Tag: run

So there’s a cult run by a former gay adult film star? Be afraid… / Queerty

So there’s a cult run by a former gay adult

Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a rewatch.

The Aptly-Named: Holy Hell

Director Will Allen made this doc about his own 20-year stint in a West Hollywood-based cult led by–it’s true–a former adult film performer. Comprised of interviews of former members, as well as copious home video footage shot by Allen, Holy Hell examines the rise of the Buddhafield, a combination of environmentalist commune and spiritual movement. For gay men enduring the pain of the AIDS epidemic in the late 80s and early 1990s, it offers an accepting reprieve from an otherwise hostile religious landscape. A mysterious leader named Michel presides over it all, keeping creepy watch over his flock often while wearing a speedo and little else. Yet the downright silliness–and yes, it is very silly at times, by design–conceals something far more sinister as stories of psychological torture, manipulation and even rape begin to surface.

The participants of Holy Hell, especially Allen himself, bare their souls and experiences with little ego or reservation. That goes a long way toward giving the film its power, and its lasting creepiness. When Michel’s origins finally do surface, they only add to the insanity of it all, which drives home the film’s main point: cults seldom begin with nefarious purposes, nor do the participants seek to join one. Harrowing, scary, and always jaw-dropping, Holy Hell will likely inspire a giggle or two of disbelief. That only makes the menace of it all so much creepier.

Streams on YouTube & Amazon.

Journey to a underworld run by a drag syndicate in ‘Sh*t & Champagne’ / Queerty

Journey to a underworld run by a drag syndicate in

The title says it all, folks.

With COVID-19 having stymied Frameline44–at least in person, anyway–the San Francisco-based queer media arts foundation has done something extraordinary. A second Frameline44 arrives later this month, allowing viewers from all over the world to take part in the celebration of queer cinema, and to view this year’s titles from home. In another charming twist, the festival will host a drive-in screening at the Solano Drive-In in Concord, CA on September 17. The title on the docket: the new slapstick comedy Sh*t & Champagne.

Related: ‘Buck,’ ‘Disclosure’ and ‘My Mom’: Meet the winners of Frameline’s film competition

Sh*t & Champagne takes its cues from 1970s exploitation schlock movies, which often featured ridiculous action, ridiculous costumes and even more ridiculous plots. The film follows stripper Champagne Horowitz Jones Dickerson White (played by drag queen Darcy Drollinger) on the run from a criminal enterprise. When the cops refuse to investigate the murder of her sister, Champagne dives head-first into a criminal underworld. There, she discovers a link between the retail chain Mall-Wart and a dastardly plot to conquer the world. Think of it as Girls Will Be Girls meets The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Directed by and starring Darcy Drollinger, Sh*t & Champagne plays the Frameline44 centerpiece drive-in September 17.