Saturday, December 28, 2019

We're All Princes With a Minute to Midnight

My tale of woe as a bullied put-upon gay boy in a small town is sadly scarcely rare -- cast your eyes from the purple mountains to the amber waves and we thrum in every school-yard, waiting for the moment we can escape to brighter lights within and outside ourselves. I became a terror in college the second somebody looked at me -- every repressed molecule of raging hormones exploding like a three alarm dance party. My hair was dyed every color you can imagine and I snorted and ingested every drug known to man woman and man-child at that. 

If any man with two legs -- and even that would have been negotiable had that opportunity arisen -- so much as looked at me I would abandon my new best friends before they'd blinked, tossed myself into the most dangerous pits of filth and depravity imaginable, and come to a day later smeared with who knows and no idea what county I'd crossed into. My walks of shame involved field trips, spelunking, dotted lines across antiquated maps frayed at their edges to find the buried treasure, long gone to seed, of my self-respect.

That is to say I, like many of my peers, went nuts after High School. All those years of being ignored -- or worse, looked at with disgust or pity -- sloughed off me like fireworks once those glances suddenly turned lustful, once I had an iota of cool boy cache. I milked the teat of newfound freedom, a load lightened and then some, by the fistful, squeezing it bone dry within the matter of twenty-four Mad Hatter months. I was probably often an asshole. but happily, exhaustedly, I managed to survive it, barely, enough psychosis in the rear view to know I'd rather not again, but thanks.

All of that came churning back while watching Midnight Kiss though, director Carter Smith's New Years Eve themed Slasher entry in Hulu's "Into the Dark" anthology series, which dropped on their service this week (watch the trailer here) -- those last few months of it, of dragging yourself through a week half-dead until the weekend, which seems to start earlier every week, shoots fire through your veins. Midnight Kiss focuses on a group of friends too old for it, the highlights becoming a headache, a glare in the eyes too bright, who're old enough and mature enough now to know they're just hurting each other; that their selfishness has a body count.

It might not be The Godfather Part II but as a Slasher Midnight Kiss is perfectly up to snuff, nasty-intentioned in the spirit of the genre's most classic tropes, and it's far better acted than most -- you very much buy these folks as real friends with real histories and not just an assemblage of actors who met each other a day before the camera got turned on. (The characters are also generally all kind of awful, but then isn't that too a part of the Slasher thing?)

The film's gorgeously shot by Smith & Co, including lots of appropriately horny gratuity for its gay milieu -- everybody takes a shower, or two -- and has a take-full-advantage attitude towards its hot sexy Real Estate Porn, as the Palm Springs house it's set at is car commercial prepped at every moment. Basically, it's full of nice stuff to stare at that's brutally interrupted here and there by horror movie nastiness, which is what we're even here for.

So no it's not precisely revolutionary cinema... but then it sort of is in its way. What's most important to me about Midnight Kiss is that I watched a movie that looked back at me and saw me and my experiences and shoveled them into a time-tested formula, one I enjoy, trashy or no, taking them as seriously as I've had to take the woes of awful straight kids trying to get laid since Ye Olde Time began. Getting to see ourselves, even at our worst, in every nook and cranny of entertainment, from Glossy French Lesbians In Period Costume to Pretty Boys Deep Throating Broken Champagne Bottles, is the gay rights I fight for.

1 comment:

Mike Johnson said...

"That looked at me and saw me." Beautifully put. Unlike Jason, I hate horror films, but am fascinated enough, I make my husband watch them for me. But this one spoke to me because of the take away quote from the review. And it IS well acted. Prew and Evans capture the toxic ex experience. And Prew makes for an extremely hot and shirtless "final girl." Really enjoyable all the way around.