T.S. Slaughter's 'Skull & Bones' shocks
by David Alexander Nahmod
T.S. Slaughter's Skull & Bones may be the most politically incorrect gay film ever made. It's grim, sexually graphic (though not hardcore), violent as hell, and hilariously campy. You've never seen anything like it.
"Why do gay films always have to be so PC?" director Slaughter asked. "Why, after all these years, are filmmakers still giving us vapid coming out tales and unfunny romantic comedies? Why do we always have to be cute and cuddly like Will & Grace?" Slaughter, openly gay, is ready to kick some ass.
In Skull & Bones, Derrick Wolfe and Michael Burke play Nathan and Justin. They're impoverished college students in dreary New Haven, CT, where the film was shot. They're sex buddies and committed fans of zombie/slasher movies. While they roll under the sheets, posters from George Romero's Living Dead films stare down at them.
The boys are not happy campers. "School sucks, work sucks, life sucks," Nathan says bitterly. "Now, sex sucks, too. Sometimes I think that the only thing that turns me on is really twisted horror, and really mean revenge movies." Is Nathan speaking for the director?
"I'm a great horror fan," said Slaughter. "There's never been a gay horror film made by gays that makes gays seem sick and twisted."
As Skull & Bones unfolds, our anti-heroes kidnap a succession of rich, homophobic straight boys. Their victims are tied, beaten, drugged, sodomized and murdered as Nathan and Justin laugh maniacally. S&B's antics are ridiculously over-the-top.
"We police ourselves too much," said Slaughter. "As an artist, I don't want to be confined by PC necessity. We should have our own bad-ass heroes like Rambo, even if they're anti-heroes. I think there's a huge variety of gay people out there. We only see the best or the worst, nothing in-between. There's no ordinary people, no criminals. A lot is missing."
Slaughter professed to having a great fondness for George Romero's films, for Texas Chainsaw Massacre, for the Saw and Hostel series. In S&B, Slaughter pays homage to his favorite director. As the body count rises, Nathan and Justin decide it might be fun to bring one of their victims back as a walking-dead zombie sex-slave. "The film is horrific for the characters. But for the audience, it's quite humorous."
Reactions to the film have been as intense as the film itself. One viewer heralded its daring. Another said he had to "shower the filth off himself" after watching it. "Whatever," said Slaughter, with a shrug and a laugh.