The return of Bruce La Bruce’s gay living dead


A while ago I posted about how Bruce La Bruce’s horror movie/hardcore porno L.A. Zombie totally traumatized me. Like I couldn’t process the combination of hot naked men and repulsive sex scenarios.

Watching Bruce La Bruce’s earlier zombie movie Otto, Or Up with Dead People from 2008, I kind of miss the porn! Otto is a much more complex art piece than L.A. Zombie, and instead of having anything like that amazing, gnarly fricking monster that Francois Sagat transformed in to, Otto is pretty much a duplicate of the Warm Bodies kid (but Otto came first!).

otto up with dead people otto and body

As in movies like Warm Bodies, DeadHeads, and Fido, Otto takes the viewpoint I don’t particularly love in my zombie movies—zombies are people, too. Fuck that! Shoot the fucker! And the fact is, Otto isn’t event really a zombie. He’s living in a delusion in which he imagines he’s a zombie eating all the hot men he hooks up with. I think it’s some sort of metaphor for being an outcast or isolated when you’re gay. But damn! Thinking isn’t the main purpose of brains when there are zombies around.

So Otto walks around a lot pondering life then lands a role in a movie this lesbian chick is making about a gay zombie revolution or something like that. She narrates the film and her character has an anti-establishment perspective on heterosexuals and society, a POV that is basically played out in Otto’s story—so her film footage and his imaginary zombie reality start to cross lines. See? It’s deep.

ottot up with dead people black and white

However, from an artistic standpoint, there’s some cool stuff going on here, even if it is for reasons I don’t feel like trying to understand. For instance, the lesbian filmmaker’s girlfriend appears only in black and white and her dialogue is delivered with silent film title cards. The couple will be in frame together and the screen will be half color and half black and white, like they’re living in two different worlds—one boringly black and white and literally communicative, the other avant-garde and colorful. Neat-o!

The horrific/sexy gay zombie footage from her movie is in stylish black and white and it’s horror gold. There’s sex, but nothing as explicit as in L.A. Zombie. However, Bruce La Bruce does seem to be obsessed with zombies penetrating orifices they’ve bitten in other men’s bodies, so we get some more of that in Otto. There’s also plenty of ooey-gooey animal eating.

otto up with dead people gut screw black and white

So yeah. Otto, Or Up with Dead People is a little heavy for a horror movie, but man does it deliver the gore and male nudity. I think if it had been edited down from its hour and a half running time, taking out a lot of Otto’s long stretches of silent introspective journeying, it would be better paced without sacrificing the content meant for minds that like to ponder the deeper meaning of horror and not just scream and run like my ADHD mess of a mind.

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
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