I’m not the type to get outraged by media often – I generally understand intellectually when people find things offensive, but I’m a ‘points for trying’ kind of guy, and even when something fails for me, I’m more often bored than I am angry. So when I say Remington and the Curse of the Zombadings sent me full Julius, I’m not fucking around. Right from the first scene, in which the eponymous Remington is cursed by a drag queen to turn gay on his 21st birthday, the movie finds a new way to disgust me with every plot twist. I assume it’s easy to understand why I might be bothered by my sexuality being presented as a curse; having it be a curse inflicted by a gay man is some well-meaning heterosexual bullshit, an attempt at queer revenge that only serves to make a gay man look like a predator trying to inflict his suffering on straight men. It also means we have a queer film that stars a straight man. If there’s one thing I fucking crave in my queer representation, it’s a heterosexual protagonist. Remington’s newfound queerness is presented through camp – Remington becomes obsessed with his appearance, starts doing the limp-wristed thing, and starts getting into hairdressing and fashion; I concede that, as a Filipino film, there are cultural ideas at play that I’m not familiar with (several famous Filipino drag queens cameo), but I grew up in a culture that conflated male queerness with camp, and I was driven further into the closet because it felt like I couldn’t be queer AND my weird, geeky, introverted self at the same time, so I tend to be sensitive towards stereotypes like that.
Remington is motivated on his quest by the desire to find his female love interest attractive again, so what we have is a queer film with no queer romance and one heterosexual romance, which more than anything is my biggest pet peeve in queer fiction. Like, my personal experience is queer characters who are effectively asexual and aromantic, which would be delightful if that’s what they labelled themselves as. Towards the end, one of the villains is killed by the ‘gaydar’, a gun targeting gay men, perpetuating the idea of extremely homophobic people being homosexual themselves, which, aside from relieving straight people of the responsibility of analysing their own behaviour that might perpetuate homophobia, is just really lazy bullshit. The final plot turn is the capper on all this bullshit: Remington’s homophobic, conservative father takes on the curse for him. That’s right, we’ve reached the point where we can accept attraction to men as a curse to be inflicted upon side characters. What a bunch of horseshit.