Male Rape – A Vanishing Taboo?

Rape, despite its disgusting and revolting essence, has a strong place within the the storylines of the horror genre. It (usually) adds depth to tormented final girls, it acts as a catalyst for tales or revenge, and will normally be present on any “Favorite Exploitation” list out there. This is perhaps not surprising, as horror is meant to disturb and frighten us. It’s as common as any other real world terror in fact; the loss of a child or spouse, the loss of mental faculties, the pitfalls of falling in love with the wrong person, and even just the random acts of violence (like rape) that happen day in and day out.

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As how I suspect most genre fans may feel, I often find myself in the middle ground when it comes to the display of rape in film. For some, I definitely think it drives the stories and motivations of characters, like in The Last House on the Left, Straw Dogs, or Eye for an Eye. In others, it just seems to be there for no other reason than shock value, like Eli Roth’s Aftershocks or Rob Zombie’s Halloween. And time and time again, it’s inclusion will divide audiences into “that was needed” and “that was unneeded” oppositions.

This intro though is not meant to debate the presence of rape in genre films, but instead to act as a lead-in to discuss an even smaller facet of the plot point: male rape.

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Undoubtedly, everyone will quickly recall the most obvious and popular example of this: Deliverance. I saw the movie myself at a young age, after my mother explained to me what I would see if I watched it, and was strangely captivated. Men are just as much victims of being slashed and possessed in horror films as women are, but still rare is the notion, much less the portrayal, of a man being raped. I could go on about the reasonings behind this, from the fact that males are most often the aggressors of sexual violence to the fact that even male-on-male rape is seen as “gay” and thus discouraged in mainstream Hollywood. But instead, I’d rather take a look at the other cinematic examples of this ordeal, and bring up their merits, if any.

Let’s first get into a cliché of male rape; ‘The Redneck Male Rapist’. Like in Deliverance, there have been several instances of men who come from some backwoods culture becoming the aggressors of other men through both physical and sexual violence. How this even become a trope, who knows? I can only imagine it’s because there’s the base cliché about anyone from the rural reaches of the world being uneducated heathens who lack the same cultural constraints those from the cities and towns possess. But the presence is notable (albeit, mostly in comedies) and continues to survive in film.

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Several years ago, the hit show The Walking Dead brought this trope to life on our TV screens and to mainstream audiences. It occurred in season 3, when Rick, Carl, and Michonne randomly come across the group of men that a lost Daryl has been traveling with. The encounter quickly escalates… to murder and threats of rape. As expected, Michonne is a target of this latter threat, but then, unexpectedly to many, so is Carl. The men threaten to make Rick watch as they rape his own son! It was a disturbing bit of dialogue, made even more repulsive by the heavyset, dirty lunkhead holding Carl by the neck, but I felt it did help strengthen the idea that the apocalyptic world TWD exists in is one of extreme brutality and disturbing inhibition. The show never explicitly states that these men are backwoods hillbillies, but it’s not a hard stretch when you consider TWD‘s mythology includes the destruction of major cities and towns early on, leaving mostly rural survivors roaming the zombie-infested backroads. (As expected, this implication did NOT go over well with Rick Grimes.)

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An even more recent example, we had the low-key thriller Catch Hell. Ryan Phillipe, still hunky and fine as ever, plays mid-grade Hollywood star Reagan, set to film a movie down in the deep South. However, it turns out a pair of backwoods boys have different plans in store for him. At first, those plans just include kidnapping, blackmail, and a few “stay in line” beatings, but then start turning more complex when the dimwitted half of the duo begins to “enjoy” the actor’s company. At first, it’s just some awkward idolization, but eventually Reagan is drugged and nearly raped by his redneck fan.

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Another trope about male rape is when it’s used in a revenge scenario. The Rosario Dawson rape-revenge thriller Descent is a popular example, in which her character (having been raped earlier in the film) gets her final vengeance by convincing a large male acquaintance to enact the same crime upon her rapist. The indie horror Torched also utilizes this device, among many brutal others.

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Straightheads, aka Closure, starring the amazing Gillian Anderson, also tackles this idea of revenge, but instead of using another male as her weapon after being raped, Anderson’s character uses the barrel of a rifle to rape her rapist. A few of the I Spit on Your Grave films also make use of this form of retaliatory rape through use of inanimate objects.

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Another facet of fictional male-on-male rape sadly comes from the more common instance we hear on the news or through true crime media; adult predation upon younger males. Extending the reach of genre films to include crime thrillers and dark dramas, you’ll find a long list of films that include this plot point: The somewhat-true crime story of Sleepers is a notable example. In it, several young boys are victims of constant sexual assault during their time at a reform school. Years later, some of them have become hardened criminals who happen to get their chance for revenge. Gregg Araki’s Mysterious Skin also tackles the subject, and gives us two male characters who respond and grow from their sexual attacks in very different ways.

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In a broad context, it’s interesting to see the ways in which the rape of males differentiates from the rape of females within genre films. Women are most often the victims of the rape, who use it as a jumping off point for their character’s just and vengeful true selves. Their rapes are also very violent and prominent within the film. Male rape however often seems to come back as a form of punishment, and the depictions of it are usually shown off-screen in a strange version of sexism and decency. A disturbed part of me wonders if in the future the inclusion of male rape will reach the levels that female rape depictions have now, in which they’re strangely common in films that don’t really need to include them. But a hopeful part of me is looking forward to a film future where rape in general is only handled proficiently and with purpose, rather than just an intent to be extreme (ahem, Payton Collins: Serial Rapist).

NOTES* – I purposefully left out examples of prison rape in film, as they are fairly common but serve a different function outside the horror, suspense, thriller, and dark drama genres. I also did not include several popular indie films, since I wanted to discuss more mainstream attitudes toward cinematic male rape. Lastly, I am aware of many other foreign films featuring this plot device, but did not include them either, as frank sexuality and all that comes with it is still lacking broad acceptance with American audiences.

The Perverted Shorts of Armando Munoz

Eek Entertainment is the production company birthed by the wonderfully sick, twisted, and perverse (these are compliments) Armando Munoz. Mainly creating short films of varying lengths, he pushes the boundaries in almost every second of every scene. You will be uncomfortable. You will hate that you keep watching. And you will grin like a dummy the entire time.

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The Killer Krapper

Imagine, if you will, a low-budget John Watersesque short about a possessed toilet. One that gets a taste for blood. And… um… that’s it. That’s what the 8 minute short is. Not really anything that vibes with me, but it’s played plenty of festivals and even won some awards, so the audience for Killer Krappers exist!

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Pervula

A foam-faced Nosferatu stalks a woman at night, but he’s after more than blood. He’s there to tantalize, torment, disgust, and pervert her very soul! This black-and-white short stylistically reminds us of a time lost to the horror genre, but is no less funny and vulgar than any other of Munoz’s films. As I watched, a smirk crossed my face with each gag… and then I stopped smirking when I found myself eerily unnerved by the short, proving even a comedic horror-inspired short can be effective in the middle of the night.

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The Terrible Old Tran

Probably my favorite of all of Munoz’s shorts, which isn’t surprising since the Lort knows I love it when bad, pervy things happen to men. This story follows three burglars who intend on robbing the home of a man who may or may not have a tentacle cock. A very 80’s midnight movie vibe with this one!

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Panty Kill

A very Halloween-ish slasher short about a killer with a panty-covered face. The perv, at first, just seemingly wants to be a freak and rip up some chicks undies, but turns out he’s just as bloodthirsty as any other slasher. Oh, also, he has a nice cock. That’s a part of the story. Because of course it is.

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Mime After Midnight

A woman misses her night bus home and then encounters a strange mime on the sidewalk. At first she indulges him, but when the mime takes her insults to heart, the short quickly dips its toes into comedic slasher territory. Fans of the love it/hate it VHS Viral segment, Dante the Great, will love this kooky horror tale.

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Munoz is definitely a perverted filmmaker, but a talented one as well. Through gags and gross-outs, he creates visual art, and that’s so important in a genre climate when many people delve into the industry merely to make a quick buck, or forget that they are artists first before filmmakers.

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Right now these shorts can be caught at selected festivals, and you can keep up with Munoz at http://eekentertainment.blogspot.com/ and at http://www.eekentertainment.com/.

Horror Hunks Who Should Have Lived – pt 3!

There’s nothing worse than the death of a hard, hunky man, but sadly, in the horror realm, it’s an often occurrence. So let’s wander down memory lane together and remind ourselves of the hotties we’ve lost along the way.

NovakPiranha 3D: Adam Scott played a hunky nerd in Piranha, not a stretch as he’s played the cliché before, but it didn’t make his last minute exit any less unfortunate. And let’s face it, the shitty sequel Piranha 3DD could’ve used him to have some sort of saving grace.

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Roger – Dawn of the Dead: Easy going, zombie apocalypse survivor Roger was part of a good team, but the world of the dead is a dangerous one. One little love bite on the leg sealed his fate, but even once those cards were dealt, Roger handled his situation like a real man, making us care for him all the more once he finally succumbed to the disease of the dead.

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Captain SpekeWorld War Z: You’d be forgiven for not remembering him, but remembering the ‘body count’ hotties of horror movies is something I happen to excel at. And this bearded military stud is a great example of just how casually wasteful the genre is with its men.

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Tommy RossCarrie: Oh, Tommy; the shaggy blonde with a good heart. Sue was lucky enough to have found such a guy in high school, because lord knows we all just found the losers, but his fate was sealed once he asked Carrie to prom. His death was not only sad, but surprising too when you consider what a great guy he’d been.

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MichaelDawn of the Dead 2004: Well, it seems I unintentionally wound up with a lot of zombie bitten hunks this time around, but hey. Who’s complaining? Michael was daddy af and was a crazy perfect combo of brave, protective, capable, and smart.

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Tom & TommyNight of the Living Dead 1968 & 1990: I can’t include one without adding the other, because honestly both incarnations were equally cute in the boy next door way. Black and White Tom was soft-spoken, rational, and had good arms, and In Color Tommy was an adorable, yet dumb, redneck. Too bad they both wound up crispy snacks for the living dead!

Eric – Evil Dead: Curiosity killed the cute nerdy type who decided to read from the Necronomicon. And damn, it killed him hard. Poor Eric seemed hellbent on surviving the ordeal there in the woods, but a hunk can only loose so much blood!

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So there’s the third crop of dead hotties folks, and trust, I’ve already got another batch ready for another future post. Til then, shoot me you own favorite lost men of horror! Maybe they’ll be in a future memorial post!

 

Happy Anniversary- Simon Graves

Just two posts back, I mentioned a couple of short fiction tales I’d come across, both within the gay horror/queer fear subgenre. One was Happy Anniversary, a story by author Simon Graves, and it proved to be an eerie little shocker. Think a gay-orientated episode of The Twilight Zone!

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Flash forward to just now, and Simon has announced he’s set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to bring this short story to life as a short film. Here’s a bit from his release to explain further:

“Hello, my name is Simon, and I’m a gay writer who needs your help to turn one of my short stories into a short film. This project means a lot to me personally and professionally.

Happy Anniversary tells the tale of a relationship that has been on the rocks for some time. Convinced his boyfriend is being unfaithful, Bo follows Elliot one night to get the answers he needs even if the truth might be more than he can bear. 

The story has been adapted to a short script with the help of David Gregory (Powder Burns, OLTL), and our script recently won for Best Screenplay at Outlantacon ‘s Film Fest! The next step is bringing the story to the screen. That’s where I need your help. After talking to a few production companies, we arrived at a modest budget to cover cast, crew, locations, etc. Currently I have half the money saved up but need help raising the other half. All funds raised will go toward production costs and creating the best short film we can!”

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Some thank yous for contributions include crediting, HD copies of the film upon completion, and you can even become a character in one of Simon’s next works! However, the real reward will be the mere presence of MORE queer fear narratives out there, championing for our place within the horror genre! 

You can read the original short story here Happy Anniversary – Amazon (free for Kindle Unlimited users!) or buy the audible short (which is how I took in the story) and, if you believe this could be a great project, head on over to the funding page: https://www.gofundme.com/29f09dg

Horror Eleganza – Rodarte: Psychological Fashion and Horror

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Rodarte is a fashion brand that make strike a note of familiarity with horror fans because of their involvement and collaboration with the costume design for the psychological thriller, Black Swan. However, the brand has hit notes of horror a few times before, including looks inspired by classic Gothic aesthetics and even modern J-Horror.

Upcoming from the sisters who head the brand, is not even fashion (though I doubt that ever stops anyway), but a film instead. Another psychological thriller entitled Woodshock, with Kirsten Dunst.

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Not too much is known about the film, but the plot-line involves a “woman who falls deeper into paranoia after taking a deadly drug.” The film is slated for a 2017 release.

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A Few Tales of Queer Fear

First off, sorry for the super light posting status that has continued on since last winter. Life threw me and the fiance several curveballs and, until recently, we’ve been playing catch up with everything. Thankfully, things are mellowing out for us and we’re getting back into the groove of… basic living?

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Anywho, I’ve got two tales to mention, from a couple of gay horror authors that I’ve had the pleasure of reading before; Boys, Bears, & Scares runner Daniel Kelly and hunky author Simon Graves!

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The Walking Dead Has An Issue With It’s Queer Characters…

I waited until the finale to write this post, despite drafting most of it after this season’s Twice As Far, in which we saw Tara’s girlfriend and genuinely interesting secondary character, Denise, take an arrow through the head. I waited because I wanted to give the last two episodes, and the writers of the show, a chance to make this death worth something more than just another tally on the body count list.

They failed. So hard.

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