant horror quips could be a sign that he’ll someday end up back in the closet…as a skeleton!
George, the main man in gay serial killer flick You’re Killing Me, should be just as concerned, but he’s too busy becoming a YouTube sensation while falling for his new guy Joe to take seriously Joe’s frequent admission that he’s a murderer. Little does George know that Joe is being completely open and honest in their relationship!
Although the body count is high (Calm the cock. I’m talking dead body count), You’re Killing Me isn’t a “boo!” scare horror film. And while there’s plenty of gay banter, it’s not an all-out comedy either. It’s a pretty and polished, gay and gritty, dark cult comedy more along the lines of John Waters’ Serial Mom.
A pop culture party game opening scene is followed by some man flesh foreplay to get us in the mood for some campy gay horror fun.
But then, we’re hit with the first kill, which establishes the tone of all the death scenes to come. We are subjected to murders that are eerily stark and bleak, and uncomfortably casual and matter-of-fact in execution, which makes them effectively disturbing. The upbeat, pop rock music that accompanies every kill is a blaring contrast to Joe’s cold silence and blank stare as he carries out the heinous crimes. Actor Matthew McKelligon sure does know how to warp the appeal of his adorable looks.
There’s no shortage of blood as Joe hacks up homos left and right. But my favorite is his takedown of a showering straight guy (suck it, misogynistic mainstream slashers). From the moment the straight stud appeared on screen, I was thinking, “I hope he loses his clothes.” Great news is—he does. Completely naked, heads and tails. What becomes of all that hotness is tragic (and gruesome).
This being a “gay” film, one might assume it’s going to be loaded with male nudity and softcore sex, but this is the only moment of nudity in the entire movie.
We also get flashes of what goes on in Joe’s psycho mind: freaky, gory imagery splashed against a clean white backdrop. The inner, devilish joy he gets from the slaughter is presented here as well, with visuals that bring to mind Christian Bale in American Psycho.
Striking the perfect balance, the character of George is completely free-spirited, oblivious, and usually ready with a flippant one-liner. Actor Jeffery Self nails the comic timing, particularly shining during a scene in which he meets Joe’s mother. He also has a great supporting cast of comic actors playing his group of friends, and they really come together as an ensemble once they collectively realize Joe has serious issues.
The humor amps up significantly, resulting in a strong final act that plays out like a comedy of terrors.
The only aspect of the film that feels forced to me is interspersing of George’s YouTube video drag shtick throughout. It doesn’t fit the tone of the film, adds nothing to the plot, isn’t particularly funny, and jarringly interrupts the pacing.
It’s also a case of “just slap on this wig” rather than completely committed drag, as if it’s included simply because drag is considered just as obligatory in gay cinema as sex and nudity.
Finally, going back to the film’s highlights, a biggie for me is the fact that many cast members have appeared in other gay and horror TV shows and movies: Drew Droege (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, Where the Bears Are), Carolyn Hennesy (True Blood, Hybrids), Jack Plotnick (Suburban Gothic, Rubber, Gods & Monsters, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Edi Patterson (Helen Keller vs. Nightwolves), and Sam Pancake (Where the Bears Are, Charmed). But most importantly, You’re Killing Me features an appearance by queen of the 80s Mindy Cohn of The Facts of Life. Now that’s my kind of gay gimmick.