“The city of angels will become our city, the city of darkness…”
Aspiring model Trent is seduced into joining a coven of vamps daylighting as a modelling agency led by “queen bee”, Sheila. You see, these models have learned to communicate their preternatural attraction through the camera lens, compelling anyone who views their photographs to become their prey. When Trent is ‘turned’ and revealed to have supreme power – “power that any man would die to hold” – his image is booked to appear on a billboard high above downtown LA where no-one will be able to resist. The potential feeding frenzy tests his appetite: will Trent join the vamps and dine on the innocent, or will he resist their chiselled attractions and fight back?
BOY CRAZIES is possibly the queerest of the entire 1313 franchise with male vamps feasting exclusively on male flesh. Indeed, watching the vamps pounce on their prey – complete with stock sound FX of a lion’s roar – is the closest you’ll get to homosex in these mostly vanilla movies (which is odd given DeCoteau’s hardcore resumé). If I was writing for a wankier title, I’d talk at length about the ‘gay male gaze’, but with lines like “I’ve never seen such intensity before… it’s like his image is burning a hole through my lens…” the film does all the wanky work for me.
The fourth 1313 flick, BOY CRAZIES was mostly shot in one day, filmed back to back with 1313: ACTOR SLASH MODEL over one hectic weekend. Whilst never breaking his golden rule of one day per contract, DeCoteau takes the opportunity to cram four or five actors into frame. Compared to later editions, when the DeCoteau boy butter gets spread thinly over too much toast, these more crowded scenes add to the drama but, due to serial production shortcomings, the film remains a rather fangless affair.
Boasting a script by Barbara Kymlicka, BOY CRAZIES has a story logic that almost makes interesting sense (as opposed to the narrative soup of 1313: BERMUDA TRIANGLE). It’s also vaguely reminiscent of pre-1313 DeCoteau saga RING OF DARKNESS (2004) – about an undead boy band – and is an actual mansion-bound, gender-inverted reworking of an even earlier effort, BLONDE HEAVEN (1995), a film that also featured this film’s big bad, Monique Parent.
Sadly, Kymlicka wasn’t employed to write enough screenplay for a full-length feature (even by Rapid Heart’s lean body fat). What we’re left with is some gaping holes that DeCoteau fills (randomly) with an enormous amount of Trent wandering around the corridors and balconies of the 1313 mansion in his briefs. Whilst in other 1313 movies this padding can attain a surreal giddiness, here it flatlines, draining a potentially interesting exploitation idea of its energy. Of course, if you’ve seen enough of these, even the glimpse of a previously unrevealed veranda or spiral staircase can be enough to spark a modicum of interest…
The main attraction of this one is undoubtedly Monique Parent as Sheila, a vampire queen possessed with ultimate power (which means the boy vamps can hear her whispering voice in their heads….). She vamps, growls and snarls throughout the film and, apart from an ignoble ending – rushed and under rehearsed like the rest of the movie – gives striking scream queen (“It’s LA, doll. Deal with it!). The scenes when she’s marshaling her fey forces of darkness remain the film’s strongest suit.
Ryan McIntyre shoulders the bulk of the underwear work in this one, getting his steps in around the mansion, writhing on the bed as he ‘turns’, and ultimately getting trussed up by Sheila when he resists. These scenes are partly shot with an unconvincing day-for-night filter that DeCoteau admits on the DVD chat track (1) was his attempt at some kind of lo-fi SUSPIRIA. McIntyre isn’t a great actor – the process of becoming a vampire seems to involve some mild indigestion – but he cums into his own with the ubiquitous 1313 shower scene and a photo shoot (you will join the FX lions when they start roaring…).
Breaking the visual monotony of the franchise’s fetish for white briefs, the vamps benefit from an underwear sponsor for their catwalk show, product placement for some colourful boxer briefs from the range of Marcus Schenkenberg aka “the first male supermodel”. They spend much of the rest of their screen time fully dressed in black.
Like an episode of AMERICA’S NEXT TOP VAMPIRE, Kymlicka’s script makes numerous references to ‘go sees’ and ‘look books’, and the plot even makes sensible use of the titular mansion. If only she’d written a few more pages… Even DeCoteau takes time out during the commentary on this one, texting Ryan McIntyre to tell him how good he was, before abandoning his narrating duties entirely. You are left with the sound of DeCoteau’s fingers tapping away on his phone. You will probably do the same.
IN BRIEF: A reluctant model slash vampire discovers the extent of his preternatural powers.
IN BRIEFS: We get a lot of Trent (aka ‘Buff Twink The Vampire Slayer’) in his briefs, but the other vamps mostly keep their clothes on.
Ryan McIntyre (Trent) makes a reappearance in 1313: BILLY THE KID and has continued to play bit parts (e.g. Naked Guy, Thug #3, Fireman) in various TV movies and series. He plays the intriguing sounding role of ‘Wonder Bread’ in forthcoming horror, THE PREY: LEGEND OF THE KARNOCTUS (2021).
Running through the vamps, Lee Kholafai (Stefan) started his career as a catwalk model and took BOY CRAZIES as his acting debut. Stuff followed, giving him one of the the most extensive filmographies of DeCoteau’s Boys on IMDb. Brendan Lamb (Miquel) started in a Full Moon pic (GINGERBREAD MAN 3: SATURDAY NIGHT CLEAVER as ‘Beef’) before sandwiching JOSHUA TREE, 1951: A PORTRAIT OF JAMES DEAN (as ‘The Swimmer’) between BOY CRAZIES and 1313: HERCULES UNBOUND! (2012) He then disappears from IMDb… Having lobbied DeCoteau to join his gang from the tender age of 17 (he’s 18 in this movie…), Michael Hudson (Vincent) also did 1313: BILLY THE KID for DeCoteau as well as CROOKED ARROWS (2012), TV series FEAR FORCE FIVE (2014 – “Five teenagers are recruited to save their small town from a giant pirate zombie” – the first episode of which starts with a couple of beach babes making out…), and RAISED BY WOLVES (2014).
Monique Parent has appeared in multiple DeCoteaus, including BLONDE HEAVEN (1995) which DeCoteau directed under one of his several pseudonyms, Ellen Cabot. That film has an interesting plot summary on IMDb: “A coven of vampires operates out of a modelling/escort agency known as Blonde Heaven.” Sound familiar? Parent also returns in 1313: UFO INVASION (a TOKEN HOMO favourite), and is best known for her body of erotic works, featuring titles such as LUST: THE MOVIE (1997) and THE WITCHES OF BREASTWICK (2005).
Screenwriter Barbara Kymlicka is most recently credited for the not what you’d think DOUBLE DADDY – “a teen’s life turns upside down when her boyfriend impregnates both her and a new student at school” – and it’s pseudo sequel, DOUBLE MOMMY – “Ryan discovers his friend Brent is the father of one of his girlfriend’s twins babies and that he date raped her at a party over the summer.” (IMDb).
READING (between the lines…)
(1): 1313: BOY CRAZIES (2011), DVD Commentary Track, David DeCoteau, Rapid Heart.
Screened late from DVD, 29 NOV 2020.