Skinemax movies follow a formula: gather a group of buxom women and a couple men, isolate them, get the women naked as much as possible, pepper the movie with sex, and have the merest semblance of a plot to make it seem like you’re not watching pornography. Some movies are more clever than others; Jim Wynorski’s Cleavagefield is a bizarre masterpiece of sexual snark with the greatest cheap monster in ages; Wynorski’s Sexipede is not fun at all, with the script feeling even lazier than the filmmaking.
I found Dead Boyz Don’t Scream in the normal LGBTQ section at Scarecrow Video, and I knew I needed to see a queer horror film. I didn’t necessarily expect a good movie, but I also didn’t expect a not-really-homoerotic gender-flipped version of a Skinemax horror movie. Sure, the DVD cover has three muscle guys in their underwear, but so do like 2/3 of all gay male-oriented fiction DVDs. The first real sign that this was a borderline pornographic film was when the “These performers are 18 and we have their credentials on file” sign that comes up before each pornographic film. That’s when I knew this was something more than just queer horror.
Much like heteronormative breast-centric Skinemax movies, the plot of Dead Boyz is just an excuse to get the hot former Playgirl models isolated and naked in front of the camera as frequently as possible. There’s this very tight knit group of three male models who are usually hired for the same modeling gig together. They just finished a job posing for underwear when the photographer wants them to come to a dude ranch with her to model for her full frontal male cowboy “art” book. Though the men are reluctant to do dick pics, the book is supposed to be very arty and high profile, and that may mean better jobs.
After the underwear shoot, they go out partying with one of the model’s female friends just in from Toronto. She stays with the models and gets into an mmmf orgy which suddenly goes wrong, sending the girl into the bathroom and resulting in the death of one of the orgy guys. To keep the scandal on the DL, their agent (Monique Parent, The Witches of Breastwick) decides to send the boys to do the naked cowboy book until everything dies down. Now, the male models are isolated on a random location with an excuse for frequent nudity by posing with hats and guns from the discount rack at Walmart. Mission accomplished. Lots of flaccid penis ensues.
The only thing left is to service the plot, which is to kill all of the characters in fun and exciting ways. Since this is a horror movie, there is lots of naked slo-motion running…er…guys pretending to run in slow motion, shower scenes, and even synchronized hot tub gyrating by two blond Teutonic muscle dudes named the Pudls (Poodles). The one thing Dead Boyz is missing from its heternormative counterparts is the bad homosexual sex scenes. With the Wynorski films, there are usually at least two scenes of women having sex, normally ending in ecstatic scissoring. In Dead Boyz, the only sex we get is the orgy where the guys never touch each other. The closest we get to homosexual anything is a quick unerotic kiss between the Pudls just before they’re killed for their desires.
Dead Boyz Don’t Scream is the long lost bridge between David DeCoteau and Jim Wynorski. It borrows from 1313‘s homoerotic but not actually gay playbook with seemingly much plot repetition; and it borrows Wynorski’s snarky referential sense of humor (one guy, while being chased in his underwear by an ax-wielding maniac, is almost hit by the axe which only grazes his underwear enough to rip it off his gorgeous muscle bubble butt). This is exactly as entertaining, boring and fascinating as it sounds. The ending is predictable, highly problematic…but I’ve been quoting it all week. This movie is such trash, and you know if you’ll groove on it.