J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

NewFest ’15: You’re Killing Me

Even the reality TV obsessed youtube video-producing George and Barnes find Maya Angelou’s bromides ridiculously cheesy. However, they probably should take the one about “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time” a bit more to heart. Unfortunately, they assume good-looking Joe Palmer is joking whenever he talks about being a serial killer. Oh, but he’s not kidding. As a result, their circle of friends will dramatically contract in Jim Hansen’s pretty damn funny gay slasher comedy, You’re Killing Me (trailer here), which screens as part of the inaugural Queer Horror Night at this year’s NewFest.

Palmer doesn’t really know his pop culture references, because he was just released from the nut house. It seems his treatment didn’t take. In the past, he only killed small animals, but he is about to graduate to people. Since he is not comfortable with sex, he will just kill his new boyfriend instead. At least the late Andy puts him onto George and Barnes’ videos. When Palmer makes a point of bumping into him, George assumes it is a meet-cute, but he really is stalking him. In fact, Palmer has an endless supply serial killer jokes. George thinks they are a riot, but they are the cold, hard truth. Eventually, Barnes starts to suspect something is not right about Palmer, but by that point, the bodies are really starting to pile up.

Frankly, YKM skewers our contemporary reality TV-viral video obsessed society with more wit and satiric insight than just about any recent comedy, regardless of orientation. Hansen never really nostalgically calls back to fan favorite horror films of years gone by, but he is certainly not stingy when it comes to blood and guts. Essentially, the humor operates on two levels, blood splattered slapstick and highly exaggerated but still wickedly smart cultural criticism. If that isn’t enough for you, Mindy Cohn from The Facts of Life also shows up at the darnedest time.

Yet, despite the gory nuttiness, YKM still has a good heart. In large measure, this is due to the riffing camaraderie of George and Barnes’ friendship. Co-writer Jeffery Self and Bryan Safi are terrific as the aspiring celebrities. Self also maintains the energy level almost single-handedly when playing off Matthew McKelligon’s suspiciously reserved Palmer.

YKM’s characters are mostly gay (and they probably have to be, because not a lot of straight guys are so well versed on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), but the humor is blackly universal. If you enjoy films like Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, you should dig it just as much or more. Highly recommended for horror mash-up fans, You’re Killing Me screens this Sunday (10/25) at the Chelsea Bowtie, as part of NewFest 2015.

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