Monday, February 4, 2008


CREATURES FROM THE PINK LAGOON, a 2006 spoof from director Chris Diani, comes as the world's first gay-oriented zombie film, and while it quickly becomes apparent that it's more concerned with eliciting mild chuckles from a homosexual audience than delivering the chills, it's still a fun little romp that never takes itself seriously.

Shot in black-and-white for a "vintage" look (though on video it simply comes across as looking cheap), the movie uses a gay soap opera backdrop as a group of friends gather for a birthday party (and like all good zombie flicks, they arm themselves with an African-American leader). What normally would play as mere melodrama--will birthday-boy Phillip realize his new boyfriend's nothing but a philandering jerk? Can sensitive Joseph overcome his shyness and reveal his true feelings for Phillip?--gets turned on its ear as the living dead descend upon the boys' beach house. (Diani and co-writer Basil Harris set themselves up with a needlessly complicated explanation for the zombies, a virus spread by contaminated mosquitoes which were mutated by the nearby Chemical Plant; it doesn't play much of a role in the story, but still feels awkward in getting the ball rolling.)

Don't expect too many homages to Fulci or Romero, zombie fans, since the film prefers to poke fun at the tropes of gay subculture--rest stops, show tunes, Judy Garland--though Diani throws in a smattering of gore near the film's end. The humor, while far from laugh-out-loud hilarious, is at least funnier than a WILL AND GRACE rerun, but it would've been nice to see the script go for more than the easy jokes.

Acting-wise the cast is likably average, with Phillip D. Clark standing out as a bitchy queen. Diani's direction is largely flat through most of the film, such as the zombies' dance number that never really generates much energy, though budgetary restrictions may have played a part; Diani does sneak in a couple of novel touches, like revealing what was in PULP FICTION's glowing briefcase, and (my favorite) the zombies' pink-tinted POV shots.

CREATURES FROM THE PINK LAGOON is breezily entertaining (oh, by the way, fellas, there's some fairly heavy man-on-man affection going on here, though if you're that uptight that you can't stand to see two bare-chested dudes making out you probably won't come within a mile of this) with an abbreviated running time so it doesn't wear out its welcome. It's a nice change of pace when you need a break from the usual throat-ripping and brain-munching--though do any of us really need a break from that?

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