Alpha Delta Zatan comes to us from Reel Nightmare Films, a production company I became familiar with after covering the works of director Armand Petri.
This frat house slasher got me going with an opening scene drenched in 80s neon light.
An iron pumping pretty boy shows off his assets as he gets in the shower, and a killer in tight black spandex bodysuit and a Harlequin mask comes in to take care of business. The camera angles are tight, the music is tense, the suspense is taut…
My hopes were a little high because I’m a fan of Armand Petri and mistakenly assumed this film was completely a creation of his. Based on the films of his I’ve covered, I was expecting an intense, creepy, sexy slasher, with a dose of gay sensibilities and camp, because he’s demonstrated a knack for all of the above across various projects.
Alpha Delta Zatan is written by Petri, but directed by Art Arutyunyan, who appeared in one of Petri’s films. It is the kind of homoerotic horror David DeCoteau could be putting out if he actually included any horror in his homoerotic horror films these days.
Like DeCoteau’s films, this one is set entirely in one house, all the guys are very pretty and spend most of their time in their undies, and yet any homoerotic flirtations never develop into blatant gay situations, and no fully-realized gay characters are presented. On the other hand, neither are any female characters.
A few things put this film way above a DeCoteau release and make it one I would opt to include in my collection of sexy stud horror. For starters, it’s loaded with sexy studs. Duh.
Not to be racist but, man, do the white boys all fricking look the same. I couldn’t tell those fuckers apart. It’s this man who makes me weak in the sphincter.
Second, the guys pretty much all show their asses—virtually every guy goes through the same exact routine at some point of dropping his towel before stepping into the shower.
Third, the 80s lighting will get me every time, and when it’s licking at the nooks and crannies of muscular male physiques, it gets me even more.
Fourth—there’s a masked killed and blood. Granted, there’s no graphic gore, just out of frame penetration, but at least there are actual kills.
However, it becomes a rinse and repeat formula. Short of that first great kill scene, there’s no sense of dread or fear, no jump scares, no chase scenes, and no body reveals, with the kill scenes becoming increasingly less impressive. The film takes itself very seriously, lacks any humor, and ends up having a much more complex denouement than a movie about hot muscle boys being murdered after getting naked needs, but I see the potential for Arutyunyan to up his game in the horror genre.
Meanwhile, I would still love to see Armand Petri himself make a gay slasher. Hell, I’d like to see him take a crack at adapting my gay Halloween slasher novella Scream, Queen! into a film.
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