In honor of the weird trend going on right now of people on social media bashing movies with sex scenes in them, I figured I’d do a triple feature of balls out gay films to add to the full homo horror movies page.
OPEN CAM (2005)
Years before there was Exploited, there was the online gay erotic thriller Open Cam. Unfortunately, Exploited did it way better, because Open Cam forgets the thriller part.
This is the kind of movie you watch and the only thing you can conclude is that the creator wanted to make a gay thriller but had a better eye for gay porn. In fact, according to IMDb, the sex scenes were the real deal, but most of the footage was left on the cutting room floor. What is included are remnants of that footage without any shots of the penetration. Not going to lie. The sex scenes are hot and plentiful with some full frontal, and I’m all about it.
The plot concerns a sexy young artist who hooks up with guys on Webcam…after which they get castrated and murdered. If only there had been dedication to the suspense aspect.
There’s some promising, grainy footage of a kill and one fleeting “there’s someone else in your apartment” moment on the Webcam, but the movie doesn’t follow through and fails to deliver any horror, stalking, cat and mouse, or anything that makes a serial killer thriller a thriller.
The focus is all on the main guy, the guys in his apartment building, his close friend, the guys he hooks up with, and the cop on the case that he starts having an affair with when they meet after a gay bashing gone refreshingly wrong for the basher.
There is some classic red and blue horror lighting, but that doesn’t help much when there’s no killer lurking in the shadows. Further spoiling any sense of atmosphere or dread is the fact that rather than using a tension-building score, the movie is backed with a constant stream of different rock and dance songs, often making this feel like a chain of sleazy montages rather than a movie.
The director of The Ruins, Jamie Marks is Dead, Bugcrush, and Midnight Kiss brings us a movie that is just so not my thing.
Cooper Koch of They/Them, who is quite good here by the end of the movie, plays a gay guy about to embark on a porn career in L.A. He’s spending his final night with his best friend. The depth and intimacy of their bond is perfectly portrayed, and you can see how much his friend loves him. That makes it all the more frustrating when the friend decides he’s going to help him out financially by dragging him into a drug trafficking job. Ugh!
Jena Malone supplies the drugs, and forces them to swallow it at gun point for transporting.
- A full-frame aspect ratio and predominantly extreme close up shots to create a claustrophobic feel
- A gay bashing in a public restroom
- the friend trying to shit the bags of drugs out and eventually rubbing his bare bottom all over a public restroom floor (grossest part of the movie for me)
- The lead being forced to fist fuck the drugs out of his friend’s asshole with Vaseline
- Mark Patton as Jena Malone’s lecherous boss
- Mark Patton doing a camptastic, psycho flame out during a chase scene
I know everyone has different definitions of what makes a movie horror. For me, this isn’t it. It’s also being described as “body horror”. It’s not body horror to me. It’s a shit and bowel-centric film. Hell, there’s even numerous references to there being something nasty in the bag of drugs, but that is not expanded upon—and as gross as it is, it’s the one thing that would have made this a horror movie to me.
THE BREEDING (2018)
Finally we have a winner, at least for me, probably because The Breeding tackles a theme I regularly explore in my gay horror novel series—interracial fetishism. Despite today’s tightly-wound queer community’s obsession with policing the sexual and romantic desires of others and its need to become outraged when people are attracted to those not within their own race, the beauty of being queer is not having to subject one’s self to the restraints of mainstream society and all its bigotry and phobias. Being attracted solely to those of another race is as much a person’s prerogative as is the desire only for those with a specific hair or eye color, certain body type, or of a particular age.
The good news for the mixed-race hating queers is that this film considers the pitfalls of fetishism, and how it can actually be thinly disguised racism played out in the form of total dominance through the lens of objectification and sexual desire.
To me, The Breeding was the most nerve-racking of all three of these films. It focuses on a gay Black erotic artist whose Black partner isn’t satisfying his sexual needs and would never be able to do so.
That’s because the artist longs to submit to a white man. He goes exploring online and finds just the type of man willing to fulfill his fantasy.
This is where the film gets scary in a real sense as it delves into the dangers of throwing caution to the wind to get off when you don’t know the intentions of the other party, give in to the temptation of the danger, and never establish a fricking safe word! This is all amplified by the inherent distrust races have of each other, for the main man soon finds himself an actual sexual slave to the white man, who begins the process of “breaking” him.
It effectively makes you feel how terrifying the allure of interracial sex could be if both participants weren’t simply in it for the passion and pleasure but rather for the power play embedded in human history. That terror is intensified by the fact that we’re actually living through a frightening time of amplified white supremacy—which doesn’t bode well for either the Black or queer community.
The film may feel slow at first if you’re only in it for cheap chills and thrills, however it’s important to pay attention to what’s happening, because everything circles back to the points being made here and how they relate to the main man’s sexual urges (which unfold in highly erotic scenes). The troubled relationship between the couple is established; our main man is a carefree bohemian uninterested in what ails the world, while his uptight partner is a socially-conscious and concerned businessman. There’s social commentary on religion, race relations, and politics embedded in the plot as well. For instance, the Black gay male experience is not only explored within the gay community, but also in terms of how Black gay men are treated and judged by the Black community as a whole. Conflicts with white figures of authority are touched upon in simple, fleeting moments, like the difference between the way white police treat an upper class Black man in his own apartment after he calls them for help and the way they treat a shady white dude in a hoodie when making a call to his house while investigating complaints of screams. Subtle but brilliant. Concepts of being on the down-low and how it affects relationships of different races are considered as well.
Finally, like Open Cam, there is a good deal of music used as background instead of a score, but it feels better applied here to me. The words to the songs and the tone of the music make sense coupled with what is taking place on screen. The selective use of red and blue horror lighting to signify both tense encounters and sex turning scary is also highly effective. Every aspect of the film is smartly thought out, which, dare I say, elevates this erotic thriller.