This is my first excursion into the more morbid, exploitative, homoerotic output from Scream Kings. While releasing fairly traditional horror films like Frat House Massacre and Camp Slaughter, Scream Kings also produces dark films that feature lots of shirtless hotties…who get violently choked, stabbed, beaten, dismembered, or all of the above.
While the characters in these films aren’t “gay,” much like in David DeCoteau films, the males get really queerly cozy together. Basically, the films are for the darkest-minded gay fans who are tired of watching big-boobed babes getting mutilated in exploitative horror and just want to watch cute guys die vicious deaths. I checked out two films. Shanked is meant to satisfy lovers of college-aged cuties. Beef: You Are What You Eat is for lovers of the big boys.
Shanked is directed by Alex Pucci, but rather than delve into any kind of throwback to old school horror like he did in Frat House Massacre and Camp Slaughter, he just gives us a portrait of a kid who’s fucked in the head and repeatedly convinces his friends to strip off their shirts before he violently kills them.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s a story. This dude is a hot mess (with a hot ass you get to see a few times), so a friend decides to put together a video intervention. This friend brings a hint of comic relief with her dialogue. But there is not much in the way of humor here.
Shanked is very repetitive. We see the kid’s friends giving monologues about him on the video then we see him kill them (usually in the same way) after notably homoerotic interactions such as shirtless wrestling or exercising. He also has bizarre gladiator dreams, and there’s a pretty gay steam room scene that turns into a blood bath.
But there’s not much going on here in terms of traditional horror. No jump scares, atmosphere, or suspense. This one is definitely meant for those who like to watch movies that focus heavily on the mentally ill becoming unhinged—and enjoy the sight of half-naked college types (being slaughtered).
BEEF: YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Beef: You Are What You Eat, is directed by Pete Jacelone; I cover all of his horror flix here.
One thing you’ll note about Beef: You Are What You Eat is that from one shot to the next, it goes constantly from a film quality to video quality picture, a clear sign of the low-budget. Yet Beef is still more my speed.
This cute photographer is dumped by his girl because he’s obsessed with trying to build up his body. He looks fine as is! There are numerous lengthy scenes of him doing his eating and workout routines in an effort to bulk up. His girl hated watching him do it. Personally, I still wouldn’t leave him.
Our photographer is messed in the mind. He has bad memories of being bullied as a kid. He really wants to have a body of death. He buys this BEEF book that’s supposed to have a miracle answer. The answer? You are what you eat. Bwah hah hah!!! If that were true, I’d eat every hottie I could get my lips on. Of course, then I’d just end up looking like an ass.
We are treated to almost an hour of the photographer luring straight dudes to his place and lengthy photo sessions of these gorgeous guys posing and flexing in Speedos. It really feels like gay hookups that just won’t commit. And then…the photographer kills them.
Blood flies, body parts are severed, big green trash bags are brought to a Dumpster.
Just when it seems this is all that’s going to happen the entire movie, two skateboarding kids who’ve been seeing the mysterious behavior of the photographer sneak into his place to see what he’s up to. Seriously, I was expecting nothing but hotties and horrific slaughters, and then this scene grabbed me—suspenseful and a jump scare!
There’s also an interesting flash of a page in the BEEF book that references the Book of Leviticus. Is that a wink-wink about our photographer lustfully desiring the bodies of other men?
There’s a scene-stealing juice head loving himself in the mirror at one point (his scene is rather funny), a campy confrontation with a bodybuilder by the trash, and then a pretty effective twist at the end, with a brief cameo by Muscle Wolf Productions hunk Marv Blauvelt.
Really, despite the attempts to present plots with the bods and blood, these movies are the kinds you simply play in the background at your big gay Halloween party to get your guests in the mood. Personally, I’d go for the beef over the boys.