Todd Haynes’s Poison (1991) is a triptych film that tethers intercut stories, “Hero,” “Horror,” and “Homo,” to the themes of sexuality, isolation, and surveillance. The first story “Hero” is shot as a pseudo-documentary, following the disappearance of Richie Beacon, a seven-year-old boy who takes off flying into the sky after shooting and murdering his father. “Horror” is a sci-fi thriller about scientist Dr. Thomas Graves, who isolates the “elixir of human sexuality” in order to study the “mysteries of the sex drive.” After accidentally drinking his concoction, Dr. Graves becomes a fugly, murderous leper. The third narrative is “Homo,” inspired by French author Jean Genet’s short-stories. “Homo” meets longtime thief John Broom in prison, who is obsessively attracted to Jack Bolton, a prisoner he knows from a former boys reformatory school. Upon release, Poison caused controversy, receiving backlash from both the U.S.’s right-wing as well as gay audiences. Poison delivers experimental cinematography to create a conceptual film, which thematically emphasizes the internalized authority that policies queer people and their stories.
Before getting into my mini film review, I want to express my excitement for finally purchasing a subscription to revry.tv, a queer entertainment streaming service full of films, shorts, television, podcasts, and music. Aside from categorizing content into familiar genres, the streaming service breaks their content into fun, campy collections. I mention this detail because the categorization makes picking out a show to watch far easier than going through an “LGBTQ” tab within say Netflix or Hulu. My hope is that my excitement with revry.tv continues to grow as there’s already an abundance of short-films and shows I want to encourage others to watch!
To digress no further: Stall (2017), a short, horror film directed by Andrew Daniel, is one piece I came across revry.tv. My fascination with Stall is the fact that the entire ten-minute film follows an unnamed protagonist (John D. Harding) through a solo-lead, cruising misadventure. The establishing shot displays a men’s restroom off the side of the freeway that appears more abandoned and tarnished than a suitable cruising spot. Regardless, the protagonist waits and readies himself in a bathroom mirror—an eerie detail as the cutaway from the close-up shot of the protagonist’s face to his full body shows zero mirrors.