DEKKOO DISPATCH 067 – ‘BUGCRUSH’

Title – ‘Bugcrush

Director – Carter Smith

Starring – Josh Caras, Donald Cumming, Eleonore Hendricks, David Tennent

Release Date – 2006

 

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Well it’s a very dark and yet exciting day here in Dekkoo-world with the launch of Carter Smith’s award-winning short-ish film from 2006 ‘Bugcrush‘! This is absolutely, positively, my favorite short film ever – it’s disturbing, sexy, and gorgeously made. The photography, sound design, and choice of locations all come together to reach a level of perfection for my particular aesthetic interests. The short premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to win the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film! Based on his success at Sundance Carter Smith went on to direct the Summer blockbuster horror film ‘The Ruins’ and later in 2014 the intimate ghost love-triangle film ‘Jamie Marks is Dead’.

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Bugcrush‘ is set in a small town in the forest-heavy state of Maine. We meet Ben – a mousey nerd-ish loner type who happens to be the first person to talk to the dark, mysterious, and sexy new kid in school, Grant who immediately upon arrival gets an immediate detention for smoking. What does Ben do then? He gets detention on purpose so he can stare at Grant for a couple of hours. Ben’s friends try to talk him down from his obsession with Grant. They warn him that he’s just a straight guy that’ll beat him up if he knew Ben was into him. But none of this deters Ben who proceeds to work up the courage one school day to propose a hangout with Grant that leads to a very bumpy night to say the least…

The film is an adaptation of a short story by Scott Treleaven, an artist who founded the queer pagan punk ‘zine ‘This is the Salivation Army’ back in the 90’s. It was collected in the queer horror anthology ‘Queer Fear 2’ which is where Carter Smith first read it. “The moment I read the short story the very first time, it was like being hit by a bus,” Carter Smith said, waiting in a Dallas airport for a changeover flight to Salt Lake City. “I was like, ‘This is the film that I can make better than anybody else. This is the film I have to make.’ It just sort of clobbered me over the head.” Before making ‘Bugcrush‘ Carter Smith was a professional fashion photographer and commercial director. He was certainly able to bring over his keen instinct for stylization and photography to create a dark and foreboding landscape of teenage angst and sexuality.

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The film was shot on 35mm and the color timing is some of the best I’ve ever seen. Greens have a corpse-like quality to them (except when it comes to Ben’s eyes which seem to be leaping out of the screen at you) and the roads at night are a gorgeous yellow-grey color. Another part of the production that leaps out at you is the sound design. The entire film is filled with eerie moans and distorted childish voices that promote the escalating tension in everyday normal situations like school hallways. The idea to un-synchronize the sound during the driving scene at night is totally brilliant! And so was the idea to have lots of whispering voices giving you additional info about characters. Turn up your volume!!

This movie has everything! Pretty guys, teenage crushes, weird drugs, sexy smoking, metal music, awkward hidden sexuality, creepy straight guys, and cockroaches! Watch ‘Bugcrush‘ with your ‘crush’ tonight!

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Watch it with: Someone you have a dark crush on…

Mix it with: Vodka.

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New This Week – 3/30/18

This is the art for the gay horror movie, 'Alpha Delta Zatan'

In a frat house where no one can be trusted, a new brother becomes the target of a masked killer. This over the top horror flick is chock full of hot guys in their skivvies! Stream ‘Alpha Delta Zatan’ on Dekkoo!

This is the art for the gay short film, 'It Gets Better?'

After drinking heavily and getting stuck in a YouTube hole of “It Gets Better” videos, a man reflects on his life and decides to tell his own story. Watch the Dekkoo Films short ‘It Gets Better?’ now on Dekkoo!

This is the art for the gay documentary '108'

In her powerful documentary, which unfolds like a mystery novel, a young woman investigates the shadowy circumstances of her Uncles death. Watch ‘108’ now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: Sir Ian McKellen delivers a riveting, award-winning performance as gay Hollywood horror director James Whale.

New This Week – 1/12/18

This is the art for the gay film collection, 'French Kisses'

Get seduced by the best short films from France in this exquisite new collection. Featuring six different short films, ‘French Kisses’ is packed to the brim with sexy young actors in romantic stories that are bound to make you swoon.

This is the art for the gay film, 'All Over the Guy'

Four friends. Two couples. Twice as much to lie about in the morning. This charming 2001 romantic comedy from writer-star Dan Bucatinsky (‘The Comeback’, ‘Web Therapy’) follows two men with major personal differences who are struggling to learn that they’re crazy about each other. Co-starring Andrea Martin, Doris Roberts, Christina Ricci and Lisa Kudrow. ‘All Over the Guy’ is available now to stream on Dekkoo.com!

This is the art for the gay short film, 'Killer Friends'

Four friends go on a camping trip that one won’t be coming back from alive. ‘Killer Friends’ is available now on Dekkoo.com!

 

New This Week – 11/2/17

This is the art for Coffee House Chronicles

Coffee House Chronicles: The Movie‘ is a comedy that explores the many ways LGBT people connect in the world of the Internet, social media, and of course coffee houses. The movie, based on the successful web series from writer-director Stewart Wade, covers two days and one night of love, hookups, heartbreaks, and hopes in gay Los Angeles.

This is the art for the gay short film Pyotr495

Set one evening in present-day Moscow, 16 year-old Pyotr is baited by an ultra-nationalist group known for their violent abductions and attacks bolstered by Russia’s LGBT propaganda law, but Pyotr has a dangerous secret. Watch ‘Pyotr495’ on Dekkoo now!

This is the art for Colin Quinn: Unconstitutional

While not a gay-centric comedian, Colin Quinn’s ‘Unconstitutional’ is a poignant (and hilarious) stand-up special that deserves a look due the current political environment. Quinn offers an analysis of the creation of the United States Constitution and its effect on the American psyche how the three branches of government are similar to people in a bar, why most U.S. presidents are unattractive, and how the Kardashians reflect on our country. Watch ‘Colin Quinn: Unconstitutional’ on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week:  A contemporary pansexual drama that can best be described as the darker, equally sexy Belgian versions of John Cameron Mitchell’s ‘Shortbus’.

DEKKOO DISPATCH 042 – ‘PYOTR495′

Title – ‘Pyotr495

Director – Blake Mawson

Starring – Alex Ozerov, Alanna Bale, Juliana Semenova, Max Rositsan

Release Date – 2016

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How was everyone’s Halloween festivities last night? Did you have to take the day off work to recover? Over here at Dekkoo we’re still clinging onto the vapors of October with this week’s short film that really packs a wallop: ‘Pyotr495‘.

The beginning of ‘Pyotr’ starts out simple enough, a really really cute guy named Pyotr (played by Alex Ozerov) is cruising on Grindr one night and is invited over to an older muscle stud’s apartment (decorated in terrible/amazing Russian fashion), but since this is a horror film he of course runs into some trouble, namely a few anti-gay Russian Nationalists that believe that it’s their responsibility to rid Russia of ‘degenerates’ like the gays. A twist towards the end makes the short film extremely enjoyable 😉

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There are lots of reasons why this short film has played all over the world: great direction, fantastic cinematography, a great horror twist, and a really cute lead to name more than a few, but it’s the films social commentary about LGBTQ bullying that really ties everything together. The films starts with a message, stylized like the beginning of a Disney fairy tale: “Russia, 2014 – The country’s military has been ordered to invade the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, while the newly-instated LGBT Propaganda Law makes it illegal to present gay life in Russia as normal. President Vladamir Putin’s approval rating is at a six-year high.”

This film paints a reality for many LGBTQ people living in Russia. They don’t feel safe in the same spaces that most of us in the U.S. feel safe in. The wrong hookup can lead to devastating consequences. Charlie David from Border2Border (who helped bring Pyotr to a wider audience online) interviewed the director Blake Mawson and asked a question about why the film is so important in this day and age:

With what we’ve seen is happening in Chechnya with the anti-gay purge and concentration camps for gay men, these human rights abuses by Chechen authorities where journalists covering the story are receiving death threats and being forced to flee the country – this is obviously a very clear sign that things are not getting any better and are in fact worsening in many parts of the globe. While I’m not claiming that our short film is solving any of world problems, I do think it is important that we use our voice as artists and as people in any way possible to draw attention to these injustices and continue to raise awareness.

I think if I can use genre-type film to put an audience in the shoes of the people who are experiencing this type of terror and hatred, make them uncomfortable and have them realize that this is actually not so make-believe in the end, that this type of horror is real – then we can begin to open people’s eyes and reach an audience in unexpected ways.

Check out ‘Pyotr495‘ tonight and do your part in kicking the asses of Russian bigots!!

 

 

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Watch it with: Your horror buddies.

Mix it with: Russian Vodka of course!

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 040 – ‘A CLOSER WALK WITH THEE’

Title – ‘A Closer Walk With Thee

Director – John C. Clark, Brie Williams

Starring – Aj Knight, Gregory Shelby, Kelsey Boze, Megan Hensley

Release Date – 2017

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Lordy, lordy look what just turned 40! The Dekkoo Dispatch! We’re officially into daddy territory now and couldn’t be happier… We’re still butt deep in Halloween season so it’s time for another blood-curdling gay horror film to spice up your week courtesy of your friends at Dekkoo 😉

Last week we took you to Spain and into the minds of queer killers with ‘In A Glass Cage‘. This week we’re heading to Los Angeles where four Evangelical missionaries live together and work to convert the agnostic (that means they’re heathens sweetie) neighborhood they’ve set up shop in. Dubbed as a ‘Homoerotic Evangelical Exorcism Film’ – ‘A Closer Walk With Thee‘ is a devious piece of low-budget horror filmmaking with some great acting and some very lusty set pieces.

Aj Knight stars as Jordan, a simple missionary trying to do God’s work, but unfortunately gets distracted by Eli, the handsome pastor leading the mission. When Jordan is caught masturbating to Eli’s naked self in the shower the group gradually starts exploring the theory that his homosexual urges could be the work of a demon possessing his body and soul. The movie is full of awesome sexual awkwardness between the two and once it gets to the exorcism scenes you’ll definitely be enjoying yourself.

The directors (a gay and a lesbian! super awesome!) explain why they made the film: “We began ‘A Closer Walk With Thee with a basic idea: a religious horror film depicting ‘gay-conversion’ exorcisms, a fringe practice within the Evangelical community that has been growing steadily in recent years. We wanted to take the already emotionally charged experience of coming out of the closet and place it in an even more heightened environment  — amidst a group of fundamentalist young people living together in a house church performing exorcisms on their fledgling congregation.

As the story began to take shape, it became the story of one character, Jordan, experiencing a struggle that so many people face: being in a deadlocked battle between desire and religious conviction. The journey of the film is his journey — at first quietly uncomfortable, increasingly disorienting, guilt drenched, and ultimately madness-inducing. What started off as an idea to make a fun, weird religious horror had developed into a more complex drama/genre film, and it was one that we were excited to explore.”

Whenever I can invite a guest analyst to take a more academic approach to a film on Dekkoo I make sure to and this week I managed to snag one of the biggest contributors (both in filmmaking and with wild appreciation) to the world of Queer Horror, Michael Varrati who has this take on the film: “Amid lingering shots of male physicality and heightened sequences of youthful lust, ‘A Closer Walk With Thee‘ expertly threads an ever encroaching sense of unease throughout its narrative. By showcasing the schism caused when rigid ideology and primal desire clash under the same roof, the film exponentially magnifies that sense of unease felt by queer individuals forced into situations wherein they are not able to be their true and authentic selves.

More so, the film never goes out of its way to directly condemn the actions of the missionaries, and a gruesome, supernatural third act lends itself to a morally gray read of the movie overall. Perhaps though, this is A Closer Walk With Thee’s greatest strength as a horror film. Rather than visit the terror onto one individual, none are entirely absolved from the evil inhabiting their world. Shocking, thoughtful, and subversively sexy, ‘A Closer Walk With Thee‘ is the kind of movie that makes you want to free yourself from sin…if only so you may sin again.”

 

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Watch it with: Friends that love sexy men and scary movies

Mix it with: Sacramental wine blessed by your local sexy priest

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 033 – ‘TONIGHT IT’S YOU’ AND ‘SEBASTIANE’

Title – ‘Sebastiane

Director – Paul Humfress, Derek Jarman

Starring – Leonardo Treviglio, Barney James, Neil Kennedy, Richard Warwick

Release Date – 1976

Title – ‘Tonight It’s You

Director – Dominic Haxton

Starring – Jake Robbins, Roy Allen III, George Alvarez, Ian Lerch

Release Date – 2016

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Well boys, it’s almost the end of summer and to celebrate/mourn we’ve got two films that will help to make the transition as smooth as possible.

To celebrate the coming of fall (which in turn means Halloween!) we’re premiering the Dominic Haxton (‘We Are Animals‘ ‘Tonight It’s Me‘) directed horror-themed short film ‘Tonight It’s You‘! It’s always fantastic when there’s a new entry into the very deserted category of Queer Horror and ‘Tonight It’s You‘ is a 17-minute sexy thrill ride through hookup app anxiety, intimacy, and religion. What starts off as a hot hookup for CJ in the woods turns into a fight for his life by the end of the film. I was lucky enough to see this film on the big screen and holy shittttt I was so surprised at just how scared I was. Definitely check this out!

And if you’re the type that’s clinging onto summer well then have no fear because shirtless soldiers speaking Latin are here! Enter the world of ‘Sebastiane‘ – an incredibly homo-erotic take on the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian by filmmakers Paul Humfress and Derek Jarman. While you might not have heard of the former, the latter is an incredibly influential and important director in the world of Queer Cinema. Derek Jarman passed away of AIDS in 1994, but left behind an incredible array of cinema and art. His most successful film was ‘Caravaggio’, but his other films such as the experimental film ‘Blue’ (1993 – A film where the only video is a blue screen and the audio is a series of voices including the director’s describing his failing health [he’d gone partially blind at that point]) and the gay-activism themed ‘Edward II’ (1991) are all incredible achievements and works of true art.

Sebastiane‘ follows the Roman soldier Sebastianus who after falling out of the emperor’s favors is exiled to a remote garrison of soldiers to work. What follows is fellow soldiers falling over themselves with their lust for Sebastiane, lots of whipping, and bros being bros around the campfire. The movie definitely has strengths and weaknesses. The idea to have all the actors speak Latin was very academic and happened years before ‘The Passion of the Christ’. Also you can definitely see the early stages of Derek Jarman’s fascination with placing contemporary fashions and objects in an era where it sticks out like a sore thumb. The men are also extremely sexy and naked practically the whole time. Probably my only critique of it is that it does meander a bit. It shows its age in that because it was made for a gay audience that was desperate for this kind of overt homo-erotic sexuality in a film, the filmmakers were more concerned with that then with plot and they figured their audience would have the same feelings.

Regardless ‘Sebastiane‘ is a work of art and deserves to be watched with that in mind while at the same time observing the beginnings of Derek Jarman’s storied film career.

 

 

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Watch ’em with: A friend who likes to be scared and watch artsy films

Mix it with: A red wine

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