NEW Indie gay comedy “THE GAYS” review with NYC film maker T.S. SLAUGHTER interview

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Producer Paul Serrano recently brought this movie to my attention, a quirky comedy about gay parents and their adventures with bringing up their two sons. It’s the second film by writer/director T.S. Slaughter.

ts-slaughter   (On the left, T.S. Slaughter)

Boy, this film was wild from start to finish. The film tells its story through flash backs, with one of the sons telling his story in a bar to a random stranger in the nineties. It’s Slaughter’s satirical take on television sitcoms from past decades. Rod Gay (Frank Holliday) and Bob Gay-Paris (Chris Tanner)  are like the “gay mentors you never had.” They raise their two children, Tommy (Flip Jorgensen) and Alex (Mike Russnak), to be the best homosexuals by giving them…intriguing lessons and advice to “empower the boys to bend the world over, lube it up, and snap one off!” Yes, you’ve heard correctly. What I enjoyed about the film was the John Waters feel it has. It’s campy, has memorable but crazy characters, and very raunchy humor. It’s really in your face.
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I can see it becoming a cult classic in twenty years. Now, there are some over the top gross scenes (like the birthing part, oh god). The film does get pornographic at a few parts, but if you like hot naked men (like I do) then you really won’t mind it. The words, “tranny” and “fag” are mentioned a couple times. It all depends on how you view those kinds of things. Other than that, it was a fun watch. I’m looking forward to Slaughter’s and the actors’ future projects.

What do you guys think?

I was lucky enough to interview T.S. Slaughter and ask him what the hell was going through his mind when he made this. What could have inspired him? How’d he select the right people for these parts?

Hyde: Something about the film seemed very John Waters-esque, which I liked. Is he an inspiration to you?

Slaughter: “Very much so. Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, and Desperate Living are among my favorite films of all time. He is the original gay badass of underground film. I especially admire his talent for coming up with memorable, quotable lines and really offbeat characters.”

Hyde: What kinds of things inspire you to make films about LGTBQ culture?

Slaughter: “I really object to the mainstreaming of LGBTQ people that is taking place in the US and Canada in recent years. We are not all warm and cuddly like you see in the media. Many LGBTQ people fought hard for the right to have anonymous sex in bathhouses and tea rooms, to be open about who they are and not ashamed of it, etc. In short: to be accepted as different from average str8s. Many LGBTQ folks feel that sleazy, “irresponsible” (from a middle-class str8 perspective) behavior should be celebrated, not sanitized out of us. That’s why you see such outrageous sights at gay pride parades everywhere: because LGBTQ folks really are different, and they want to celebrate that difference, warts and all.

Gay filmmaking, even indie filmmaking, has come under the same pressures as the rest of LGBTQ culture to be respectable. Well I’m not having it: No sappy coming out stories for me. No sentimental tales of love and tragic loss. I like to push buttons to remind viewers of all stripes that some of us still have an edge.”

Hyde: This movie is really outrageous. How did you come up with the concept for “The Gays,” after your 2007 horror comedy film “Skull & Bones”?

Slaughter: “Indie film-even LGBTQ indie film–has to be outrageous to get noticed, especially if you don’t have the connections to get into mainstream film festivals and a distribution deal with, say, TLA, Strand, or Wolfe. “Skull & Bones” relied on the horror genre (and a trailer that went viral) to get picked up by a Hollywood distributor. The added twists of the killers being gay, sexually predatory, and floridly anti-social sealed the deal!

“The Gays” started with my thinking about how different LGBTQ parents–good and bad parents, because both kinds are surely out there–could potentially be from str8 parents when raising children, now that the notion of gay marriage has become so commonplace. Would they promote the often questionable behavior some LGBTQ folks engage in to their children? Should they? How do you balance street smarts and cynicism with moral and ethical considerations when giving advice to kids? The film idea blossomed from these thoughts and questions.

I am also a huge fan of Bea Arthur, especially how she played Maude in the 70s TV show of that name, so I modeled the mom in “The Gays” on her and added a gender-bending twist. I modeled the dad on my own stern, cynical father.”

Hyde: I heard that the lead actors, Chris Tanner and Frank Holliday, have been well known artists in NYC for years. How did you get them to be in the film and why? 

Slaughter: “I put out a casting call in NYC and Frank answered it. He read for the father and I thought he would be great in the role. But I was having trouble getting anyone to play the mother. I had written the part with the gender-bending actor Alan Rowe Kelly in mind, but Alan wasn’t interested in being in the film. It was Frank who suggested I contact Chris Tanner because he thought Chris could play the mother. Chris came for an audition and I was simply amazed at his talent. Chris, in turn, suggested Mike Russnak as someone who might make a good older son, Alex. He was right! I am so thankful to everyone in the cast and crew for all their hard work, senses of humor, and most of all patience.”

Hyde: What kind of people do you look for to be a part of your movies? How does the process go?

Slaughter: “I seek actors who have few inhibitions: people who can laugh at themselves, at the absurdity of human existence, and especially at the absurdity and banality of middle-class values. Sasha Baron Cohen has been a huge inspiration to me because that is exactly the sort of person he is when he acts, most especially in the hilarious role he created for his comedy “Bruno.”

The process is straightforward: I put out a casting call on various actors’ websites describing the film and the roles needed to be filled. When people respond I send them sides (i.e., the lines they will be speaking and the stage directions) to prepare. Then I hold auditions by having actors read their parts opposite me. I also have the auditions filmed to see how the actors look on camera. That’s important because many who audition have only done theater–not film–before, and film is a really different medium with different requirements from actors.”

Hyde: Can you give us a hint about what your next project might be about?

Slaughter: “I don’t want to say too much, but the most promising current ideas concern (1) a sadistic, closeted drill sergeant or (2) a bullied gay teen who exacts revenge on his tormentors.”

–T.S. Slaughter

I enjoyed interviewing him and it was great to know we shared similar views on things such as how LGTBQ people are portrayed in the mainstream media. If you are curious and want to buy or rent “The Gays,” here is where you can get it. (all photos are from the official site)

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   Support independent film makers!!!!!

September Kirameki magazine out now! New Etsy store possibly? and Cyberpunk artwork

The newest issue of Kirameki came out yesterday finally and my movie article was featured.
photo 1               I’m so excited. Hopefully I’ll get to work with Kirameki more in the future. Maybe their next issue… You can buy a copy here. I seriously recommend it. They specialize in all aspects of alternative culture.

Since I’ve had quite a few requests to open an Etsy, I’m seriously considering it. How do you guys feel about Etsy? Should I open a store? I’d be selling artwork and jewelry mostly, like what I have posted around here. Here’s a new necklace I made that I’m planning sell.
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If anybody is interested let me know!

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My current obsession is Cyberpunk. So I painted a robot girl ripping her skin off to reveal her true identity. I really dig how it turned out.

I’ve never had this many lively things happen to me. Hopefully the fun doesn’t stop here. Stay groovy everyone.

Witchy movies!

     Since Halloween is approaching, it’s the perfect time for bizarre movies. One of my favorite genres of films are the ones relating to witches and witchcraft, but not your typical “Blair Witch project” stuff and certainly no Harry Potter. This list includes a variety of witch films and not just the terrifying ones you would expect.

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1. The Craft (1996)
           
           I know this a popular cult film, but I couldn’t resist it since it’s a classic. It begins with a teen that moves to a new school and encounters three witches. She becomes the binding power to help them achieve a whole new level of witchcraft. Of course the more powerful they become the quicker their spells go from innocent to horrific, causing a few deaths along the way. 
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2.  Suspiria (1977)

        Arguably one of the best well made films for its time and an A+ cult classic, Suspiria follows the story of a young woman named Suzy that goes to a prestigious dance academy and finds out its run by witches. With its vibrant color scheme, suspense around every corner, and a creepy soundtrack from Goblin, no wonder it’s received such good ratings. The gore factor can come off cheesy but the deaths are creative which makes up for it I believe considering it has been almost forty years.

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3.  Kiki’s Delivery Service (1988)

           Studio Ghibli makes some of the best animation films ever. This one is a golden one. It’s tells the story of a girl named Kiki that leaves home with her black cat to train to become a witch on her own. After some training, she gains certain powers but loses them when she starts to become depressed. She learns that if she finds her purpose she will gain them again. It’s a beautiful film and it deals with the themes of transitioning into adulthood and dealing with adolescence.

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4. Practical Magic (1998)

         A mixture of dark comedy and romance, this film goes into depth about two sisters (Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman) that belong in a long line of witches. A terrible curse follows the women of the family which makes any man that falls in love with them die tragically. They try to find ways around the curse and accidentally kill one of their boyfriends. His vengeful spirit comes back to terrorize them. It is slightly scarier than what I anticipated at first. 

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5. The Woods (2006)
        
            Set in the mid-sixties after a rebellious teen is sent to an all girl school, she slowly discovers the dark past behind it and finds out she has a special “gift” of her own. Ridiculed by her class mates while dealing with the supernatural force that has taken over the school, she finds out that centuries ago a few girls accused of dabbling in witchcraft were killed and their spirits haunt the woods that surround the school. The build up of suspense throughout the film is great and Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead) co-stars in it.

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