This week, Comcast’s On Demand LGBT channel is having a free week in celebration of Pride Month. So, if you or your parents haven’t cut the cable for whatever reason, there’s a litany of free queer-themed content. For those who want life a bit more cerebral, there’s Cinema Conversations, a series of extended interviews with queer filmmakers, including Howard Deutch (Pretty in Pink) and Brian Trenchard-Smith (Ozploitation classic Dead End Drive-In, Leprechaun 3 and 4). It also includes an extended conversation with today’s director, David DeCoteau.
David DeCoteau began his career in the 80s and 90s directing hetero-themed exploitation films for Charles Band (Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, and Test Tube Teens From the Year 2000). Following his first queer-themed film, Leather Jacket Love Story, DeCoteau embarked on a new journey, forming Rapid Heart Pictures to create queer-tinged-but-actually-hetero B-horror films (The Brotherhood, The Frightening, and Voodoo Academy). In 2011, DeCoteau took a new turn with a split career. On one side was directing a bunch of Z-grade family films, perhaps most notoriously A Talking Cat?!?. On the other side is the infamous 1313 series, a collection of no-core non-explicit homoerotic “horror” films that seem to defy the definition of a film or even erotica.
The 1313 series is almost beyond definition. What starts out as a series of actual horror movies with lithe or muscular young males who strip to their tighty whities eventually (d)evolves into a deconstruction of horror movie tropes with only the bare minimum of plot holding together the scenes of pseudo-nudity. The revenge plotting of 1313: Actor Slash Model, where a rejected actor kills a bunch of models invited to a house for a “casting call” soon gives way to the hypnotically repetitious 1313: UFO Invasion, where a never-ending stream of guys walks into a house, goes to the pool, lifts weights, finds their way to the bedroom, are tied down in their underwear, and then are killed.
These movies are beyond comprehension. The early ones act almost like late night Skinemax features, only without any actual sex or human contact (give or take a quick shower attack). Giant Killer Bees! has many extended scenes of solo male nudity, including multiple shower scenes, and a very extended rubbing scene filmed partially through Bee-Vision. The late ones feel almost like Godardian experiments on the media, pushing the limits of non-narrative structure. Either way, they are not dynamic, explicit, nor entertainment.
1313: Giant Killer Bees! falls dead in the middle of both. A group of extremely hunky scientists are testing additives on a hive of honey bees to increase size and production. But, the bees become giant bees become killers, infecting the scientists who become bee zombies intent on spreading the bee zombie disease. Of course, this is punctuated by scenes of homoerotic underwear scenes. The first infection is after a bee watched a guy rub his body for like 5 minutes on his bed. There are frequent shower scenes. And, the infected are, apparently, only allowed to wear thin white boxer briefs. For a good period in the middle of the movie, there is almost no dialogue instead resorting to the male sexploitation to keep the time “passing.”
Like many of the 1313 movies, the subtitle is almost a cop out. Bigfoot Island is notorious for its severe lack of Bigfoot. Similarly, Giant Killer Bees! barely has any bees. There is a 10 minute montage of a guy walking around some cool old army station and a beach while very exciting music plays; it almost becomes an experiment of how much tension can you create using just the score. There’s even tense music playing while the guys take showers, reminding me of the opening airport sequence in High Anxiety. But, the bees are few and far between.
Anyways, there’s far better (read: more conventional) stuff in this preview, including Xenia (in the Beyond Borders section) about a gay boy and his brother trying to find their father and previous film on the internet, The Living End.
1313: Giant Killer Bees! streams on HereTV through Comcast OnDemand (free through June 19th).