Wednesday, May 16, 2012

City in Panic

City in Panic (1986)

Dir: Robert Bouvier

IMDB Rating: 3.6

Occasionally I end up ruining a film for myself by getting my hopes up, Today while searching for new films to add to my collection as well as something to review. I stumbled upon a film that had the headlines "Gay Slasher Flick". This immediately sparked my interest since you don't see many Homosexual themed horror films, especially not from the period in which this film was made (1980's). Now I myself am not Homosexual , But I have many gay friends I have gained over the last few years mostly due to working in an adult store and having gay co workers which I have gained friendships with and their partners. I have always wondered why we never see more Homo themed genre films? I mean Homosexuals in my eyes at least are just the same as anyone else and every other form ,shape, type of people seem to have films dedicated to them so why not Gays? Now I won't lie, when I saw the caption describing this film, I was hoping for something a bit campy and over the top fabulous. Unfortunately this film did not deliver on that but I kind of give the filmakers some credit for not making the Homosexual characters in this film the stereotypical Gay fare. So why does this film not live up to my expectations? Well, It is just kinda bland and boring and when I think of homosexuals , At least when it comes to my friends those two words never come to mind, Things like funny, Colorful and quirky do however and this film missed the mark on all of that in my opinion. So onto the film.

           The film is off to a good start as the first killing is a homage to the Psycho shower scene except it is a male victim and I thought that was kind of a cool twist and a neat way to open a slasher flick that is supposedly aimed to a homosexual audience.After that setting the tone we are off to a male strip joint where a popular Mustached performer named He-Man shakes what his mother gave him for all the cities horny old ladies. After he leaves for the evening he is run down by a mysterious van and slashed to death. City detectives are quickly on the case and they notice that the letter M has been carved on both victims bodies when found. After these two first opening segments I thought I had picked a winner because it was delivering all the campiness I had hoped for yet still managed to keep a serious tone. Sadly that all changes pretty quickly as the film grinds to a halt as we meet the films main characters. One being a talk radio host Dave Miller who is feuding with local news paper writer A flamboyant older man named Alex Ramsey. The two are constantly at each others throats in debate over the notorious "M" Killer. While these two takes stabs at each other verbally, M continues to Stab several innocent victims throughout the city.

As the bodies continue to pile up day by day , Miller decides to try and boost his ratings by calling out "M" to call his show. After some discussion with his friend Det.Farthing ,The police sit in on his show in hopes to trace a call. After some coaxing "M" does in fact call in and just utters the words "I am saving the people." before hanging up. The police are only able to track the number to a local mall where they find a security guard dead. The guards death was one of the films few highlights as he is offed in a very embarrassing manor involving a "Glory Hole". The detectives find that the victims all have something in common giving the murderer a motive as all of the victims except for one have been male and they have all been infected with the AIDS virus, Explaining perhaps what "M" meant by "Saving the people.".The Police quickly it up all nearby clinics to find who could be potential victims while other officers stakeout local Bars and Gay Bath Houses.The following night "M" calls into Millers show again this time warning him not to turn the city against him.This time the call is traced to a bar where the cops find Millers "enemy" Ramsey dead in an alley. However after investigating they find he in fact was not infected. This throws the investigation off a bit and they ask Miller to step away for now and allow them to take care of it themselves.

Following Ramsey's death Miller is put on protective watch while the Detectives continue to investigate and just as they find a list of AIDS patience they see who they believe will be the next in line, Ramsey's assistant Liz. Just as this development is brought to their attention, Miller receives a call from her while back at his place and he sneaks out to meet her. Liz and Miller have  a history as she was once his assistant and after she had lost her child during labor she resigned. During their meeting she reveals to Miller that she was infected by her deceased husband and that is why her child died. At this point she makes it abundantly clear that she hold quite a grudge over anyone who is infected and it appears she may be taking things too far. Miller is then attacked by Liz and now we know who is responsible for the killings even though they still try to make the viewer think it may be someone else despite how blatantly obvious it is at this point. After a brief game of Cat and Mouse Liz reveals she is in fact "M" and that the M stands for Michael, The name of her deceased child. The film wraps up stating that she had died of complications while in custody and Miller rants about the disease on his show as the credits roll.

So,I had never heard of this film prior to viewing it tonight and after finding it I did a bit of research on Homosexual Horror films and nowhere did they mention this flick. After watching it I can see why.The only thing I could find was a review calling this film Homophobic which to an extent I can understand as it does kind of portray the disease as mostly Gay oriented but, This film was made during the infancy of the virus so it can be looked past I feel. There were a few gay characters in the film and to the films credit , you would not know they were gay unless the film told you so it did not paint homosexuals as a freak show and played them straight for a lack of better words. I will admit I was kind of hoping the film would be a bit more offensive with it's gay cast and paint them more over the top just because it would make the film more entertaining because this film is really boring and it comes off more like a movie of the week than anything else. The lack of gore,Nudity and flat out entertainment makes this film forgettable on all counts, So it is no wonder I could find literally nothing about it online. The film has a few noteworthy scenes like the aforementioned shower scene and the Glory Hole killing as well as a male stripper named "He-Man" but the rest are just slow and plodding also the horribly flawed attempt to try and cover up the killers identity after blatantly making it so obvious was just sad. The only person I would ever recommend this film to is folks that enjoy the Lifetime channel , because that is kind of what I felt I was watching sitting through this flick.
When it comes to queer cinema I think I will stick to my "Ticked Off  Trannies With Knives". Thank you very much.It's too bad because I really feel this film had some promise with it's source material, it just never quite hit the marks it could have.

Fun Factor:3
Overall: 3 out of 10

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