Judge Brett Cullum discovers yet another hot spot to add to the 2008 GLBT road trip.
Boys in the Band meets Night of the Living Dead!
Creatures from the Pink Lagoon places the cast of the stage and screen classic Boys in the Band in to a groan worthy horror movie filmed in glorious black and white where zombies crash their fab party. Chris Diani seems to be the mastermind behind this intentionally campy send up of gay melodrama and "B" horror movies. He wrote, directed, edited, and produced the film which is his first feature. The lavender auteur from Seattle has turned in a broad comedic horror zombie flick equivalent to Shaun of the Dead remade by a Gay Pride Parade committee. It's totally silly, and should simply be viewed as a fun time that doesn't take itself seriously for a second.
In a small town circa 1967 several gay guys gather together to celebrate a friend's birthday. The sissy guest of honor Phillip (Nick Garrison) decides to party at his best friend Stan's (Lowell Deo) lake house. The guest list includes Stan's hunky-but-impulsive boyfriend Billy (Vincent Kovar), Billy's shy, nerdy cousin Joseph (Evan Mosher), and Randall (Philip D. Clarke), the chain-smoking, bitter queen of the bunch. The bad news is radioactive mosquitos have turned all the gay men at the local rest stop into flesh eating zombies thanks to a byproduct of the neighboring chemical plant. These zombies dance and preen before they chomp down on you, hate cheap cologne, and can be fought off with Judy Garland and show tunes. George Romero would be so proud.
Ariztical DVD gives the project a fully loaded disc complete with featurettes and a raucous group commentary. The best extra includes director Chris Diani and the cast talking over the film, and poking fun at what they've created. Everyone seems to come from a stage background in Seattle, and that makes sense since the first time director and author is involved with fringe gay theatre in the area. Also included is a short called "Zombie Pride" which was used as a promotional tool for Seattle's Pride 2004 celebration featuring star Nick Garrison in drag running from a zombie. Making of material is divided in six featurettes which cover the production in good detail. The original trailer and promotional stills cover the marketing aspect. Also on the disc are trailers promoting other indie gay films. The transfer looks nice though you will notice variances in film stock from scene to scene as the film was worked on over a long period of time. Also anytime we see shots from a zombie's perspective we get a pink and white treatment. The sound mix is simple and gets the job done. All in all this is a great package for the film.
The theatrical nature of the film may turn off viewers expecting a more serious horror outing. The pacing can be a little off as well, because it seems the script goes everywhere and offers an "everything and the kitchen sink" philosophy. It's hard to not love the film for it's sheer joy of "we're making a gay zombie movie," and that seems to overcome any of the shortcomings. But be aware this production was probably made for a buck and some change, and it looks like it.
Creatures from the Pink Lagoon is a theatrically minded romp that makes fun of Night of the Living Dead's low tech insanity. It certainly has more laughs up its sleeves, and a campy queer take on the zombie genre. If you love the idea of bitchy queens fighting off an army of the undead it's definitely worth a spin in the DVD player. Creatures from the Pink Lagoon is one of those films where you know the cast just had a great time coming up with goofy takes on the firmly established formulas of zombie horror movies and gay melodrama. If you were ever curious what would happen if zombies attacked a bitchy gay birthday party this is the film you need to turn to. The film is totally silly, charmingly goofy, and twisted just enough to be a really good time. Kudos should go out to Ariztical for offering a great DVD to compliment a film that wouldn't get even a bare bones release by most companies.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Ariztical Entertainment
• Cast and Crew Commentary
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