Last Time : 51) Giordano Bruno (1548-1600), who was prevented from becoming a professor through the influence of 52) Cardinal Francisco del Monte (1549-1627), was himself embroiled in political machinations as part of the same spy-ring as 53) Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) and 54) Anthony Bacon (1558-1601). Marlowe, the alleged real writer of Shakespeare’s plays, wrote a play which influenced Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus”, a form of revenge play that developed into the modern slasher film, the first gay example being written by 55) Paul Etheredge.
When 55) Paul Etheredge (also known as Paul Etheredge-Ouzts) was
approached by film producers to write and direct a slasher film about and for
gay men. He hadn’t written or directed a film before. Pal came up with a film
that was very typical of the genre, with the stock characters and plot, though
with gay victims and murderer. However, the most difficult part of the process
was coming up with a title. His solution was to organise an online contest to
let the public suggest a title.
Some of the suggested
titles were truly awful! “A Fagulously Bloody Night Out” is particularly awful
and sounds like something I’d come up with as a title for one of my articles!
Paul decided on the simple title “Hellbent”.
“Hellbent” was released in
2004 and was shown on the lgbt film circuit before going on general release in
2005. It was well received by its intended audience, but mainstream audiences
weren’t quite ready for a fully gay-themed slasher film where the last survivor
was gay. It probably did well with lgbt audiences because of an unconscious
link to a previous slasher film written by another gay man, “Clive Barker’s
Clive Barker (b.1952)
is one of the greatest masters of horror in our time. He is a leading exponent
of the literary version of the slasher film called splatterpunk. The
“Hellraiser” film franchise grew out of Clive’s 1986 novel “The Hellbound
Heart”. Made on a relatively small budget “Clive Barker’s Hellraiser” realised
his words with remarkable effect, giving it a cult status before it was
acknowledged by other as a classic of the genre. The film owes more to the
Grand Guignol legacy than the established splatter/slasher film format.
Grand Guignol was a form
of theatre pioneered in France in the 19th century in which graphic
horror and gore was the centrepiece. Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus”, as
performed by The Globe company recently, was firmly created in the Grand
Guignol style. Clive Barker wrote several plays in the Grand Guignol style in
his early years.
The slasher/splatter film
can be regarded as a sort of parody of the Grand Guignol, and the genre itself
has found success in parodying itself (e.g. in the “Scream” series). The genre
is easy to parody and sometimes film makers don’t know the difference.
One case in mind is the
1982 slasher film “The Slumber Party Massacre”. Deliberately written as a
parody its producers made it as a serious film, with the inevitable consequence
that it was unintentionally funny and helped to create the clichés that slasher
parodies would later exploit.
The screenwriter of “The
Slumber Party massacre” was 57) Rita Mae
Brown (b.1944), a writer better known for her more serious novels and her
activism. The original script for “Slumber Party” was written in the mid 1970s
under the title “Sleepless Nights”, one of two screenplays Rita Mae was
commissioned to write by the well-known film director Roger Corman. Neither
screenplay was filmed, but it was picked up in 1982 and made into the slasher
Rite Mae Brown’s most
famous work is her 1973 novel “Rubyfruit Jungle”, a lesbian that was quite
explicit for the time. Her most prolific
output had been in the mystery novel genre. The slasher film she wrote was
released in between the publications of two of her other novels, the letter of
which was called “Sudden Death” and was set in the world of tennis.
Rita Mae is no stranger to
tennis. She played on her college team, and for the two years prior to writing
the final script for “The Slumber Party Massacre” she was in a relationship
with the great tennis star 58) Martina
We’ll have another
bloodbath in December near the end of our “80 Gays”, but before then we’ll
battle our way into space.