Featured Free Gay Movie: Hellbent


Every week I feature a full gay movie, usually something hard-to-find or unknown. It might be a short or a documentary or it might be arty porn! Whatever I want to share that week.

The movie will stream for only a week — no repeats — so check back often.

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Last night, Paul Etheredge’s unexpected gay slasher film easily entered my Notes on personal gay canon list over on Letterboxd and might even rank as one of my all-time favs. More than the convincing if prosaic depiction of gay nightlife on Halloween, replete with a leather shop, sex and drugs in toilets, and the straight, fag-stag buddy who’s all in for whatever his gays are up for, Hellbent impressed me with its resourceful and creative shots — low-angles, Dutch angles, color-filtered lighting, Texas switches — and most of all, its rapid montage-favoring, often elliptical editing.

Replay the final confrontation with the musclebound, scythe-wielding killer; the average shot length is no doubt only a couple seconds. Yet, along with the previously mentioned resourceful shooting, it exponentially manufactures tension within the film’s low-budget constraints. I had to check the date a couple times to remind myself this film was made in the Aughts, because it sure looked and felt like a horror film from the Freddy-inspired 80s, in the best way.

Similarly, the disorienting editing patterns on display when the fag stag gets slashed on a disco dancefloor by the killer, who moves in and out of the crowd like a swole shadow, look like a young Stan Brakhage could have cut them. The film shows off some convincing blood-effects also, with dark red, viscous liquid slathered on a lean torso and cut abs or pouring out of a severed neck.

The most famous actor onboard is Hank Harris, playing a smooth, jejune twink bound in lock and chains and with the hots for a slightly older, bearded dude in jock drag. Otherwise, if there are any well-known actors, I missed them. Since Hellbent came out, director Etheredge has done more as an art director than as anything else. I would have thought he would have done more writing; the dialogue between temporary couples in Hellbent reminds me of the best work from Chucho E. Quintero.

However these filmmakers ended up, Hellbent is long past due for, if not a sequel — we never find out who or what the killer really was — at least a deserved reappraisal.

Click here for a few reviews.

Let me know what you think in the comments and get a special gift when redirected.

Watch Hellbent. on Amazon. [#CommissionsEarned] The film gets 4.5 stars from viewers there and 5.6 from IMDb.

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