Deviance is probably not the gay themed horror film that the community wants right now. With our liberties in danger and the powers-that-be convinced that we are less than deserving of normal rights, a movie about a queer hustler and a possible homosexual serial killer is probably not the shining beacon of positivity that activists are looking for. Even in ordinary circumstances, writer-director James Hennigan’s dark look at perverted lust and unsavory life choices may have earned a raised glance or two. But art is not supposed to be politically correct or follow conscionable trends. Thus, this is an often brave and revealing piece of celluloid.
High school student Connor (Hennigan) is living with his drunk, abusive father (Greg Thompson) and his concerned sister (Tracey Allyn). When he is caught kissing another boy, he is thrown out of the house and takes to the streets. Meanwhile, the shy, sheltered Milton (Tim Torre) is under the sway of his extremely religious mother (Melissa B. Robinson). His obsession with a handsome jock soon takes a twisted turn, though, and, as a result, his family life is completely blown apart. Years later, Milton is still struggling with his violent impulses while Connor’s continued reliance on prostitution to make ends meet collides with a moment of murderous rage, as well. The two outsiders are eventually drawn together and, as the movie races to a close, only one may make it out alive.
Filled with strong performances and a look at homosexual sensuality that owes much to the grisly novels of alternative queer icon Dennis Cooper, Deviance also deals honestly with how bad parenting and the extreme tenets of hypocritical faith can destroy the souls of the young, no matter their orientation. Hennigan, Thompson, Allyn and Robinson shine in their various scenes, committing fully to their roles, whether sympathetic or not. But this is Torre’s show. He physically embodies all the awkwardness of Milton’s desires with a concise neediness and skilled precision. It’s a powerful, multi-leveled performance.
Hennigan, meanwhile, directs with a taut understanding of his two troubled protagonists. In a minor misstep, has take on the surprise ending is more in keeping with the slasher motif and seems at odds with the film’s layered and dramatic tension. But, if it means more films with Torre as Milton, then it is a forgivable offense. It is about time that we have a gay monster to march up the body strewn paths previously occupied by Michael, Freddy and Jason and this character just may be the one to do it.
Deviance is available for viewing on Amazon:
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!