Slash and burn: Fire Island meets Freddy in ‘HellBent’

By |2018-01-16T10:02:46-05:00September 22nd, 2005|Entertainment|

Don’t you hate it when a psycho in a Satan mask hacks up everyone at your Halloween party?
That’s more or less the premise of “HellBent,” which touts itself as the first gay slasher flick. The film follows a group of handsome West Hollywood gay boys on their quest to have a good time at the famous annual Halloween Carnival. Their focus is on looking good, getting drunk, doing drugs and getting laid.
Unfortunately, the psycho in the Satan mask has other ideas – and a decapitation fetish.
But fleeing from a serial killer is a great way to meet new friends, as Eddie (Dylan Fergus) learns when he hooks up with Jake (Bryan Kirkwood), a hot motorcycle guy at the Carnival.
For fans of the slasher genre, “HellBent” doesn’t offer anything especially new, except it replaces the scantily-clad young women who seemed to dominate the victim demographic in the 80s with buff, shirtless gay boys. But the famous last words are still the same: “Hello? Anybody in here?”
When will they learn?
But that’s the joy of slasher films. The plot isn’t all that hard to figure out. You don’t have to be Nancy Drew to see who’s going to make it to the final credits. But you do have to like the thrill of getting startled. “HellBent” is the kind of flick you watch with friends so you can all collectively shout, “No! Don’t go in there!”
Though it’s clear “HellBent” was made on a low budget, its production is actually quite good, on par with slasher classics like “Halloween” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” – which isn’t surprising since it was co-produced by Joseph Wolf, who had a hand in both of those films. Think Fire Island meets Freddy.
The boys in “HellBent” aren’t the most complex of characters, but the film does a decent enough job of fleshing them out, no pun intended, that viewers care about whether or not they die. Not that anyone’s demise is particularly tearful, but it keeps viewers interested.
There are some holes and some leaps in logic that viewers need to fill in or forgive – like the way Eddie and Jake handle and react to their near-miss encounter with the masked killer – but “HellBent” is without pretense. It doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is: bloody, mindless fun.

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