Review: ‘Beverly Kills’

Same-sex love story with a mass-murder subplot answers the burning question, "Do muscular, naked young men performing delectably silly musical numbers belong in such a movie?" with a resounding "Gosh, you bet!" Rambunctious tale is gung-ho yet basted in irony. Flags a bit, but anyone sympathetic to the Rainbow Flag is unlikely to mind.

A sweetly optimistic same-sex love story with a mass-murder subplot, “Beverly Kills” answers the burning question, “Do muscular, naked young men performing delectably silly musical numbers belong in such a movie?” with a resounding “Gosh, you bet!” Rambunctious tale of an aging drag queen who vows revenge on greater Hollywood when she’s not cast in Pride Playhouse’s youthful revue, “Balls Out!”, is gung-ho yet basted in irony. Writer-helmer Damion Dietz’s follow-up to campy delight “Fag Hag” (2000) flags a bit here and there, but anyone sympathetic to the Rainbow Flag is unlikely to mind.

To get back at those unable to appreciate her alleged talents, fortysomething Beverly Jackson (Gary Kelley) starts a cult of deadly “celebrity” impersonators. Typical touches include a flaky broad whose audition song is “I’m Gonna Fuck My Way to the Top” and a dancer who speaks no English but is named Strip (“after John Travolta’s character in ‘Moment by Moment'”). Closing credits relay amusing fates, concluding with the sensible disclaimer that “the people, places, and events were fake. Everything was a coincidence.”

Beverly Kills

Production

A New Media Entertainment production. (International sales: Troma, New York.) Produced by Damion Dietz, Elyse Rogers, Stephanie Orff, Stephanie Kirchen. Directed, written by Damion Dietz.

Crew

Camera (color), Peter Hawkins; editor, Vince Filippone; music, Jeffery Alan Jones; lyrics, Dietz; production designer, Kathleen Finch; costume designer, Hannah Ainsley; choreographer, "Red" Savage. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 19, 2005. (Also in Dances With Films -- opener.) Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Rick Sparks, Gary Kelley, Keith Bearden, Patrick Allen, Marlon Pfeiffer, Burton Rhodes, Jill Pappas, Brian Brooks, Ross Graves, Peter Valvel, Craig Lucas, Mark Simich, Stephanie Orff.

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