This week in movies you missed: My search for entertaining summer schlock on Netflix Instant continues. Who could resist a title like this?
What You Missed
In 2007, writer-director-exec producer Jaymes Thompson brought the world this ultra-low-budget camp-stravaganza shot in Tucson, Ariz.
Five gay couples headed to the "biggest gay party weekend of the year" find themselves forced to lodge at a run-down B&B owned by creepily dolled-up Helen (Mari Marks) and her daughter, Luella (Georgia Jean).
Despite a rainbow flag flying in front of the B&B, there are early clues something's amiss. Such as the inn's name, Sahara Salvation. The mincemeat muffins Luella offers to guests. (One contains an earring.) The way Helen introduces Luella as "my very lovely and still single daughter." The fact that each room is stocked with five or so Bibles Sharpied with anti-gay messages. Oh, and the shrine to George W. Bush.
See, Helen's running the B&B as a lure for handsome gay fellows she hopes to "convert" (pictured) and marry off to her problem daughter. As for the rest of the guests — particularly the lipstick lesbians to whom Luella is more partial — they'll make nice fodder for the other offspring Helen keeps caged in her attic.
Why You Missed It
Why even ask?
Should You Keep Missing It?
The Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror has terrible reviews on Netflix, Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB. Like, rock bottom. So I'm surprised to admit I enjoyed it.
Sure, it starts out a perfect fit for "Mystery Science Theater 3000." The car-ride scenes introducing the five couples are way too long and horrendously dubbed and acted.
But, while it initially recalls Manos: The Hands of Fate, GB&BT gets more snappily written and paced as it goes. Yes, the film's inept use of blood, gore and a monster suit (apparently a sleeping bag) are a throwback to the drive-in cheapies of 1955. But most of the comedy is wholly intentional. Thompson seems to be aiming for John Waters crossed with Rocky Horror with a little gay soft porn thrown in.
As the psychotic innkeepers, Marks and Jean ham it up shamelessly, the latter trying not-half-badly to be the next Mink Stole. Poor Luella has divided loyalties: She's got an eye for the girl guests ("We can wear pretty clothes and braid each other's hair!" is her standard pickup line). But her deformed brother in the attic is so hungry.
Thompson has written subplots for all the couples and a long backstory for the innkeepers, revealed in flashbacks. (I especially liked the tasteless tale of Monster Manfred's origins.) The humor is hit-or-miss throughout, as is the acting. But at least there's plenty going on — enough to keep me watching to the end. And the flick lives up to its name, which is more than I can say for last week's disappointment, Elfie Hopkins: Cannibal Hunter.
Verdict: The Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror is scheduled to expire from Instant on August 1, so if you're feeling curious, now's your chance. Recommended for camp lovers only.
Next week: Let's see if I can find a horror movie that's actually scary.
In Theaters This Week
Hugh Jackman shows off his pecs again in The Wolverine. At the Roxy and Savoy, a loserish kid comes of age in the comedy The Way, Way Back; and just at the Roxy, Terence Stamp joins one of those trendy senior choirs in Unfinished Song.
On Video This Week
Three Movies You (probably) Missed: Starbuck, Trance (from Danny Boyle) and Ginger & Rosa, Sally Potter's '60s coming-of-age flick.