This may be our freshest episode yet: This movie was released this very month on NBC’s Peacock network. With a cast of stars, a blockbuster writer/director, and a unique setting – a “conversion camp” for teens – there is a lot to unpack with this unique and timely take on the summer camp slasher.
Also, FYI, it’s pronounced, “They Slash Them”. Cute, eh?
Todd: And, and welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd.
Craig: And I’m Craig.
Todd: Well, we’re going pretty modern today after doing a whole bunch of older films. This is 2022. I actually, I believe this movie came out on August 5th. Believe it or not. So this is fresh off the boat as it were. And Craig, you chose this movie. This is, They/Them. A horror movie that premiered on the peacock network, which I believe is NBC’s streaming service.
Yep. I don’t think this made it to the theaters. My understanding. No, it didn’t. So it’s just a, it’s a tell made for television movie, but, uh, the pedigree is quite interesting. Um, the director and writer of the film is John Logan. Uh, this is the first movie he’s directed, but, uh, he got his, uh, start in Hollywood as a screenwriter with the story for any given Sunday, went on to do Gladiator , uh, The Last Samurai, The Aviator, uh, Hugo, Skyfall, Specter.
I mean, this guy, uh, he’s gonna be well off for, uh, quite a while. Um, based on his residuals from all of these films that he’s written. That are big time Hollywood blockbusters, but this movie’s a little different. I actually, I thought the title was quite cute. Yeah. They slash them. This movie deals with a, um, Like basically what you would call a, a conversion camp Uhhuh for people who are, uh, transgendered gay and, uh, they slash them.
It’s a slasher movie or, yeah, I would say it’s supposed to be a slasher movie. Yeah.
Craig: yeah. I think they kind of forgot. Like
Todd: yeah. Tell like the ad and like, oh shoot. And they were like,
Craig: oh shit. Some people need to die. Yeah. wait, wait, wait. This is a horror movie. And, and that’s, that’s not an outright criticism, but.
First of all. I don’t think that this was made specifically for a streaming service. I have a feeling that they premiered it on a streaming service because they didn’t anticipate that it would have the kind of widespread appeal that would be worth putting it in theaters. I don’t think that they thought that they would get the return on it if they put it in theater.
So it went straight to streaming. It’s probably fair. Yeah, because it, it feels like a theatrical release it’s well made. It’s got a, I would say a couple, but at least one big name attached, you know, Kevin bacon plays a, a very, very prominent role and he’s a, he’s an Aless star, you know, and oh, a hundred percent.
Yeah. Yeah. And, um, Like you said, the guy who directed it, John Logan is our first time director, but he he’s very established as a writer has written some, you know, big blockbuster hits. So, um, I think that it’s got the talent behind it where I think this movie goes wrong a little bit and, and I don’t wanna be.
Terribly critical of it because I really appreciate the, what, what I see as the effort is it didn’t strike quite the right balance. And I don’t know that. Would necessarily be possible to strike the right strike the right balance. Because I think John Logan is an openly gay man in Hollywood, and I think that he had really good intentions, um, in terms of social commentary mm-hmm , but I, I don’t know that it necessarily struck the right balance between social commentary.
And a horror movie. Yeah. And I think that that’s really hard to do like social commentary and horror is not uncommon at all. It happens all the time. We’ve done a ton of movies that have commented on everything from like nuclear warfare to, and other environmental issues, racism, lots and lots of, yeah. Of those, you know, and I think that maybe.
The one movie that has done the best at striking that balance is Jordan peels get out recently. Yeah. Yeah, there was great. It, it did strike that balance. This one, I think is a little bit heavy on the social commentary and a little light on the horror, but I’m reluctant to even say that because. The social commentary I think is important.
And I appreciate the message of the film, but yeah, I’m not, I’m not sure it quite struck the right balance. I still liked it. I liked the movie. I enjoyed it, but I also know that there are going to be a lot of people out there who are going to thumb their nose at it and, you know, call it woke as though that’s.
A criticism and, you know, say that it’s, you know, it’s too political or. It’s too, you know, it’s shoving the message down your throat or whatever. I know that there are gonna be those people out there and you and I try not to get preachy or overly political or anything, but I’m just gonna say outright that I am going to be unapologetically.
Supportive of the message and, and narrative of this movie. So if that’s something listener that, uh, you are not in support of, and that. Is going to, you know, irritate you, you may as well turn it off because I’m not gonna apologize for my, uh, enthusiastic support of the message of the movie. Sure.
Todd: I mean, same here.
I’m a hundred percent in support of the message of the film too. And I appreciate the effort and the, the, the courage and whatever it takes, you know, in this day and age to, to get a movie like this, May with some big name stars and put out there. It’s certainly a little easier now than it used to be, but still it’s, you know, this, these are topics that are still very controversial, very political.
We’re arguing about these in my opinion, way too much. But when it comes to art, this is always an issue, right? Movies and our, our first and foremost entertainment, it tends to be sadly enough. It tends to be when, when you try too hard to get a message across, sometimes the entertainment value gets lost.
Right. A little bit mm-hmm for whatever reason. And I, I don’t, I don’t think it’s just because of people’s personal hangups, you know, I don’t think it’s simply because I might be personally. Fronted by the message they’re trying to do, or I might disagree. And then that distracts me and keeps me from enjoying the movie.
Now, I, I really mean that just sort of like getting a good entertaining movie out of a film that also was trying very, very hard to like hammer home a message is tricky and difficult. Sometimes it works and sometimes it just comes across. Uh, you know, like trying too hard, you know, Uhhuh or you get more message than substance, or you get more message than entertainment.
Quite frankly, nobody wants to just be lectured for an hour and a half. And I, I don’t think this movie does that, but it gets close. Yeah. It’s definitely veering into that territory. And. That’s basically because it kind of, isn’t a horror movie for the majority of the run time. See, but
Craig: the thing is, I think it is, but not in the way that we typically think.
Todd: I know what you’re gonna say. I know exactly what you’re gonna say, and I’m gonna agree with you, but go on. Yeah.
Craig: Mm-hmm, , I’m just gonna say that, you know, like in here somewhere is the standard camper, slasher movie. But that’s not, what is the most horrifying about this movie? Right. What’s the most horrifying about this movie is that these kinds of conversion camps, maybe not to the extreme that is suggested here, but, but they exist.
And. People send their children there to be converted and, and, and changed and to challenge and, and, and potentially try to change something essential to their identity. And that is horrific to me. Yes. And, and I, and I think a lot of the stuff that we see in here. Is, um, real, I, I, I think that the way that these.
Young people are talked to. I think it happens. And, and a lot of it, a lot of it’s direct and a lot of it is passive aggressive. The passive aggressive stuff was the stuff that sickened me the most. Kevin Bacon’s character, Owen Whistler is the proprietor of this camp and he starts. He introduces himself and he welcomes these young people to this camp.
I can’t make you straight. I don’t wanna make you straight gay people are Akay with me. If you’re happy, the way you are then more power to you. And I know what you’re thinking, you hear the words, gay conversion camped, and you start to imagine all kinds of homophobic bullshit. Well, that is not what we’re about.
But I’m guessing
Todd: that some of you are here
Craig: because in some way you’re not happy. Maybe you don’t fit in. People make fun of you. Maybe you wanna find some new kind of peace, a new way of thinking about yourself. Well, you give us this week and we might be able to help. And if not, just enjoy the sunshine and work on your 10.
Ah, and it’s bullshit. Yeah, it’s, it’s a boldface lie. And though he claims to be supportive of who they are. Um, he’s passive aggressive. One of the main characters is named Jordan and they’re a transgender non-binary. Um, person and they, their pronouns are they them, but Kevin bacon constantly and I believe fully intentionally misgenders them.
Mm-hmm and you know, claims E every time he does it, and somebody calls me, he’s like, oh, sorry, my mistake. No, it’s not a mistake. You’re doing it on purpose. And, uh, there’s another trans character, a trans woman. Particular trans woman, her name is Alexandra. She’s just AB stunningly, stunningly. Beautiful. Um, she doesn’t initially reveal that she’s a trans woman and when he finds out, he’s all pissed off about it.
And he angrily and intentionally misgenders and dead names, her and these things. happen every day. God. Yeah. Yeah. I’m getting emotional about it. That’s what I think is horrific about it. And I think that that’s what the writer director kind of wanted to expose. He, he talked about, you know, you can’t find a, because this movie is so new, there’s not a whole lot of information out there about it in terms of like trivia and whatnot.
But John Logan talked about how growing up representation of. Uh, the LGBTQ plus community in horror was never particularly flattering. Yeah. You know, it was, um, generally, you know, flamboyant and over the top and gay people were either victims, killers or the joke and that’s. True. And having grown up in the eighties and watch that, you know, I just didn’t question it because that’s just how gay people were portrayed in movies.
And it didn’t particularly bother me, but in hindsight, looking back, it’s not, it’s not fair and it’s not equal representation. And I, and that’s the thing that I appreciated the most about this movie was that. It brings all of these young people together and it does feel like fair representation. You’ve got a variety of different types of queer people and they’re unique and they’re individual and, uh, they’re three dimensional.
Yeah. On that front, I think the movie’s really successful.
Todd: Yeah, that’s one thing I really will say for it. Like there’s not stereotyping going on here. These feel like real people and there’s, there’s not a caricature aspect to it. All these people feel like very real, very down to earth people, which is, uh, you know, in service to reality.
mm-hmm yes, honestly. Yeah. I mean, it’s just, it’s great. And so for that, I, you know, I was, I was kind of on the edge waiting for some of that to happen for some reason. But it didn’t, and, and that was good. Uh, and I agree with you also, like Kevin Bacon’s character, of course we know what we’re getting into.
We know that this movie’s a horror movie, so bad things are gonna happen. So immediately distrustful of all of the things that he’s saying in the very beginning, which I thought was a delicious, you know, speech. Oh yeah. It’s really good. It’s really good. And this is the kind of double talk that people do all the time, Uhhuh and they don’t just do it about gender.
They do it about race. Yeah. They do it a about a lot of things, but they’ll stand there. Oh, you know? No, I, I, you know, I, you can be who you are and I love everybody and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then at the end, okay. Boys cabins are over here. Girls cabins are over there. Right, right, right. It just starts to walk away.
It’s almost hilarious when that’s done yet. It’s not done in a comical manner, you know, it’s kind of a deadpan sort of mm-hmm humor. I, I would say right immediately, like you said, our transgendered, uh, main character here, I would say Jordan is immediately offended by and, you know, confronts him about it.
And then he’s all like, I’m sorry. You’re right. Maybe we do need a, we do need a cabin. Non-binary right. Mm-hmm but, uh, for now, can you please just maybe go to the, the boys’ cabin, if that’s uncomfortable for you, then we can talk mm-hmm it sounds fairly reasonable, I suppose. You know, considering everybody knows they’re coming to this camp to be turned, you know, straight.
Right. And also for the most part, I kind of like that, everyone know sort of like, I mean, I would imagine God, if I were not straight and I was sent to a camp like this against my will, my parents, I mean, You know, you gotta do it, I guess, in their circumstances anyway, like they’re sort of forced to go, but they’re not like kicking and screaming and crying about it.
They’re just like, all right. You know, let’s just fucking get this over with. Well, and they, they
Craig: take the, the, I, I appreciate that film. They, it stride. They do, but I, I appreciate that the filmmakers take. A moment to address the reasons why the people are there. Now, before, before that we’re introduced to the staff and there’s not very many of them.
So just really quick. There’s of course, uh, Owen Whistler, it’s Whistler camp. Um, Owen is Kevin bacon. He’s the main guy. Um, his wife is the psychologist, uh, for the camp she’s played by Carrie Preston, who I recognize she’s a character actress. She. R small roles and lots and lots of things. Uh, I recognized her as one of the funny singing twins from my best friend’s wedding, but she’s in lots of things.
Um, and then there’s Molly, who is the camp nurse played by Anna Clumsky, who I love. I mean, you know, breakout role in my girl when she was just a little girl. And then she took a long break from acting to get her education. And then she came back and she’s been incredibly successful, uh, since. Zane, uh, played by Boone.
Plat is the athletic director and he’s this big hulking, you know, kind of creepy guy and his wife, Sarah who’s the activities director. Owen says that Zane is a former camper. And uses him as kind of an example of how this, you know, look, it can work, you know, look at him straight as can be. I have a feeling that Sarah was probably a former camper too, based on things that happened later.
Oh, for sure. In the movie. Yeah. And then there’s uh, BZA the handyman. And duke the dog. He’s cute. Okay. So that’s the staff and, and they collect all their cell phones and computers and medications and stuff, and say how this is gonna be a safe space. And the only rule here is respect. We’re all gonna respect each other, whatever.
Once they get all the, the cabin stuff sorted out, which you’ve already talked about, then they have kind of a circle where they meet. and, and all of our main characters there’s, I don’t know, five or six central campers who we get to know. I kind of feel bad cuz there are other campers too, who just are always hanging out in the background.
and, and I ki I wanted to know more about them, but that’s okay. It’s already kind of a, a big cast. Um, but what I liked about, you know, they take the time to explain why they’re there. Some of them. Have bargained with their parents like Jordan, they made a deal with their parents that if they came to camp for a week, then they would be allowed to emancipate themselves, uh, legally, Toby.
Is a black, young gay man. He made a deal with his parents that if he came to the camp, that they would send him to New York city to go see some big Broadway show. I don’t know but like, so some of them, some of them bargained with their parents for something. Um, but some of them want to be there and. To change.
Yeah. Like Stu is, well, he’s an athlete, he’s a swimmer and he’s, he’s big and masculine. And he talks about how he’s got this whole path laid out for him that he’s an athlete and he’s gonna go to college on an athletic scholarship and he’s supposed to join. Daisy had something to say about it, sorry. And he’s going to join his dad’s fraternity.
And he just doesn’t know how that’s gonna work because he’s so uncomfortable. Like when he is in the locker room, he doesn’t know where to look because he is gay. Uh, and he doesn’t wanna be. Kim is a pretty blonde girl and she is gay, but closeted and she just desperately wants to fit in. Being gay makes that impossible in her mind.
So I just, I, I appreciated the fact that they were there for different reasons and I appreciated the fact that some of them were there because they really hoped it would work. I can only imagine that that’s probably true. You know, there are lots of young gay people. Feel like their lives would be better and easier if they weren’t queer and, and, and that’s sad, but I think that it’s a reality and I appreciated that.
Reflected that here a again, it just, it seems thoughtful. You know, it seems like they were very careful right. In their portrayal of these young queer people to try to be as honest as they could about that experience and to show a variety of experiences because not all gay people are the same and not all queer people.
Are the same or have the same experiences. Sure. Anyway, there there’s the whole group of ’em there. And another thing that I liked is I think that they were also very careful about representation in the performers. The two trans characters are portrayed by trans actors. I don’t know if all of the actors identify as the same way as their character, but it seems like they did take into consider.
Fair representation in casting too. Which again, mm-hmm I respect and appreciate
Todd: a a hundred percent agreed on all. It’s easy to get all this stuff out because they’re at this camp, there’s like a circle, you know, kind of like with counseling or with, or maybe your first day at camp, your get to know kind of thing or yeah, everybody just goes around and basically is supposed to talk about themselves and why they’re there and what they want to get out of it.
And there’s more, that’s spilled out, you know, in more natural. As characters talk with each other throughout it Uhhuh, but it’s pretty quick that you get the majority of exactly what you said, you know, right there. And, and of course, Kevin Bacon’s character, you can tell is trying very hard to come across as a very nice, very understanding, accepting counselor type person.
But you can also sort of tell this as a trained response, you know, like he has well oiled his approach to this, to ease the kids into a sense of. And then as the movie goes on, we realize that, you know, the, the camp is not gonna be like that. And we kind of have to assume the camp isn’t gonna be like that, cuz it’s a gay conversion therapy camp.
Right. So I mean, it, it has that goal and they’re not known for being right. You know, gracious and, and accepting. And so I feel like there’s a better, smarter, more sophisticated horror movie in here that really just. Can just be more or less realistic about the kinds of things and the psychological manipulation and, uh, little digs and little hurts and little pains that I imagine I’ve never been to one of these camps, but I can only imagine that that has to happen.
Right. And, and there’s some of that in this movie, but it kind of. Pops in outta left field. I think, I don’t feel like it’s eased into as much as it sort of could be because as soon as we get sort of smarmy Kevin bacon being nice and everybody kind of getting to know each other and everything seems like it could be fairly copacetic in a way.
I don’t remember which happens first. I don’t remember if the walk into the woods, uh, in the middle of the night happens first, or if it’s one of the characters is sitting in front of Kevin Bacon’s character’s wife co. And chorus just very direct and just basically very psychologically manipulative to this person.
Craig: It’s absolutely horrible. She’s talking to Jordan trans non-binary. She talks about how like, Didn’t fit in with the rest of your family. Cause they had been, they, when they had ’em out in the woods, the woods was first, they took ’em out in the woods. That’s handcuffed them together in pairs and just left them there overnight.
And I really think they said it was to kind of build trust between them or something. It’s not, it was just to get them away from the camp so they could Snoop through their stuff, which they did. Yeah. That’s exactly what it was. Cora in Jordan’s stuff. Found a picture. Of them when they were young and, and still being treated as a girl.
And, and they’re from a military family. So Cora talks about how she was from a military military family too. And she just couldn’t fit in. I know cuz no matter what you do, you’ll never be good enough or straight enough or man enough or woman enough. It’s like, you’re nothing. to them. You’re not even a freak.
You’re nothing. So what do you do? You try to make yourself special, so they’ll see you. So they’ll notice you. So they’ll love you become a honey. That’s not gonna work. This thing you invented, it’s a fake, they’re never gonna love you. No one is not. Unless you drop this nonsense and admit what you are, a scared, lonely, ugly little.
and she says it all with a smile on her face and then just says, okay, well that’s enough for today and, and sends them off.
Todd: It’s super creepy. And also, like I thought I was a little disappointed at this point in the movie, you know, because it took this turn so quickly. I, I just sort of felt like the movie was setting up us up for this sort of slow burn of slow sophisticated sort of psychological tortures that you know, were not so bold and bald.
I don’t know, maybe pulling a person away from everybody else and talking to them individually is secretive or whatever. But I, I, I think I was just expecting it to be a little more clever cleverly malicious, and it just turns out no, she’s just gonna, like, I presume pull each one of them in there and call them dykes and things.
Well, right. And just
Craig: she’s playing to their insecurities on purpose, uh, yeah. To, to try to break them down and. I, I just she’s the
Todd: bad cop, right? He’s the good cop. She’s the bad cop, I guess. Right. But
Craig: she does it all with a smile on her face in a very gentle tone. You know, she hides behind. Her medical license, which I don’t even know if I believe that this woman is really a psychologist anyway, you know, that would call into question all kinds of ethical things.
I don’t know if I even buy that, but she does it under the guise of trying to help them, of trying to help them to realize who they are and what they’ve done and why they’ve made this choice. And they, they, she keeps emphasizing that too. That it’s a choice you’ve made this choice to be this person when I think.
Most intelligent, modern people understand that identity is not a choice in, in that way. Um, yeah, it’s, it’s just part of who a person is. And yes, young people sometimes struggle to find their identity, but to, to write it off as a choice and as a bad choice as a mistake is, is so. Uh, it it’s passive aggressive.
It’s hateful it’s mean it’s judgemental and, uh, clueless and, and clueless and, and queer kids face it all the time. They face from the outside. They face from the inside, you know, uh, some of these people, their own parents, their own families, um, feel this way. And. Them feel as though they have made bad choices and, and are a mistake.
And I, the other thing, you know, Jordan is painted of, of all of these kids as being one of the most secure in their identity. Mm-hmm , but this even impacts them. It, it, it hurts them. And I, I’m glad that the movie shows that, you know, even, even the toughest of people of kids can still be hurt when.
Intentionally broken down like that. And one of the next, you know, things that we see is they’re laying in their bed and they’re crying Alexandra, the other trans character, you know, asks. If they’re okay. And, and, and they basically say, no, they’re not. And, and they, they talk a little bit and Alexandra, you know, is, is, is very, very supportive.
She too seems very, very confident in her identity. Yeah. And it gets a little cheesy, she starts quoting a pink song and then they break out and there’s like a musical number. Yeah. As much as much. As much as I like the movie and as much as I kind of get what they were going for, you know, it’s, it’s a comradery thing, you know it and nothing against pink.
I like pink. But the, the lyrics in, especially in this context are a little. Cheesy. , they’re a little cute on the
Todd: nose, you know, a little too on the nose.
Craig: I mean, it’s cute. It’s cute to see them all up and singing and dancing together, but a little much could, it
Todd: could have been war. It could have been. Could have been born this way, you know, I suppose it could words
Craig: but it’s ju it’s it’s, it’s all, it’s almost there.
Todd: Yeah. So I thought that was, uh, that was disappointing, you know, I thought that was disappointing too, but whatever. Okay. It just
Craig: me roll my eyes a little bit. Like I get the intense of it and I do appreciate that. And I do, you know, uh, I I’m so glad that young people today do have.
A community when I was in high school that didn’t exist. I’m sure that I went to school with other gay people, but we didn’t talk about it. Mm-hmm it would’ve been dangerous to talk about it. You know, I, I, I very narrowly avoided some physical abuse on more than one occasion. And, and that was when I was still very much in the closet.
And today, you know, I work in a high school and, and there is a community not only of queer kids. Of their allies and, uh, they have a lot more freedom, not, not to say that there’s not still risk involved because there certainly is, but they have a lot more freedom to really be who they are. And they’ve got a support system in place, not only with one another, but with, uh, teachers and faculty and staff.
Um, so, and, and I, and I appreciate that, you know, that’s, I think. These, uh, conversion camps. And I haven’t done a ton of research into these. I know that they exist. I know what they’re about. Um, but I think that in some sense, they backfire a little bit because you bring all these young people together and they’re bound to form bonds with one another and they’re bound to form a community.
And, and when you have a community. Like that there’s strength in that. Yeah. So they, they may be able to break some people and I’m sure that they do, even in the movie, you see that just being amongst other young people, there’s one character, Kim, she’s very pretty and feminine. Um, and she’s one of the ones who’s there because she doesn’t want to be different.
She doesn’t want to be gay, but once she is surrounded by a community of other people, Like her, it empowers her and molds her to embrace who she is. Uh, and that’s cool.
Todd: and I was also gonna say, as I was watching this movie and thinking about it, it’s also like, like any other summer camp, you know, whatever it is, you get a bunch of, you know, young kids like this together.
They’re also gonna try to hook up .
Craig: Oh, heck yeah. Yeah, absolutely.
Todd: You know, I, I did, I had several summer camps. Right. I. What for what was sort of not first and foremost of my mind, but at least, you know, second or third down on the list of all of us was you. Who’s the Q one here, you know, who can we, so like in, in that way, it’s sort of backfires too.
And, and they, and this is what happens also at this camp, of course, they’re bonding, they’re getting closed and they they’re starting, they develop a few attachments for each other. And I was a little surprised in the, as how the movie portrayed anyway, at the degree of freedom and lack of supervision.
They seemed to have. Yeah. And I felt like, especially for something like this, some, a gay conversion camp as insidious as this one is, and as much as they’re actually kind of using that to, to catch the kids in a few ways still there was still a, a distinct lack of supervision. I do not think you would find sure.
In, in one of these for real
Craig: well, it, I mean, to be fair, it’s a really small staff. Yeah. One, three people, four people. Yeah, like five of them in total, including the, the owner. Um, and, and the staff are all pretty horrible except for the nurse, Molly. Who’s new. This is her first year there. And Anna Clumsky is just very charming and endearing.
Period, but you know, there are little things like, um, Alexandra goes to her and says, I know that we had to turn in our medications, but I need my pills. And at first she claims that they’re antidepressants as misguided as they may be about some things. I can’t just ignore protocol. It’s not so loft.
Alright, estradiol. It’s an estrogen hormone.
I made a deal with my parents. I know you come here or they throw you out. It’s. It’s not that at all. When I turned 18, I thought there was nothing they could do to stop me, but I was wrong. I have a younger brother and he was the world to me. And I mean the world to, and they said that if I did not come to this place, that they would never let me see him again.
And, and so Molly. Does give her her medicines and just says, well, this will just be our little secret. At some point, Jordan sneaks out of his cabin in the middle of the night and snoops around in the main office and finds pictures of former campers who have clearly been. Horribly abused physically.
You know, I just, I just thought all this came on quite suddenly and really out of left field. I, I wasn’t really sure why he was snooping around and going through drawers or something. There didn’t seem to be any clear motivation for it. And then what, like, this camp is gonna have these like carefully printed photos of, of, of child abuse and stuff, just in a desk somewhere.
Like what, what does he pull it out every now and then, and kind of look at the flip through them wistfully, you know, like, yeah. And then, you know, Molly comes in, uh, it was Molly, right. Who comes in and interrupts him. Right. Or they, they says, did you know this was going. and, uh, Molly says, uh, no, I dunno.
She’s a little coy about it, but she’s sort of like, not really. I mean, it’s, it’s just a lot to happen within like five minutes. Right? It’s, it’s a, it’s a major escalation in a way that I thought was really kind of, um, wedged into the movie almost because I was expecting some different kind of build. I was accepting other little sort of hints that something were, things were not off just because this was a conversion camp, but this was maybe like, you know, a psycho conversion camp, you know, And yet it’s just, it’s like they just decide to go into Snoop around and find these conveniently placed photos.
Craig: I, I think that they’re just. Naturally very suspicious. They think that there’s something insidious going on. And, and of, of course there is. Um, but Molly also, you know, she kind of acts like she maybe kind of had some idea that something like this might be going on, but like she didn’t know the extent of it, but she.
Warren Jordan. Alexandra said you helped her with her pills. Now you have to help all of us do what protect us from what, from this
I’ll do what I can.
Jordan, be careful. This could get a lot worse and he doesn’t like you. Well, he has no idea who he’s hunting this time. Oh God. And then the next day they separate the boys and the girls, boys and girls mm-hmm
Todd: right. Which they’re quite, I mean, they’re quite like, like, I guess they’re used to it. So they’re just sort of like roll their eyes at it.
Craig: Well, but that’s the thing. Uh, Owen, supposedly, you know, he’s he told Jordan go with the boys and then if you don’t feel comfortable, we can talk about it or whatever, but he forces. Alexandra to participate with the boys. Mm-hmm and she is quite clearly not a boy. Like yeah. she is very clearly a woman and, you know, they won’t allow her to wear.
Um, girls clothes that’s right. And she has, yeah, she has to borrow, uh, clothes from the boys. And I like Jordan wears a dress and protest after that, which I thought was cute and funny but they separate them and they say that today they’re going to focus on traditional gender roles. Yeah. And it’s so gross.
Like it is just absolutely disgusting. It is. Yeah. The, the bull. Stereotypical gender roles like, uh, Sarah, the activities director, like
Todd: you , it’s, it’s really comical actually. And the way that she says it’s funny. Today, we’re
Craig: gonna be exploring traditional gender roles by behaving in a certain way, by learning to recognize and accept modes of societal behaviors, perhaps will come to appreciate the emotional value in reinforcing these behaviors, even finding comfort and a sense of community within them.
So ladies. Let’s
Todd: make a pie and I’m like, but, um, Ching oh, oh God, it
Craig: gets even worse. I mean, it’s just ridiculous. And
Todd: what are the men doing? They’re going hunting, right? They’re all gonna have guns. And at first they’re, you know, shooting targets and it turns out that Jordan is actually quite good at shooting Uhhuh and, uh, has like a little mini competition between.
Jordan and, uh, that, that got Zane, right. And then, uh, Kevin Bacon’s character, uh, comes out and says, okay, now, you know, shooting targets is all well and good and gives us long speech about our, how we evolved and how men evolved differently from women and men were traditionally hunters and had to provide for the family and hunt and blah, blah, blah.
But they didn’t shoot targets. You know, they had to hunt flesh to eat and bring back and all that. How, which one of you has the balls to, to hunt flesh. He calls out Toby. There’s been this dog that we were introduced to in the very beginning that one of the characters, it’s a hound dog. And one of the characters kind of makes a comment like, yeah, that dog is clearly sick.
I can tell, by the way it’s walking, it’s very old and it’s sick. And of course this comes to play now where, uh, Kevin bacon says, you see the, the dog over there, he has cancer, put him out of his misery and then. Uh, Zane is over there with a sledgehammer and, uh,
Craig: yeah, he says, if you don’t shoot him, if you don’t shoot the dog, then Zane’s going to.
Smash his legs with the sledgehammer, and then he’ll be in pain and he’ll be scared, but he won’t be able to run cuz his legs will be broken. Like it’s just sadistic. It’s just, it’s it’s horrible.
Todd: It gets so sadistic. And, and, and I guess again, this was kind of disappointing to me about the movie is that I felt like there could have been a little bit more psychological.
And to me, the horror honestly, was a little too much on the nose and it veered away again, look, it doesn’t have to be all about the psychological horrors of a gay conversion camp, but I mean, here we are. And you were exploring that territory. What do these kids, I mean, if all these kids get outta here fine and they go home, like.
There are gonna be lawsuits out the wa you know, with the stuff that’s going on at this camp. And I can’t imagine, like, it would be that bold and straight, you know, I just can’t
Craig: imagine. I can believe it. I know, but the people who send their kids to these camps. They don’t care. They don’t care. Yeah. You know, and, and I don’t think that they would ever, you know, outright say that they would intentionally put their kids in harm’s way, but they know what’s going on.
We’ve all heard the horror stories, not just about these kinds of camps, but even camps where they send, you know, quote. Delinquent, you know, like, yeah, like these scare them straight kind of camps. People know what’s going on there and it ISK up.
Todd: But it is. But I mean, is it that, I mean, I, I imagine it’s just this sort of intense counseling, like, like the baking, the pie and the things like that, but don’t you think that even the most hard in person, if they learned that their kid was forced to shoot a dog, you
Craig: know, to make.
I don’t know. Yeah. Because I, you know, I’ve heard about these places and you know, like even, um, not that I’m holding her up to any kind of. You know, level of esteem or anything, but like Paris Hilton was sent to one of these types of places and, you know, they, they do practice like isolation and, um, all kind drew, Barry words, stuff, kinda crazy type stuff thing, right?
Yeah. They try to break them. They, they break them down so they can rebuild them the way that they want. So I imagine these things do happen. I don’t know. I knew what was going to happen in this moment. I knew that Toby wouldn’t be able to shoot the dog. And I knew that Jordan would do it. Mm-hmm to, to prevent somebody else from having to, or to prevent the dog from being tortured.
And, and, and they do.
Todd: And then Jordan AINS the goin at Owen for a a minute or so. That was an interesting moment. Owen, they have a bit of a stare down there. Uh, I liked that moment actually. I thought that was kind
Craig: of cool. Another thing that it’s only explored briefly, but, um, these types of camps, I think put.
Children in really dangerous positions because they provide opportunities for predators. Mm, Sarah, the activities director, after all the girls make their pies, she sends them all away except for Kim. And then she blatantly. Hits on her. Oh yeah. A and you know, it’s, it’s very sexual in nature. And I imagine that that kind of abuse, uh, is not uncommon in these types of places as well, because it’s hypocritical.
Todd: And yet the whole time I was also wondering, is this a setup? You know, I don’t think so testing her. No, I don’t think it was, but, uh, at that moment in the movie, I. Skeptical of everything that was going on. I thought everything was manipulation. And I thought, Hmm, is this woman setting her up somehow? You know, like, is she coming onto her so that she can like punish her later for succumbing to it it’s
Craig: possible, but I it’s, it’s not really, I don’t.
So spoiler, I, I don’t think, uh, we learn later because she like, remember she’s married to Zane who we know was a. Camper. I assume that she was too, because we see them later, they steal the kids’ phones and hack into them. And we see the two of them laying in bed in their underwear, scrolling through these kids’ pictures and looking at their sexy selfies.
And they each pick, uh, like an underwear shot of one of the campers. And then they start to have sex staring like Zane is staring. Uh, an underwear shot of stew, I think. And, and she is staring at a picture of, of Kim. Yeah, it’s gross. And then they get killed. Like we just, as the, the movie makers have forgotten that this.
Is a slasher movie. we, we know this, we know this because there is the first kill. There’s always the first kill in the slasher movie. And there is in this one too, a woman gets killed on the road, outside of the camp by a masked killer. And this masked killer kind of shows up and just in the background every once in a while, but it’s really not until the last third of the movie.
that the killer really shows
Todd: up. Oh God. Yeah. Like the last 20 minutes. Really? It is so late in the movie that, like you said, you’re forgetting, you’re watching a slasher and that doesn’t happen until after some other ho horrifying things happen.
Craig: Yeah. I mean, one good thing is, you know, Kim is very upset after having been hit on by Sarah.
But it also kind of opens her up to be intimate with, uh, Veronica. They’ve kind of been flirting. They uh they have sex on
Todd: the dock. Yeah. Right out in the middle of the open .
Craig: Yeah. Which is a little, I don’t know. I mean, it’s, it’s kind of a hot sex scene, but at the same time, it’s just kind of nice to see Kim finally accept who she is and, and yeah.
And enjoy herself and enjoy herself and release her inhibitions. And then, you know, yes, they do have sex out there on the dock and it’s sexy and all that stuff, but they have a connection, you know, it’s not like it’s a. It’s just a, a fling, you know, they they’re connected, but now at this point they’ve seen enough, Alexandra and Jordan have seen enough and they’re gonna get out of there and they tell Toby that they’re gonna go.
And Toby’s like, they’re they say, we’re gonna steal the bus. We’re gonna get up real Royal early in the morning and steal the bus and go. And Toby’s like, well, what about the others? What about St? Because he and Stu have also kind of been. A little flirty. And so they decide, okay, well, we’ll wake everybody up and tell them what we’re doing and give them the choice.
And if they wanna go, they can go, but they don’t have to, they can do whatever they want. Then we see St who we know is a swimmer swimming in the lake. He’s gorgeous. I mean, he’s just, you know, a fine figure of a man, but he is joined by Gabriel, who we haven’t mentioned. Gabriel is kind of this androgynous, uh, character.
you know, has, has been there, you know, all along, we just haven’t mentioned him and Gabriel kind of seduces stew and they make out in the lake a little bit and then they move to this creepy ass tool shed that we’ve seen before and have sex, and I’m not gonna get into it because there’s. A, we don’t have time for a lesson and B
Todd: I also know what you’re gonna
Craig: say. B um, it would be a little bit too graphic perhaps for our audience, but it bothers me. The director of this movie is an openly gay man. They never get gay sex right in movies. No, this,
Todd: this would not be able to happen this movie. No,
Craig: no, it doesn’t work
Todd: that way. I was thinking it.
The whole time , from what I understand,
Craig: it really doesn’t work that way in straight sex either. Um, but especi, well, some maybe sometimes if, again,
Todd: depends on the person, but let’s not get too
Craig: graphic about it, but right. You gay sex. It doesn’t just happen like that. Other things need to happen first. right.
Todd: You have to prep. You have to prep a little bit.
Craig: that’s exactly right. But anyway, believe it at that. Uh, okay, so they have sex, but it’s a trap. Apparently Gabriel has been in on it all the time. He’s a plant. He is a plant and he’s there forbidden fruit and he’s there to tempt the guys. And if the guys give into it, um, then they get the real conversion therapy, which.
Clockwork orange, like torture therapy. Yeah. Where they, they strap stew down in this chair. They hook up these electrical wires to his chest, and then they show him images of hot guys and electrocute him Uhhuh and it’s terrible. And it leaves terrible burns on his chest. And apparently you, they nearly kill him.
So they take him to Molly. The. And she is done. She’s like, I’m done. This is ridiculous. I’m gonna call the cops and Kevin Bacon’s like, do whatever you want. Like I’m on the city council or whatever. He’s like, I’m, you know, totally reputable around here. Nobody’s gonna listen to you, which again, scary in and of itself.
Cuz those types of politics do happen all the time. But then the slasher just starts killing. Not everybody but kills, uh, Zane and kills Sarah while they’re in bed together, uh, has already killed BZA the creepy handyman, because he was watching the girl shower on surveillance cameras. Um, and then. Jordan, I think, or somebody stumbles upon all these bodies.
So everybody knows that there’s a killer out there. Cora goes to get some rifles, she gets killed. This all happens so fast. Like, yeah, like they remembered that they needed to have a slasher movie in the last. 15 minutes and Jordan, um, well they send Alexandra off with all the extra campers, the ones whose names, we don’t know, they send her, they, she says I’m, I’m walking out of here.
Um, and they send the other campers with her and then Jordan goes to get the guns finds Cora’s dead body in the closet. And then is hiding in the closet when the main guy, what’s his name? Owen. uh, comes in and Owen is confronted by the killer. And here’s where it’s the big reveal. The killer is Molly, the nurse.
And at this moment, right before the UN masking, I’m thinking, who can it be? Mm-hmm like, it’s surely somebody we know. But I never for a second thought that it would be her. Yeah, me neither because she’s so nice. Uh, but it turns out she was a former camper. She was terribly abused and she has come back to exact her revenge.
And there’s a showdown where like, Jordan, she’s gonna kill Owen, but then Jordan comes out and he. I don’t remember exactly how it goes down, but Molly tries to convince Jordan to kill Owen, um, and says, you know, we can, we can end this. We can, uh, shut down this camp and then we can just keep going. We can go to all the other camps and make sure that nobody ever does this again.
And it’s supposed to be this cathartic moment where Jordan realizes that they. Have to do this. They can make their own decisions and, you know, be the person that they want to be, which is not a killer. But, uh, Molly is still able to first IAL Owen on a rhino horn, cuz there’s heads of animals mounted all over this cabin.
Um, and then, uh, she slits his throat and then the cops show up and that’s pretty much it. Right?
Todd: Yeah. That’s it. There’s nothing. Nothing more to be said, really? They have kind of a little, little, everybody kind of has their little moment and, uh, they’re gonna kind of walk off into the sunset and that’s basically
Craig: walk off into the sunset.
You know, they, they all promise that they’re gonna live their best lives. Like Kim is gonna come out to her parents. And it’s all, maybe it’s a
Todd: little too sappy. I think it’s a little
Craig: trite. It is. It is trite
Todd: and yeah. Trite is the
Craig: word. Yeah. I, I, I do wanna say that I really. Enjoyed Anna Clumsky performance.
Oh yeah. She seemed like a broken person, not a bad person. Somebody who had been driven, you know, had been driven to this. Yeah. Due to the abuse that she had suffered at this camp. And she talks about that. She talks about how, uh, she had been broken by them. And, and again, I think that that not. People who go to these types of camps or any kind of behavior or a version type camp or whatever.
I, I think that people can be scarred psychologically, um, and have to live with those wounds for the rest of their lives. Uh, again, not that they’re all gonna turn into masked killers, but I do think that it’s a good allegory for the way that these people can be. Broken and, uh, you know, so that, you know, like, like you said, they’re all gonna walk off into the sunset cue pink
Todd: again, come on, please.
Why? I mean, look at the end of the day, I, you know, it’s not a bad movie as a horror movie. It’s not that great, honestly, but we’ve seen so much worse. I, I was a little disappointed. I thought the movie had more promise than it delivered. It wasn’t very well reviewed. Uh, I, I didn’t get a chance to read why I didn’t, I don’t know if you did, did you get to read why people didn’t care for it too much?
Craig: Well, I mean, for the reasons that we’ve said that, you know, it’s a little uneven, it’s a little unbalanced. Um, some felt that it was a little preachy, which I don’t think, but I can understand how somebody. I, I don’t think it’s an unfair argument. I think maybe the reason that I’m reluctant to call it preachy is because that has a negative connotation.
I, I do think that there’s an intentional message, but I agree with and support the message. So it doesn’t come across as preachy to me, I think it’s an important message. And, and I think that this is a good movie for queer kids, you know, to yeah. To see. You know, maybe somebody like them represented in film in an honest and, and fair way.
And to not just be a gag or a victim or a killer, you know, like the, the other, when I think, uh, transgender horror movie, I think of sleepaway camp and. You know, I, I like that movie. I think it’s a great cult classic movie, but it equates being transgender with being mentally unbalanced and, and that’s yeah, that’s often how being queer is portrayed in these types of movie or it’s portrayed as the joke.
You know, there’s the funny gay sidekick, which again, I’m not personally offended by, but I can understand how that would be tiresome for some people.
Todd: What was the slasher movie that we watched at Halloween? It was the other very overtly queer film. What was it? Uh, Helland Helland. Yes. When I think of Helland, actually I think hell Ben was better than this movie.
Craig: was a more direct, scary movie. And again, I think that it was fair in its representation. I mean, this, these were, it was fair
Todd: and, and also casual, more casual in its representation right now.
Craig: The main characters, the main characters just happen to be gay, you know, like
Todd: that. Exactly. And so like everything kind of like, you know, their characterizations were quite natural and natural surroundings and context.
But of course, you know, if that movie had happened at a conversion camp, it probably would’ve been slightly different. Yeah. Because the context is different. So the characters are gonna be talking about it more and they’re forced to confront it themselves. And you know that that’s gotta co play out on screen.
So, I mean, I’ll give it that kind of allowance, but I, I still felt like perhaps the movie was just a little too and you’re right. Preachy. Isn’t the right word. Just maybe some, sometimes it was just a little too on the nose. It felt like maybe it was trying a little too hard at times. Fair enough, but you know, uh, there aren’t enough movies out there trying to do any of this stuff.
So, and it was, it was sensitive and it was fair and it was honest in its representation. I felt, I thought so. So yeah, it had had all that going for it. Despite the fact that I, I was like, oh, come on pink, just back off just a little bit. in service to reality. , you know? Yeah. Not that I require a lot of reality out of my horror movies,
Craig: you know?
Sure, sure. Yeah. Yeah. I, I agree. You know, I liked the movie overall, um, but it was a little bit li it was a little bit light on. The horror conventions. Yeah. And the horror conventions were very typical. I mean, it’s just a, a masked killer at, at a, at a summer camp, you know,
Todd: and, and electrical torture in the creepy ass cabin.
yeah. You know, even the, even the creepy ass cabin, I, I kind of rolled my eyes at, I was like, real, like, they’ve got this one cabin. On the property that just stands there and looks like, you know, the whole family from Texas chainsaw massacre could be residing inside of it. I, I would’ve expected their torture chamber to be a little more hidden than that, but, you know, right.
Whatever, not unlocked so that you could just stumble into it. And for. Find chains and hooks and things hanging around, which is exactly, um, what that cabin is like, you know, yeah. I would thought if they, I thought they were trying to make a joke at first when they stumbled into that cabin. But no, I mean, it was a serious thing.
Craig: I think that the movie will be polarizing for horror fans. I think that there will be those of us who appreciate what they were trying to do, even if it wasn’t a bullseye. But then I think that there will be others who feel that it wasn’t horror enough that it was too focused on messaging and, and some of the horror elements were.
I thought it was good. I thought the performances were good. Um, I really, really liked the young cast. Um, they were endearing it, their, their performances. Respectful and real and honest. And I liked that. Uh, is it great? No, but I think it was good and I’m glad to have seen it and I might even watch it again at some point.
Todd: Well, thank you again for listening. And if you enjoyed this episode, please share with the friend. Please let us know of any other. Films you would like us to do in the future. You can just leave us a message on our webpage. Two guys, red 40 n.com or, uh, shoot us a tweet on Twitter or our Facebook page.
Just search for two guys in a chainsaw podcast, and you’ll find any of those there. Also, if you’re a fan of the podcast, please consider supporting us on Patreon. You can just go to patreon.com/chainsaw podcast until next time I am
Craig: Todd and I’m Craig
Todd: with Two Guys and a Chainsaw.
- toddkuhns on Don’t Open Til Christmas
- Leeia on Don’t Open Til Christmas
- Alec Bolas on Monster House
- Alec Bolas on Home Movie
- toddkuhns on Monster House
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.