Every month in Horror Queers, Joe and Hint deal with a horror movie with LGBTQ+ themes, a excessive camp quotient or each. For lifelong queer horror followers like us, there’s as a lot worth in critical discussions about illustration as there is in studying a ridiculously foolish/enjoyable horror movie with a YAS KWEEN mentality. Simply know that at no level will we be getting Babashook.
As two homosexual males, we’ve opted to make use of the moniker “Horror Queers” for this collection of articles. It is a phrase that has a sophisticated historical past as a consequence of its derogatory use by bullies and hateful individuals, however has more and more been adopted as a time period of empowerment and a unifying time period that acknowledges the many complicated identities that make up the LGBTIQQ group. Queer has turn out to be commonplace in academia, politics and popular culture over the previous three many years. We perceive and acknowledge that the time period is nonetheless very hurtful for some individuals, however we consider that the extra those that proudly reclaim it, the extra the wounds and stigma surrounding the time period are decreased. Utilizing the phrase “queer” is intensely private, nevertheless it is a choice that we’re dedicated to. Please don’t be an asshole when utilizing it and we’ll get alongside superb.
***SPOILERS for Killer Condom to comply with.***
Synopsis for Killer Condom: Detective Luigi Mackeroni (Udo Samel) investigates a collection of weird assaults at the Lodge Quickie during which male visitors have their penises bitten off. Enlisting the assist of intercourse employee Billy (Marc Richter) and dodging the advances of former colleague and sexual companion Babette/Bob (Leonard Lansink), Mackeroni should cease the rash of condom assaults, but in addition face his true emotions in the direction of Billy.
Queer Facet: The movie is unabashedly set in the world of intercourse work, Mackeroni is an out and proud homosexual protagonist and the villain is a spiritual hypocrite on a vendetta towards “deviant” queer tradition.
Joe, once I noticed that you simply picked yet one more Troma movie only one month after forcing me to observe Rabid Grannies, I assumed you have been a sadist. In any case, who would submit somebody to that rubbish but once more after that they had already informed you that it wasn’t for them?
Think about my shock when I discovered Killer Condom to be….fairly good? I’m simply as shocked as I’m positive our readers can be, as I’m pretty sure that none of them have seen this film. Martin Walz’s noir spoof is crammed to the brim with raunchy humor, well timed social & political commentary and a few not-so-great-but-still-passable-and-somehow-hilarious creature results. To say it’s quite a bit higher than I anticipated can be a extreme understatement. Now I’m going to should spend the remainder of my life making an attempt to persuade others that a 1996 queer Troma movie referred to as Killer Condom is value their time. Thanks, Joe!
Based mostly on Ralf Konig’s comedian guide Kondom des Grauens (“The Killer Condom”) and its sequel Bis auf die Knochen (“Down to the Bones”), Killer Condom is self-aware with out bashing you over the head with its meta-ness. This is a film that is aware of precisely what it’s making an attempt to be and, for the most half, it succeeds. From the movie’s opening scene, which sees a lady scream so loud that a gust of wind blows in the face of the man standing throughout from her, to the big shadow projected on Billy’s face by Mackeroni’s 32cm cock (that’s 12.787402” for these of us who don’t use the metric system), Killer Condom is amusing riot from starting to finish. It’s astounding that a film like this was made in 1996, even when it was a Troma movie (although to be clear: it isn’t a Troma manufacturing, they only distributed it), because it is very, very homosexual.
First, let’s speak about that condom. The condom itself is a captivating beast. Designed by H.R. Giger (sure, that H.R. Giger), it is a sentient creature made by combining the DNA of a worm, a jellyfish and a piranha. It has a thoughts of its personal and even makes these lovable little squeaky noises that permit it to emote (“That was the rubber. It hissed at us and ran away,” one character says). Walz even works in an Alien homage with a scene harking back to the Facehugger dissection. Oh! And what about CONDOM VISION?! This technical feat is achieved by (I’m assuming) stretching some latex over the digital camera lens. When the condom isn’t baring its fangs (due to course, it has fangs), it’s truly kind of cute! It has a character that makes it considered one of the extra memorable film monsters of the ‘90s, alongside the monster in The Relic and the graboids in Tremors.
There is a shocking quantity of insightful social and political commentary in Killer Condom. It someway manages to concurrently incorporate the AIDS disaster, the homosexual rights motion and the #MeToo motion. That’s not one thing I used to be anticipating from a movie referred to as Killer Condom. A whole paper could possibly be written about the ending alone, which reveals that the mastermind behind the killer condom epidemic is a spiritual physician (Iris Berben) hellbent on wiping out all of the homosexuals and prostitutes. There’s additionally the undeniable fact that the police don’t ever look into the killer condoms as a result of they’re solely attacking “queers and hookers”, which makes it an apt metaphor for the AIDS disaster of the ‘80s. Mackeroni’s pro-love monologue that ends the movie is a bit heavy-handed and on-the-nose, however the constructive message is there.
The movie even works in at present’s #MeToo local weather, with the police mechanically assuming that the ladies who have been with the males whose penises have been bitten off are the culprits. If it was only one lady it will make sense, however the NYPD simply goes off of the assumption that there is some castration epidemic afflicting all of those ladies at the Lodge Quickie. Sure, the mere concept of a killer condom is ridiculous, however the film will get its level throughout courtesy of a totally inept police pressure (this may be a commentary on the 1996-era NYPD). Why are none of those ladies believed? Phyllis, the woman in the opening scene, is not a hooker, but the police nonetheless don’t consider her. If something, Killer Condom could also be much more related in the present day than it was in 1996.
Additionally fascinating is how the movie performs into the male worry of the condom. Increasingly more pornography web sites are dabbling in bareback (i.e., condomless) scenes as a result of the mere sight of a condom supposedly pulls viewers out of the scene (for me, the non-porn equal is when a telephone quantity in a movie begins with 555…it pulls me proper out of no matter film I’m watching, however I digress). Whereas discussing Killer Condom of their 2005 e-book “Culture and the Condom”, Karen Anijar and Thuy DaoJensen state:
“The fear of castration may just as well apply to condoms that supposedly protect the penis. Some men may find the condom emasculating; they are opposed to using one either because it disrupts the spontaneity of foreplay or it decreases male pleasure. In any of these cases, the sexual acts could be either homosexual or heterosexual, since the threat of castration is tacitly embedded in the social construction of masculinity.”
It does appear that Killer Condom is tackling these stigmas head-on, however I don’t need to get too deep into the themes of the movie earlier than you possibly can chime in, Joe. So what did you consider Killer Condom? Did you discover as a lot to admire about it as I did? Why does everybody in the movie’s model of New York Metropolis converse German? For that matter, why (how?) is there a German information broadcast in New York Metropolis? Do you want agency male asses or pissflaps? And eventually, what can a person do in New York if he’s lonely and doesn’t have his dick?
Hint, it’s in all probability essential to notice that these ultimate two questions are particular dialogue references and never simply you getting cheeky with me (although clearly my solutions are: agency and go see a Broadway present).
Simply to backtrack just a little, I need to give credit score to Patrick Hamilton and Brennan Klein (of Kill By Kill and Scream 101 podcasts, respectively) for this choice as a result of once I listened to their dialogue of this movie, I used to be so gobsmacked by the premise of the movie that I instantly knew I needed us to test it out. Every part about it, from the premise to the “New York in name only” (and German all the things else) to the savage political satire combined with the offensive, outdated homosexual tropes is so completely bizarre and enjoyable. This film truthfully have to be seen to be believed!
Such as you, I loved Killer Condom excess of I anticipated to. The humour is surprisingly witty and simply on the proper aspect of crude (what can I say, I’m a sucker for a great sight gag; between the penis shadow and the elevator-breaking sexcapades, I used to be bought). The critique of the police and the politics of prioritizing excessive profile instances whereas concurrently diminishing or disregarding the lives of at-risk peoples (LGBTQ group and intercourse staff) is, as you identified, sadly nonetheless very well timed.
We should always not, nevertheless, disregard that the movie has its share of issues. The bizarre “everything in German except the setting” could make for an odd disconnect at occasions (although it might be learn as a comedic takedown of what number of movies are set in NY and filmed elsewhere). For me, although, the largest problem in the movie is the method that former police colleague Bob Miller, now Babette (Leonard Lansink), is dealt with.
Early in the movie, it comes out that Mackeroni and Babette have been an merchandise. The expertise instigated a sexual awakening in Bob that prompted him to turn out to be Babette (although the movie appears unsure if Babette is a trans lady or a drag queen and by no means fairly figures it out). Killer Condom will get lots of dramatic mileage out of Mackeroni’s lack of ability to take duty for treating Babette like shit, however the screenplay infers that his reluctance to confess that they shared a real connection (or that that they had an actual relationship) is what a) drove Bob to turn out to be Babette, b) lead her to get fired or depart the police drive (once more, unclear) and c) turn out to be a intercourse employee at Lodge Quickie. As we mentioned again in our Insidious: Chapter 2 entry, this is not the way it works, which makes for some baaaaaad sexual id politics.
There is a degree of empathetic pathos to Babette (most evident in that aforementioned elevator intercourse scene the place she lip syncs in melancholy trend as Mackeroni will get it on together with his new, younger stud Billy). She’s additionally routinely handled as a pathetic, comedic character. And whereas there’s nothing inherently “wrong” about Mackeroni abandoning an older, much less conventionally engaging companion for a dim-witted stallion, it’s onerous to swallow the ending of the movie – when Mackeroni is cured of his reluctance to fall in love and invitations Billy to go to Sicily for a household introduction – as a genuinely celebratory second. Sure, Mackeroni has been an insensitive prick all through the movie, nevertheless it’s clear that this ending is meant to elicit romantic awwws as a result of the “right” couple acquired collectively and it simply feels just a little ageist/typical.
However whilst I write that, I swing again into constructive territory as a result of Mackeroni is such a physique constructive, out and proud homosexual man who refuses to take shit about his sexuality. Hell, he’s even prepared to waste useful police time and assets at the peak of the menace to embarrass his asshole companion by giving him a yellow piss hanky in a kink bar.
I don’t know what to say, Hint. This is that uncommon gem of a movie that’s each a scorching mess and an absolute basic, abruptly! How did you learn the Bob/Babette arc? Do we have to talk about the weirdly xenophobic depiction of the “Asian scientist” (who proves completely unimportant in the grand scheme) or the lady who will get her nostril bit who is coded as “other” as a result of nobody understands her overseas language? And is there extra to say about Presidential candidate Dick McGouvern (lol)?
Ha, do you imply the Asian scientist at the finish who seems like the largest Asian stereotype you’ll be able to placed on movie? Yeah, that was…one thing. And I didn’t know that the yellow hankie signified water sports activities! I knew it was one thing “bad,” however I assume I didn’t put that a lot thought into it. Whoops.
As for my questions, placing them into context is perhaps a good suggestion. Whoops once more (that is additionally the first time I’d ever heard a vagina known as a “pissflap”)! It’s unlikely that lots of our readers have already seen Killer Condom, however it’s obtainable free of charge on YouTube so they need to all go watch it proper now! Apologies to anybody studying in case you thought I used to be merely being crude, though it’s not utterly out of character for me…
Shifting on, I’m stunned that the “everything in German except the setting” facet of the movie bothered you a lot. The sheer ridiculousness of it added to my enjoyment of the movie!
I’m absolutely with you on Babette, although. At first look she seems to be a drag queen however as the movie goes on it appears to suggest that she is a trans lady. It simply by no means absolutely commits. Mackeroni’s (and the movie’s) remedy of her calls to thoughts the transphobia (once more, this is assuming that Babette is a trans lady) that is inherent inside the queer group. We aren’t exempt from discrimination in the sense that a few of us do discriminate or deal with different members of the group as “less than” (simply take a look at the “no fems,” “No Asians,” or “No Blacks” descriptors on Grindr). That internalized homophobia, racism and xenophobia is troubling, to say the least.
At the danger of getting attacked in the feedback, I regularly see my queer brothers and sisters act excessive and mighty about political correctness whereas falling prey to a few of the transphobic qualities we see in our straight counterparts. That’s a narrative for an entire different article, although. With Killer Condom, I reduce the movie some slack as a result of it’s 1996. I’m not excusing it, however I perceive that it’s a product of its time (regardless of being very progressive in some ways).
When it involves Republican presidential candidate Dick McGouvern (or Dickless Dick, as the newspapers name him), all of it ties again into the AIDS disaster! It wasn’t till the condom bit off his penis that the cops truly began to care and the killer condom epidemic turned the metropolis’s drawback. It additionally highlights the hypocrisy of sure members of the proper, as McGouvern is seen preaching about spiritual values regardless of the proven fact that he is together with his mistress when the condom assaults him in a toilet scene that, moderately hilariously, pays homage to Psycho.
Additionally of observe is the motive behind the evil mastermind’s killer condom plan. I’ll revert again to Anijar and DaoJensen’s textual content for this:
“The creator of the Killer Condom is a former Soviet scientist kidnapped and held against his will in a scientific laboratory below the church by a female doctor, Dr. Riffleson. Conflating Cold War anxieties, Christian morality, and anti-feminist backlash, Dr. Riffleson is an unmarried woman who purports to be a Christian feminist. She is a caricature of spinster bitterness, intent on performing “God’s work” by castigating and castrating the homosexual male group for partaking in sexual exercise that transgresses the spiritual precept of procreation. Sarcastically, homosexual males stay central to the Killer Condom narrative, as the spiritual zealots appear tired of lesbians and heterosexual ladies, failing to do “God’s work” by making a lethal feminine condom.”
This needs to be a commentary on homosexual ladies being extra socially acceptable than homosexual males, proper? Isn’t the double normal that heterosexual males get turned on by watching two ladies kiss (amongst different issues) whereas the mere sight of two males kissing is thought-about disgusting? I don’t imply to generalize, as a result of this clearly doesn’t apply to all heterosexual males, however it definitely applies to a few of them. Is Killer Condom commenting on that double normal? Or is it merely making an attempt to give attention to male sexuality? That is up for interpretation, I assume.
Joe, why do you assume lesbians have been exempt from Dr. Riffleson’s scheme? Why are individuals so grossed out by sexual issues which might be unfamiliar to them (this goes each methods, as I’ve by no means understood it when a homosexual man is grossed out by a vagina). Will you be making an attempt to persuade your family and friends to observe Killer Condom in the future? Lastly, when are we getting a Criterion Blu-Ray of the movie? It has to occur, proper?
I might love a Criterion (or perhaps a Scream Manufacturing unit!) launch, however provided that it is chock-full of particular options (I need a full commentary that goes in depth on the artistic selections that produced this cinematic oddity).
I’m glad that you simply raised the lack of lesbians in Dr. Riffleson’s plan (and in the entire movie, actually). For Killer Condom, it appears so particularly steeped in homosexual male tradition, that I wasn’t stunned that lesbians have been omitted till Riffleson’s plan made it specific. I’m unsure that the movie would have benefitted from an arbitrary lesbian character contemplating how singularly it focuses on deconstructing conventional notions of (police) masculinity, however the lack of girls, generally, is noteworthy. The truth is that this film is really a sausage-fest.
One factor that has occurred to me as we work our approach via these queer horror movies is that homosexual, trans and lesbian characters are steadily stored aside, leading to texts which are solely gay-specific or lesbian-specific (we’re nonetheless at a stage the place trans characters stays so small that we’ve but to see a very trans-specific horror movie. And no, Sleepaway Camp doesn’t rely).
Maybe this is too loaded a problem to incorporate in the last part of this dialogue, however is Killer Condom and different queer horror texts merely reflecting the lived actuality of homosexual males and lesbian ladies who keep in their very own lane (ie: don’t intermingle). Or is it that queer movies don’t have sufficient of a deal with but to incorporate greater than a single “type” of queer character? Readers: assist me out in the feedback together with your ideas (or in case you can consider any movies that problem this concept by together with a variety of queer characters interacting).
You’re completely proper about the bizarre double normal in the depiction of homosexual males in comparison with lesbians, although. We each know that this extends past this movie and past horror: in media, usually talking, lesbianism is perceived as “hot”* whereas most something to do with a penis is taboo. One want solely take a look at what number of movies and TV function full frontal male nudity (few) and what their score is (exhausting R, child!) compared to their feminine counterparts.
*Clearly it’s essential to notice that “hot” lesbians in well-liked tradition are almost all the time femme, so there stays a number of illustration points (and work) to be achieved on this space.
The disjunction about “acceptable” sexuality (and, by extension, nudity) hyperlinks again to the male gaze and the weird assumption that the viewer is, by default, straight and male. This a) fails to take into consideration the statistical proven fact that there are extra ladies in the world and b) extra particularly, the variety of ladies who watch horror. Why assume that prime variety of feminine horror followers (and us gays) don’t need a little bit of dong in our kills? If we’re speaking about dick: I lately had the pleasure of interviewing the two hosts of Ultimate Women podcast for the February concern of Grim Journal and we made a selected level of speaking about how they like to reference “the peen” of their dialogue of the horror style.
Apparently Killer Condom isn’t the solely horror movie explicitly keen on dick-related trauma. Clearly there’s no scarcity of intercourse and sexuality-related horror movies, particularly penectomy blowjobs, however I discovered a minimum of two different horror movies that predominantly function dick-removal narratives: the 2007 vagina dentata movie Tooth and 2008’s low-budget One-Eyed Monster, that includes porn star Ron Jeremy’s dismembered penis stalking and killing the crew of a porn shoot at a distant cabin. The latter is a horror comedy in the similar vein as Killer Condom, whereas the former, a (nice) rape/revenge movie, performs its dismemberment as straight-up horror.
I used to be going to attempt to make a witty statement about how males who lose their penis are humorous, however that’s a bit too glib. As an alternative I’ll simply finish with the ridiculous pretend trailer for Handjob Cabin as an alternative.
Dick horror is actual, y’all.
Subsequent time on Horror Queers: We’re stepping into the vacation spirit with our favorite queer superhero Christmas movie, Batman Returns.
Killer Condom is out there to stream without spending a dime on YouTube. And don’t overlook to make amends for our earlier Horror Queers articles right here!
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