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Hellbent Print E-mail
User Rating: / 2
Written by Elaine Lamkin   
Friday, 11 January 2008

Directed by: Paul Etheredge-Ouzts
Written by: Paul Etheredge-Ouzts
Produced by: Josh Silver, Brad Warshaw, Steven J. Wolfe
Cinematography by: Mark Mervis
Editing by: Steve Dyson, Claudia Finkle
Cast: Dylan Fergus, Bryan Kirkwood, Hank Harris, Andrew Levitas, Matt Phillips
Year: 2004
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 85 Minutes

Being touted as the “first gay slasher movie”, which I dispute because “Make A Wish” came out in 2002, although it was a lesbian slasher movie, “HellBent” is an interesting if completely by-the-books slasher film.  Set in West Hollywood during the WeHoHalloween Festival (and actually shot during the 2001 Festival), the movie has all the boys, booze and bacchanalia one could want, instead of the usual T&A of the standard slasher flicks.  The film opens with the stereotypical horny couple making out in their car in the park when they are suddenly attacked by a scythe-wielding killer who decapitates them both and takes the heads as trophies.  The difference in this case is that the horny couple are both male.  We next meet the film’s protagonist, Eddie (Dylan Fergus), who used to be a desk cop at the West Hollywood precinct but an eye injury prevented him from following in his father’s footsteps, as his sister Liz (Nina Landey) has, so he now fixes computers at the precinct.  The precinct captain (Wren T. Brown) decides to send Eddie out with flyers to warn folks about the murders which have taken place and it is while he is doing this that Eddie meets Jake (Bryan Kirkwood), who he will pursue throughout the film.  Being Halloween, Eddie meets up with his roommates/best friends, young Joey (Hank Harris) who is hoping to score that night with a crush he met, Tobey (Matt Phillips), a male model who inadvisably decides to dress in drag for the night and Chaz (Andrew Levitas), the bi-sexual party animal who is just looking for some action.  The four of them, on the way to the festival, decide to visit the scene of the previous night’s murder and there they encounter the masked killer who is also dressed as the Devil.  Assuming he is just another reveler, they all four moon him and proceed on to the party, unaware that “The Devil” has an agenda with our four fellows. 

Going from party to party but keeping an eye on each other, the four hook up with various potential romantic interests and it is during one of these that the first murder occurs, as one of the friends was distracted by someone interesting and took off, leaving the other vulnerable.  This is probably one of the strengths of this film, that the characters are actually people you come to care about, whether you are gay or straight.  And when Eddie finally hooks up with Jake, he is just one more character to be worried about.

The murders are not all that graphic even though they are decapitations and there is nothing groundbreaking in the depiction of gay men behind closed doors or even out reveling in the wildness that is the West Hollywood Halloween Festival.  That might have made this film a bit more interesting instead of having it be just a different take on the tired old slasher clichés.  Sure, we see some of the guys kissing but that’s as far as anything sexual goes.  If the filmmakers had really wanted to be the first with something truly different, we would have seen more of what one sees in the typical slasher movie (T&A and simulated sex) only in this film, it would have been penises and ass with the simulated sex.

Dylan Fergus makes quite an impression as the cop-wannabe who really cares about his friends and Hank Harris as the “virginal” Joey was excellent.  Matt Phillips, in the ill-advised drag costume is actually quite funny, being so tall and macho and Andrew Levitas as the bi-sexual Chaz is really the only loose cannon in the bunch but even he can be brought back to earth if he senses trouble brewing for his friends.  The film is enigmatic in why this person is after these particular men and the ending definitely leaves room for a sequel, but what slasher movie hasn’t done that?  It’s something different in a sub-genre that needed a little shaking up but, unfortunately, no truly NEW ground was broken here.  Just make all the victims men and add colorful footage of an amazing Halloween festival.


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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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