Category Archives: GLBT Film

“THE GHOSTS”— A Look Within

“The Ghosts” (“Les Fantomes”)

A Look Within

Amos Lassen

For me, the greatest perk to reviewing is the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. In 2011, I reviewed a little German film, “Alex and Leo” that was written by Andre Schneider who also played the part of Alex. I found the film to be beguiling (I also used that word in my review some seven years ago) even though the film was far from perfect. I hurt from Schneider after I posted my review and thus began an online friendship that I count as one of the important friendships in my life. We have never met but I follow his work and I see the changes that Schneider makes along his way to be a top film director (not like Spielberg or Fassbinder) of films that reflect our community. I am always flattered when he asks my opinion about something he has done and this takes us to “The Ghosts”.

“The Ghosts” is a small movie and as such it reflects what we hold in our minds. Nicolas (André Schneider) is a very successful novelist who has moved into the Paris apartment where his late grandmother once lived. He soon finds that the apartment foster anxiety and apparitions. Nicolas is a loner and actually only has one friend, Madge (Judith Magre), an elderly woman who has the ability to soothe him with words. Natalie knows just what to say and is well aware that she is talking to a man in the arts and she is well aware of the temperament of artists so she stays away from saying anything that can bring about disillusionment.

Natalie understands that Nicolas is gay and she tells him (after his having sex with an escort) that he must find a wife because companionship is so much more important than the instant gratification that comes with sex. Natalie is an advocate of respectability and while she is quite narrow in how she sees it, it fits perfectly into Nicolas’s new living arrangement that reflects his grandmother’s and not his own life.

Then there is the strange young man who shows himself at the apartment and Nicolas realizes that there are times when he sees him and there are times he cannot. He sometimes sees this man in his nightmares. This reaches the point of upsetting Nicolas to the point that he calls the police but this only lands him in an even stranger situation.

We learn that Nicolas is Austrian thus making him “a target for the wrath and contempt of the racist police officers, just as he’s a handy whipping boy for the rages of a continually dissatisfied neighbor.” Now the question arises—is Nicolas truly being haunted and if he is who is doing the haunting and why.

The mood of the film is established quickly with the opening of the drama, we see a metronome clicking and watch Nicolas as he sets out his tea service in the way it has been done for many years. We immediately are aware that something is missing in Nicolas and that his isolation is affects whatever he does. It also appears that he suffers with some kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

We see a very strange and tense meeting of Nicolas and a hustler (rent boy) named Guillaume (Pierre Emö). We are to believe that Guillaume is there as a substitute for Nicolas’ regular escort, but we also get a sense that maybe this had been planned all along. In effect, it is Guillaume provides lightness to a very dark film. He is raw in his sexuality yet he comes across with an innocence and naiveté.

From what I know of Schneider, I see where he found the idea about Nicolas who like so many of us is concerned that his life is moving quickly and past him. Schneider tells us that “The Ghosts” is, among other things, definitely about the fear of death, the fear of not having lived before you die, and the fear of being alone… or not being alone.There are hints that the apartment is haunted, and we wonder whether the many people who come into Nicolas’s life are ghosts. Perhaps they have something to say about how the new world seems to be. Is it indeed haunting that we see or is it the results of alienation? It certainly is a reflection of what is happening in both Europe and North America nowadays.

You have undoubtedly noticed that I have not tries to explain the film or said much about the plot, if there even is one. I am not sure that I can explain what we see here because I have a feeling that this is a very personal film for Schneider. I suspect everyone that sees it will come away with their own idea of what happens here and to me that is the sign of a good film. As for what I see here, all I can say is that I am still thinking about it. Schneider told me that this is his last film. I hope that is not true but if it is, I wish him the best. I have a feeling that we will still be in touch.

“YOU WILL BE MINE”— In the Big City

“YOU WILL BE MINE”

In the Big City

Amos Lassen

Marie (Judith Davis) is an inexperienced country girl who moves to the big city to study piano at the conservatory. She is very pretty but she is also naïve and innocent. She will not be entirely alone as she will be moving in with Emma (Isild Le Besco) who was her childhood friend. Emma’s father has recently passed away and her artist mother allegedly moved to New York, leaving her alone in the family’s luxurious Lyon apartment. The childhood friendship sort of ended when Marie failed to return phone calls however, in the excitement of starting at France’s second most prestigious music school, Marie’s innocent excitement allows her to get lost in her situation.

As time passes, Marie and Emma become close friends and Emma seems to be maternal in her caretaking of the less independent Marie but Marie feels trapped. Having had flirtations with course mate Sami, Marie seems keen to explore her developing sexual urges with Sami, a friend from the conservatory but Emma disapproves and makes a no visitors policy a house rule, with Marie breaking it at the very first opportunity. After a disastrous night out, in which Marie’s overt sex appeal brings unwanted attention, Emma comforts her shell-shocked friend. With her studies effected, Marie leaves the apartment for home but restarting a relationship with d Sami (Johan Libereau), she returns to the apartment where the tension remains unbearable.

Director Sophie Laloy’s gets beautifully crafted performances from both Davis and Le Besco makes for compelling viewing. The cold nature of Emma contrasts wonderfully with the warm nature of her Marie. The film is beautiful set to classical symphonies of Mozart, Bach, Chopin and Ravel.

The intimate bond that the two women shared eventually developed into an intense sexual relationship. But as Emma grows more possessive and controlling, Marie struggles to reconcile her feelings of desire with the need to escape Emma’s suffocating passion.

“BODY OF DECEIT”— Where is Truth?

“Body of Deceit”

Where is Truth?

Amos Lassen

“Body of Deceit” is one of those movies that are difficult to review. If I say too much I ruin the viewing experience for other for others so this will be a short review.

Some years ago, Alice (Kristanna Loken) was in a terrible accident that left her in a coma in Malta where she was staying with her husband Max (Antonio Cupo), leaving her in a coma for two weeks. Upon waking up, Alice could not remember the accident or anything about Malta. Now she works as a ghostwriter for a best-selling author, but she has been suffering from depression, cryptic nightmares and writer’s block. Max persuades Alice to return to Malta and perhaps something will unblock her mind so she can start working again and meet her last deadline.

Arriving at a beautiful Maltese villa, the couple is welcomed by the beautiful Sara (Sarai Givaty), who Max has hired to help around the house. Sara immediately forms a friendship with Alice, though they are two completely different women. Sara is sensual and self-assured while Alice is mysterious and insecure. Soon after this, a stranger, Castellano (Giulio Berruti), begins snooping around the villa, spying on Sara, talking to Alice and exchanging items with a local policeman. We begin to wonder whether everyone is who they seem to be, or is there a different version of the truth?

From that brief synopsis, you should understand why I can’t say more. We sit on the edge of our seat as we watch but also realize that we really have no idea about what is going on.

“SUFFERING OF NINKO” (“Ninkō no hunan”)— An Irresistible Priest


 

“SUFFERING OF NINKO” (“Ninkō no junan”)

An Irresistible Priest

Amos Lassen

Ninko (Masato Tsujioka) is a Buddhist priest who is cursed to be sexually irresistible to all around him. He is a novice Buddhist monk living during the Edo period, based at Enmei-ji, a temple in the mountains. He is, in fact, an ideal monk, adhering to asceticism to learn his religion, dutifully cooking, cleaning, and praying every day. Despite his diligence he has a problem – Ninko attracts females and his popularity is truly astounding. When he travels to the local villages asking for alms a cry goes out, “Ninko’s come!” and he is mobbed by many fawning female fans forcing their way past the other monks so they can get their hands on him.

We see him swamped by a wave of beauties bounding in from the bathhouses and back alleys of the town and from the mountain’s forests and it looks great for anyone interested in the fairer sex. For a Buddhist monk, however, sex with women is a sin so it’s not so great for Ninko.

But it isn’t just the ladies who have taken a liking to Ninko. Two monks have their sights set on bedding Ninko and this vexes him just as much. He blames himself for the lust and suffering he causes in others. He feels he needs more training and that he is not virtuous enough. The head of his temple notes that Ninko has dark desires of his own which he must face and conquer if he wants to put others at ease. These dark desires attract a faceless demon that sets from a series of horrific visions that force Ninko to act.

This demonic meeting leads to a journey that takes the film from ribald comedy to dark horror as Ninko meets Kanzo, the manslayer who takes him on a demon-hunting quest. Their mission is to kill Yama-onna, a sexy lady in red rags who lures men with her physical form into having sex during which she sucks their vitality out. The narrative brings Ninko face-to-face with this creature.

The film goes from live-action to animation and draws upon traditional Japanese arts and crafts. Shoji screens, ukiyo-e, and Buddhist illustrations are some of the techniques used to deliver the story and atmosphere and it is done with ease because Norihiro Niwatsukino, a director, writer, producer, special effects supervisor, and animator has used many mediums from film to animation. He brings visual elegance here so that while the cinematography seen on screen might not be mind blowing, the film remains visually engaging. Ninko may not travel to too many different places but the landscape illustrations that depict Ninko’s travels are vividly drawn. Animation is used quite often and it’s exciting at times such as a surreal sequences of slow motion chases led by women in a village that is alternated with interpretive dance that moves back and forth from live-action to animation. The faces of actors are filled with lust before they are transformed into figures that look like they could have come straight from a steamy sex education manual. The use of animation, song and dance, and drama highlight the film’s genre breaking form that makes it so enjoyable. You will want to know whether Ninko conquers his inner-demons and overcomes the lust of others and all I can say is that the ending will take the audience by surprise.

Norihiro Niwatsukino plunges the viewers into the world of Edo-era Japan making them the witnesses of a weird, surreal clash between celibacy (read: repressed sexuality) and libidinous desires (posing as a dark side of sorts).

This is a fairy tale that takes a comedic turn, borrows a road-movie trope or two, flirts with folklore-inspired horror and ends on an ecstatic note, all the while defying genre classification and filled with potential to become a cult film. The film

blends softcore erotica with a sensual dance performance, bringing ancient manuscripts to life through short animated vignettes that are both naughty and beautiful. They also reflect the unrestrained creativity of their author who is credited as producer, director, writer, editor, animator and VFX supervisor.

“THREESOMETHING”— When Three Is Not a Crowd

“Threesomething”

When Three is Not a Crowd

Amos Lassen

It is good to laugh about sex every now and then and, in effect, we all do so (just not publicly). What could be a great humorous premise for a film then three friends having sex together? First we meet Charlie and Isaac who are best friends yet want to take that friendship to a new level. It is not so difficult to imagine what that level and I understand that between best friends, everything goes… or does it? Everything has changed so quickly regarding sex that there seem to be no taboos left (with the exception of passing gas loudly at a charity function. They will not remember your donation to the charity but you can bet your life that your tootin’ will not be forgotten.

Charlie (Sam Sonenshine) and Isaac (James Morosini) invite Charlie’s friend Zoe (Isabelle Chester) over for dinner and explain that what they really want is for her to join them in a threesome. She is stunned at first but she soon becomes intrigued with the idea. (After all, it is an interesting alternative to desert). Zoe agrees but then cannot decide whether she is only interested in the physical or is looking for love. As you can imagine, this is a comedy yet it gives us things to think about. What we know about sex, intimacy and friendship has certainly changed since our parents were dating and how we got to know each other. Did Zoe and the guys not think that this could get a little weird?

Zoe is a free spirit, a cosmic bohemian wild woman, if you will, who is living in a glass tree house and actually just trying to get herself together. Zoe and Isaac fall in love, fast and hard while Charlie has a crisis of masculinity. It seems to me that our three characters are looking for something that is out of reach and are trying to understand what is best for them. There is a great ending coming which I will not share but if comes only after self-searching and examination. There are some risqué moments here and even though our two male leads play straight men, there is a good deal of homo eroticism, as we might expect. The two guys are good looking and make nice eye candy in various states of undress.

Check back with me in a couple of weeks, all of my opinions could very likely change.

“50 YEARS OF FABULOUS”— The Imperial Court

“50 Years of Fabulous”

The Imperial Council

Amos Lassen

“50 Years of Fabulous” is a fascinating documentary that celebrates what makes San Francisco a unique, powerful, and heartwarming home for the LGBTQ community. Filmmaker Jethro Patalinghug does this through concentrating on the vibrant history of the Imperial Council, the oldest LGBTQ charity organization in the world.

The Imperial Council was founded in San Francisco by activist and drag queen José Sarria, (who was also the first openly gay man to run for political office in the United States), in 1961 and since then the Council has helped shape LGBTQ life and history in San Francisco. Each year, the colorful Council crowns an Emperor and Empress who become the faces of the non-profit group. The Imperial Council celebrates unity, pride and a dedication to helping others as it advocates for human rights, hosts rousing events, and generates s lot of money for Bay Area charitable organizations.

The documentary combines historical footage and photos with contemporary interviews and delightful performances, spotlighting gay culture that shows the group’s impact, as well as some of the challenges it currently faces.

 Director Patalinghug takes a look at the history of the organization history as it celebrates its 50 year anniversary and now starts to question if there is still place for it in today’s LGBTQ community.

Sarria believed that the community should not just come out of the shadows but be proud of what he called the nobility of being gay. Thus the Court system was created with a system of royal titles to recognize the roles that its members would play.  He intended that the Court would join with other LGBT organizations and lead the move to equal rights.

The organization is part social, part political but its real greatness is as a dynamic fundraising operation that would help fund crucial LGBT services and charities.  It naturally really came into its own during the AIDS Epidemic which devastated their hometown far more than most.  By mounting daily events it raised much-needed millions of dollars to help people pay for medications, rent and even funeral services.

The Council/Court excels in all its traditions especially the annual election and coronation of its Empress & Emperor who must use their year in office to not just further the cause but raise a substantial amount of money.  They all dress up in their elaborate regal drag with their huge wigs topped off with crowns and tiaras, and even the Emperors get to sport gold laurel leaf crowns.

Patalinghug interviews some of the Courts past Empresses and Emperors and what we see is their happiness of being a part of this rather wonderful old organization.  It includes a clip from a 2004 interview with Sarria himself, but the most moving part of the film by far is his funeral held in a Cathedral with the entire Court in their best black drag and dressed up to the nines in his honor.

The latter part if the film is given over to discussing how the LGBT community has both evolved and embraced this new age of technology giving us different perspectives on how we now congregate and interact with each other.  

“BUDDIES”— A Gay Classic Restored— The First Film About AIDS

“Buddies”

A Gay Classic Restored— The First Film About AIDS

Amos Lassen

“Buddies” has finally been released on DVD/Blu ray and as the first film about AIDS, it deserves a special place in the LGBT cinema canon. It looks at friendship and love and what was known about AIDS when it was released in 1985 (which was early on in the pandemic).

 The plot is relatively simple. A gay man, David, who is in a happy monogamous relationship, becomes a buddy to another gay man, Robert, who is dying from AIDS. As they get to know each other, they become closer and closer. The film was written and directed by Arthur Bressan, Jr. who was himself an AIDS victim and died soon after.

David (David Schachter), a naive graduate student, has volunteered to work as a ‘buddy’ for people dying of AIDS. He is assigned to the intensely political Robert (Geoff Edholm), a lifelong activist whose friends and family have abandoned him following his diagnosis. The two men, each with notably different world views, soon discover common bonds, as David’s inner activist awakens and Robert’s need for emotional release is fulfilled. Independent filmmaker Bressan Jr.’s “Buddies” is an intensely personal study of love, death, and the need for activism during the earliest years of the AIDS crisis.

 This is a movie that will make you weep and tear you up and for many this film was how they learned about AIDS. With excellent acting and a literate script, the film is a must-see. The climax is shattering and it is almost impossible to see this film without crying. It is powerful and depressing yet it is also uplifting. The film brings the viewer to the situation that gay men were coming to terms with as we see how people are forced to look at their prejudices. Watching it, you will probably be shocked to see how those who had AIDS were treated.

David begins to see Robert’s politics and he becomes aware that his community is being killed off. Bressan wrote this film in five days and then shot it in nine and the film comes across as being extremely personal. He tried to bring public attention to the epidemic but the movie became his swan song and his legacy.

This was Bressan’s last film and he was lost to AIDS just two years after finishing filming. For the longest time it was almost impossible to see “Buddies”. It had a brief theatrical release but was never officially released on home video. I am lucky enough to have a copy of it that was taped during one of is few cable television showings. Now, come July, 2018 during ‘ “Buddies” is finally making its home video debut. It has newly restored from its long lost 16mm negative, courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome and available in a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack with special features that include interviews with co-star David Schachter and film historian Thomas Waugh original trailer, production photos and articles.

“MALE SHORTS: INTERNATIONAL V1”— Five Short Films

“Male Shorts: International V1”

Five Short Films

Amos Lassen

Is too bad that most of us do not get to see the many LGBT short films that are made every year. We usually have to wait until a releasing company puts out an anthology DVD. Breaking Glass Pictures bring us volume 1 of a new collection and gives us hope that there will be more volumes coming. I am always amazed at how some people can do in a short film what others cannot do in a full length feature. This collection is made up of five short films focusing on men, including “Just Past Noon On A Tuesday,” “La Tepette (The Mousetrap),” “The Storm (La Tempete),” “Neptune,” and “PD.” Each short is presented in its native language (Portuguese, French or English) with English subtitles for all.

Just Past Noon on a Tuesday

Two strangers visit the penthouse of a recently deceased lover, only to find themselves learning more about each other.

La Tepette (The Mousetrap)

Baptiste is a gay man who can’t stop dreaming about a woman who works at a local pub. His desire for her makes him go on a journey that he could have never imagined.

The Storm (La Tempete)

Leo fantasizes about his weather forecaster. His obsession may be realized when he meets Luca. The night they spend together will take them through both desires and doubts that last into the early morning hours.

Neptune

A chance encounter with another swimmer at a local pool develops into an obsession. But the city has many opportunities for sex. Follow the growing desire between Sandro and Maicon.

PD

A cruising area takes on majestic proportions as we discover Greek-esque male bodies in the forest. The sonnets 18, 57, 20 by William Shakespeare add to the “Midsummer Night’s Dream”-like ambiance of the film.

“RIVERDALE”— The Complete Second Season— Archie and the Gang Are Back

“Riverdale: The Complete Second Season”

Archie and the Gang Are Back

Amos Lassen

Based on the characters from Archie Comics, “Riverdale” is a subversive take on small-town life. Archie is determined to protect the sanctity of his town in the wake of his father’s shooting (final episode of season 1). In season two Archie is seeking vengeance and as a civil war brews between the Northside and the Southside, loyalties will be divided. Betty and Jughead’s relationship enters fragile terr. Betty becomes plagued by the news of her long-lost brother. Kevin Keller, Archie’s gay pal, finds a new love and Veronica finds her life upended by her father Hiram’s arrival given that it’s their first reunion since his arrest and Archie’s rivalry with Reggie grows. This is certainly not the Riverdale of the comic books. In the season opener, Jughead (Cole Sprouse) is eating a hamburger in Pop’s with a pool of blood still glistening on the floor after a masked man shot Fred Andrews (Luke Perry). Then Archie (KJ Apa) drives his fading father to the hospital. This is a different Archie than season 1. He is more endearing and expressive than ever. He is finally providing ample crush material.

While Archie worries his father, who’s wandering through dream-sequences in the middle space between life and death, Veronica (Camila Mendes) welcomes back her cold, ex-con father (Mark Consuelos). Betty (Lili Reinhart) challenges her mom with stories of her would-be sexual exploits; Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) restricts the air tube from her mother (suffering from severe burns after last season’s Blossom house fire) and hisses that she will now have control over her air, her food, her movements, her life itself.

This is Riverdale filled with drama. Season 2 is not just about a single, isolated murder that needs to be solved; there is now an immediate threat: a masked villain is knocking off people and providing cliffhangers.

The second season of any show is always the most crucial time in any series. It’s the time to prove that the first season actually deserved a renewal. “Riverdale’s” first season was a great blend of murder mystery and teen melodrama with a great whodunit in the middle of the story. The main story of season two revolves around the aftermath in the shooting of Fred Andrews leading to the emergence of a mysterious serial killer named the Black Hood. As Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead try to uncover find out who the masked man is, the killer continues to murder. Veronica’s estranged father Hiram takes Archie under his wing to learn the family business while trying to legitimize it. Tensions rise as the north and south sides begin to show hostility towards one another and Betty’s estranged brother returns home. As the mayoral election approaches and the town stays divided on their decision, the gang must convince many different parties to come together and fight a common enemy.

“Riverdale” takes the whodunit that surrounds the town from “Twin Peaks”, the love triangle and relationships is a mix of “Gossip Girl” and “Dawson’s Creek”, the teen melodrama of small-town America is from “Pretty Little Liars”, the teen detective aspects are from “Veronica Mars” and it is great fun.

As with the first season, “Riverdale’s” main story centers on a murder, but this time there is much more happening behind the scenes. The main four characters deal with their own issues that occasionally overlap and remind us of that this is a campy teen drama. The adult characters play a bigger role this season as the focus shifts from a show about Riverdale the school to Riverdale the town. With the introduction of Veronica’s father, the re-emergence of Archie’s mother and the many familial storylines that play out, the parents become just as important as their kids.

Season 2 takes everything great about the first season and multiplies it while adding more layers to the darkness that surrounds this small town.

Here is an episode guide (without spoilers):

As Fred’s life hangs in the balance following the shooting at Pop’s diner, Archie struggles with the emotional aftermath of what he witnessed. Meanwhile, as Veronica steps out of her comfort zone to support Archie, she learns that her father Hiram has arrived to Riverdale earlier than expected.

Elsewhere, at Pop’s diner, Pop Tate recounts the chilling details of the shooting, which leaves Jughead and Betty questioning the gunman’s true motives. Lastly, after running into Cheryl at the hospital, Betty and Kevin are surprised to learn about the fire at Thornhill.

Chapter Fifteen

With the gunman still at large and the residents of Riverdale on edge, Betty leads the charge to save Pop’s after learning that the diner may be forced to close its doors forever. Meanwhile, the gang becomes increasingly concerned for Archie’s well being after noticing a string of unusual behavior from him.

Elsewhere, Betty and Veronica approach Cheryl and Josie for their help saving Pop’s, while Jughead’s attempt to find FP a new lawyer may have some serious repercussions. Finally, when a past betrayal unexpectedly comes to light, Veronica finds herself at a crossroads with Hiram and Hermoine.

Chapter Sixteen

Frustrated by the lack of progress made in catching his father’s shooter, Archie takes matters into his own hands in order to send the gunman a message. Meanwhile, Veronica is thrilled when Hiram’s attempt to start fresh means she gets to introduce him to her friends, including Archie. Elsewhere, Jughead starts his first day at Southside High and is befriended by a Southside Serpent named Toni, while Kevin’s attempt at having a little fun causes Betty to grow concerned for his safety. Finally, an unexpected turn of events leads the town to realize their darkest chapter may be far from over.

Chapter Seventeen

When Archie’s attempt to take matters into his own hands spirals out of control, Mayor McCoy calls an emergency town hall meeting to deal with the growing chaos in Riverdale. Meanwhile, when Betty finds herself at the center of a deepening mystery, her decision to keep some parts of it from Jughead causes further friction between the two. Elsewhere, Veronica grows concerned for Archie when she realizes the lengths he would go to seek revenge against the person terrorizing Riverdale. Finally, tensions between the North and Southside finally come to a head and leads to an unexpected showdown.

Chapter Eighteen

When Alice publishes a fiery piece in the Riverdale Register blasting the Southside, Jughead is forced to take matters into his own hands to try and keep the peace. Betty turns to Archie for help after receiving an ultimatum that could potentially destroy some of her closest relationships. With their SoDale open house fast approaching, Hiram and Hermoine enlist the help of an unlikely ally to get some potential investors on board. Finally, Veronica welcomes her old friend Nick St. Clair to Riverdale, but his plans for a wild night with the gang quickly takes an unexpected turn.

Chapter Nineteen

After a charge led by Mayor McCoy threatens to further escalate tensions between the North and Southside, Jughead, along with Archie, tries to put a stop to a dangerous alliance being considered between the Serpents and a long-time rival. Betty turns to Veronica for help when she’s thrust into the center of a burgeoning mystery surrounding The Sugarman. Finally, Cheryl confronts her mother Penelope after a traumatic run-in forces her to make a stark realization.

Chapter Twenty

Riverdale remains on edge after a chilling letter from the Black Hood challenges the town’s residents to remain sinless for 48 hours — or he’ll strike again. Meanwhile, Jughead and Archie’s friendship gets tested after Penny Peabody unexpectedly calls in a favor that Jughead owes her. Elsewhere, Betty and Veronica team up to investigate someone who Betty thinks could be the Black Hood killer. Finally, things take an unexpected turn for Josie when a secret admirer takes things one step too far.

Chapter Twenty-One

When Jughead learns that FP is getting released from prison, he and Betty organize a welcome home party with the Serpents to ease him back into his former life. Meanwhile, Archie and Veronica reach a crossroad in their relationship, but are forced to push their issues aside after Jughead and Betty ask them to take over the Black Hood investigation.

Chapter Twenty-Two

After snooping around for Christmas gifts, Veronica uncovers a major secret Hiram has been keeping from her. Fallout from Jughead’s encounter with Penny Peabody creates tension between him and FP. Meanwhile, a defiant Cheryl takes matters into her own hands after Penelope tells her they cannot afford Christmas this year. Finally, Betty and Archie’s vow to take down the Black Hood once and for all leads to a dangerous showdown.

Chapter Twenty-Three

Tensions mount when the sudden shut down of Southside High forces Jughead and his fellow serpents to transfer to Riverdale High. Veronica ensures Hiram and Hermoine that she’s still on board with their plans for SoDale. Archie is conflicted when he is asked to gather some information on Hiram’s suspicious business dealings. Betty sets out on a quest to find her long-lost brother, Chic.

Chapter Twenty-Four

Amidst preparations for the town’s annual Picken’s Day festivities, Jughead interviews Toni’s grandfather and learns some shocking details about Riverdale’s history. In an attempt to get closer to Hiram, Archie tries out for the Riverdale wrestling team after learning of Hiram’s love of the sport. Meanwhile, Betty unearths some dark secrets about her brother Chic, and Veronica and Josie clash as they prepare for their Picken’s Day performance.

Chapter Twenty-Five

As preparations for her confirmation ceremony get underway, Veronica becomes concerned that Archie, who’s agreed to be Hiram’s “intern,” may be learning too much about her family’s secret business dealings. Jughead and FP lead the charge after an incident at Pickens Park leads to increased tensions among the Serpents. Meanwhile, Chic (guest star Hart Denton) helps Betty deal with her inner darkness, while Archie finds himself in over his head after a high-stakes poker game with Hiram’s shady inner-circle goes awry.

Chapter Twenty-Six

Betty turns to Jughead for help when the consequences of a hasty decision come back to haunt her. Veronica organizes a face to face meeting after tensions between Hiram, FP and Jughead spiral out of control. Elsewhere, Archie is forced to make a tough decision after Agent Adams (guest star John Behlmann) takes things one step too far.

Chapter Twenty-Seven

When Hiram suggests that Veronica and Archie head up to their lake house for the weekend, Veronica decides to invite Betty and Jughead to join them. Determined to uncover Hiram’s plans for Riverdale, Jughead uses his time at the lake house to press Veronica about what she may know. Back in Riverdale, Cheryl makes a surprising connection with an unlikely friend, while Josie lands in hot water after revealing a secret to Kevin.

Chapter Twenty-Eight

After learning that his dad is considering running for mayor of Riverdale, Archie begins to grow concerned that the Lodges may have found their newest pawn in Fred. Meanwhile, Betty becomes increasingly suspicious of Chic’s strange behavior and enlists Kevin’s help to figure out what Chic is hiding. Finally, Cheryl and Penelope are surprised when they learn that Clifford left a secret will, and Jughead makes a major discovery in his quest to take down Hiram.

Chapter Twenty-Nine

In the aftermath of Hiram’s newly announced plans for Riverdale, Jughead resorts to drastic measures to voice his opposition. After making her own big announcement, Hermoine’s friend Andy Cohen comes to town to lend a hand. Meanwhile, Veronica goes against her parent’s wishes to keep a low profile when she decides to run for student council president. Elsewhere, Mary arrives in Riverdale just as tensions between Fred and Archie reach a breaking point. Finally, following a series of mysterious events, Cheryl begins to fear that someone is out to get her.

Chapter Thirty

Just as the town’s mayoral race gets underway, Riverdale High’s own student council election heats up. Archie steps up to help after learning that Hiram’s mobster associates have come to Riverdale to stir up some trouble. Meanwhile, things take a dangerous turn for Alice, Betty and Chic when an unexpected guest shows up at the Cooper residence. Finally, Toni, Veronica and Josie team up to solve a strange mystery involving Cheryl.

Chapter Thirty One

As Riverdale High begins rehearsals for its upcoming production of “Carrie the Musical,” the arrival of an ominous letter forces director Kevin to make a difficult decision about the show. Jughead uses his cover as the musical’s documentarian to solve the mystery behind the letter. Meanwhile, tensions between Betty and Veronica continue to escalate just as Alice announces she is joining the musical to spend more time with Betty. Elsewhere, Hiram enacts a devious plan to further drive a wedge between Fred and Archie, while Cheryl channels Carrie White during a showdown with her mother.

Chapter Thirty Two

After an incident at Riverdale High leaves the town on edge, Archie leads the charge to uncover the culprit. Meanwhile, the reveal of a devastating secret leads to a violent showdown between Chic, Jughead, Betty and Alice. Elsewhere, Veronica takes matters into her own hands when someone from her past comes to town seeking revenge. Finally, Hermoine and Cheryl conspire to take down Sheriff Keller.

Chapter Thirty Three

As the town’s mayoral race between Fred and Hermoine heats up, Hiram sets his sights on a new ally – Sheriff Minetta. Betty turns to Cheryl for help when she has a suspicion about the Black Hood. Meanwhile, the reveal of a dark secret forces Archie and Jughead to try and ease tensions between the Bulldogs and Serpents. Finally, on the eve of the mayoral debate, a mysterious message leaves everyone on edge.

Chapter Thirty Four

When an incident at the Sheriff’s station triggers an all-out war between the North and the Southside, Archie and Jughead find themselves in the fight of their lives. Meanwhile Veronica makes a devastating discovery about Hiram, just as someone from his past arrives in Riverdale looking for revenge. Finally, Betty comes face to face with the Black Hood.

Chapter Thirty Five

With Fred trailing in the polls, Archie steps in to lend a hand in his dad’s mayoral campaign. Veronica stays one step ahead after uncovering Hiram’s latest scheme. Elsewhere, Cheryl finalizes her emancipation from her mother, while FP makes a surprising announcement to Jughead and the Serpents. Finally, Betty confronts her darkest demons.

“DEVIL’S PATH”— A LGBT Psychological Thriller

“Devil’s Path”

A LGBT Psychological Thriller

Amos Lassen

LGBT actor Matthew Montgomery moves to the other side of the camera which his direction of “Devil’s Path”, an intriguing and bloody psychological LGBT thriller. Set in 1992 in a large remote forest, we soon learn is a rather notorious cruising area for gay men along a hiking track called Devil’s Path. After several gay hikers have gone missing, part of the main trail has been closed off by the local authorities that cannot find any leads or bodies.  This hasn’t stopped the men seeking some pleasure in the woods. Two strangers, Noah (Stephen Twardokus, also the co-writer with Montgomery of the script) and Patrick (JD Salzo) meet there for the first time.

It does not take long to realize that the two men re opposites and that Noah is not the kind of guy that he is attracted to, yet something is established between them. Later they are suddenly forced off the main trail after a confrontation with other hikers and soon find themselves running for their lives and the only place to hide is in the trees.

I cannot say anymore about the plot except that it is filled with twists and turns and no one is really who we had assumed they are. The tension does not stop and this is wonderful addition to the canon of gay film.