Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a rewatch.
The Throbbing: Stranger by the Lake
One of the most talked-about films of 2014 (or 2013, for folks living in France), Stranger by the Lake might be the film Alfred Hitchcock would have made if he’d been allowed to show gay sex in his movies…if indeed Hitch had a stomach for it. The film follows Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps), a horny gay man fond of frequenting a gay nude beach in France. One day he meets Michel (Christophe Paou), and the two have an instant, electric attraction for one another.
Then Franck sees Michel kill a man. What would have sent many a sane queer man packing instead seems to excite Franck even more, even after the police arrive on the scene. More than that we won’t reveal here, other than to say that the film doesn’t shy away from graphic scenes of eroticism (supposedly the sex scenes are not faked), or violence.
Much in the tradition of Blue Velvet or Rear Window, Stranger by the Lake examines the strange connections between sex, violence, and death. Just how different are the excitements of fear and sexual attraction? Dark, twisted and taut with suspense, we recommend the film as a good way to welcome the Halloween spirit…or as a date night feature. Whether it leads to crazy sex or somehow puts the kibosh to any follow-up dates may vary…