If you’re a fan of gay adult films and slasher flicks, you should check out Knife + Heart, a newly released erotic horror in which a murderous leatherman targets adult film actors in 1979 Paris.
Directed by gay Frenchman Yann Gonzalez, the film follows Anne Parèze, a soft-core adult film director who is also lesbian. She hires actors from gay bars and construction sites to star in her artistic, non-explicit films. The films juxtapose twinks in briefs alongside dreamlike images (like a burning cabin).
Her dreamlike aesthetic bleeds into the movie itself as a stranger in a leather mask begins hunting and killing her actors with a bladed dildo. (Because sure, why not?)
As Parèze becomes obsessed with the slayings — even weaving aspects of the murders and police investigations into her upcoming film project, Homocidal — her dangerous desire to unmask the killer could get herself and her actors killed.
Horror fans will recognize references to William Friedkin’s very gay and leathery 1980 slasher Cruising as well as the technicolor dreaminess and eroticism of 1960s and ‘70s Italian giallo horror films.
Knife + Heart played at Cannes and has gotten mixed reviews. It’s melodramatic, comedic, stylish and violent. (Variety liked it more than ScreenDaily.com.) But if you’re okay with arty films that meander a bit, you’ll probably like it.
And if not, you can always enjoy Gonzales himself because he’s an up-and-comer worth watching.
He’s a scruffy journalist-turned-director who has created a slew of queer erotic films, including the 2013 favorite You and the Night, a film which follows several characters at a hotel orgy.
Gonzales’ brother is the main musician behind the electronic music group M83 — the band scored the soundtrack for Knife + Heart.
In an interview with Desist Film, Gonzales explained the childhood origins of his interest in erotic horror.
“In the way my parents talked to me about films, especially horror films … they were keeping them a little bit secret, telling me that I was forbidden to watch them, and of course that kind of aroused me in an erotic way, you know?”
He continues, “Because all the secrecy of this forbidden cinema, I couldn’t see images so I was making up stories in my mind…. I think everything (my cinema) started with a fantasy, a fantasy of watching films that I couldn’t’ watch, and just being aroused by this secrecy of cinema, nightmares that I would discover later.”
Here’s the trailer for Knife + Heart: