Sep 29, 2012

Hell Night

Almost every psycho-slasher movie features teenage girls in their underwear, or taking a shower, or having sex with full-nude backsides, while the teenage boys stay full-clothed, even during sex.  The opposite, fully-clothed girls and and nude boys, is vanishingly rare.

So Hell Night (1981) stands out as a non-heterosexist gem.  It's about some fraternity pledges, including Seth (Vincent Van Patten) and Jeff (Peter Barton), who have to spend the night in a haunted house occupied by a psycho-slasher. The girlfriends go along, too.

But the girls are fully clothed or hidden under the covers of the bed the whole time.  And Seth and Jeff spend about half the movie showering or dressed only in boxers.

But it's not just about the beefcake.  I could swear that Seth and Jeff were being presented a same-sex couple, in spite of some heterosexual dalliances.

1. When in danger, the two together as tightly as boy-girl couples in heterosexist flicks.

2. Jeff investigates a mysterious noise twice, once with girlfriend Marti (Linda Blair) clinging fearfully to his back, and then with Seth clinging to him in the exact same position.

3. Jeff escapes from the haunted house and runs into town.  When no one believes him he steals a gun, uses it to hijack a car, and rushes back to rescue -- not his girlfriend, who is already dead -- but boyfriend Seth.

4. They escape together and walk off into the sunrise together, a gay reversal of the standard "fade-out kiss."

Director Tom DeSimone got his start directing gay porn in the 1970s, so it is understandable that he might accentuate the beefcake and the bonding.