Friday, July 14, 2006

Let's talk about A.I.D.S. - City in Panic (1986) Canada - plus Hep C warning

Snakes: In this guys column, Diarrhea of a Madman, the Captain Ahab video video for the song from the Snakes on the Brain soundtrack is described by a writer who was on set as well and in fact plays a part in the video.

L.A. news: I found the cheapest place to buy used DVDs in L.A. and it's not Amoeba. Today I picked up Kong Island for three dollars. Lots of three dollar DVDs at this place. Most DVDs from the last few years are between four and seven dollars. Horror shit is generally cheaper, though the selection is totally random. Oh yeah, where? 20/20 Video.

City in Panic: I thought this 1986 slasher about A.I.D.S. in the city was amazing. Sure the shots are a little awkward at times and certain scenes play like fan tributes to classic movies, but Canadian director Robert Bouvier did a lot of stuff right.

I should mention that the movie is allegedly available on a low-priced DVD bundle called Serial Psychos with what looks like five recent shot-on-video full lengths that have never appeared elsewhere. I hope for the fans sake that this movie looks sharp in that package and that they did not chop it up or anything. They probably stuck a new name over the title shot as City in Panic has another name in this bundle. The titles, opening and closing, are particularly silly looking on the Trans World Entertainment tape, appearing as if they were made on the kind of tape-to-tape video editing equipment they had at schools in the pre-digital days. That aside, the picture on the tape looks great so I don't know why they paired it with credits you usually see filling out shot-on-video movies.

The homage's to Fritz Lang's M and Psycho are a little odd, the M one being a major plot element as the killer is inspired by that movie and even goes by the name "M". Bouvier replicates the Psycho shower scene with a man instead of a woman in one of the movies opening scenes. Nearly all of the victims are men. Most are gay men all nearly all of them have A.I.D.S., as the killer's motive has something to do with this. I don't want to give it away completely, but the A.I.D.S. issue here is at the heart of the movie, a movie made when talk about A.I.D.S. was more taboo - though I'm not sure how much more, I was young at the time. I don't know when A.I.D.S. prevention became mainstream. Recently I've heard Reagan criticized for not mobilizing against the disease until it was too late for many gay man who had already become infected. There are gays today who insist that A.I.D.S. is a gay disease and that the public should hold this view, not to blame gays, but to acknowledge that the reason A.I.D.S. became an epidemic right under our noses is because people turned a blind eye to homosexuals during the early days of their plight and still do so today. Next America is gonna be hit hard by Hepatitis C, not exclusive to gays by any means. Not that this puts a whole in the gay theory about A.I.D.S. being under the radar for so long, but I don't hear anybody talking about Hepatitis C these days. See what has to say...

It is suspected that there are, at present, more than 5 million people in the United States that are infected with Hepatitis C, and perhaps as many as 200 million around the world. This makes it one of the greatest public health threats faced in this century, and perhaps one of the greatest threats to be faced in the next century. Without rapid intervention to contain the spread of the disease, the death rate from hepatitis C will surpass that from AIDS by the turn of the century and will only get worse. Ok, there you go, now back to the movie.

Several reviews claim that City in Panic offended and outraged gays when it came out, but I would like to see actually evidence of the outrage., a horror site for homosexuals, mentions the outrage, but the actually reviewer on the site does not appear to be offended himself. He does refer "this most egregious affront to gays, and pretty much anyone with any taste" when mentioning the movies most brutal scene. A security guard makes his way to a public restroom, enters the stall, and removes the toilet paper holder to reveal a glory hole. Another patron enters the room and then the adjacent stall. Security guard puts his member through the whole, where of course we find that the person on the other side is the slasher who chops off the member. The shots of the security guard writhing in pain are sick and bloody. Certainly it is one of the most grim deaths in a horror film that I have ever seen and it was reserved for a gay man and yes gay men are killed brutally in this picture, but let's not forget that the showing brutal deaths should at least elicit some sympathy for the victims. I don't think that the gays are robbed of their dignity. A handful of the deaths involve stereotypical gay locations and activities, but some of the guys are rather normal. I don't think it is wrong to put a gay character in a gym even if it is fits a stereotype. Look, if every gay killed in the movie was on the way home from the roman baths, well that would be too much, but it is not the case. One cop is extremely homophobic, but he is a shithead in every way and it follows that homophobia is another one of his negative traits.

I'd like my analysis of this film to be somewhat thorough without blowing it for all of you. The final showdown in a mannequin factory - brilliant. A climatic shot shown through the hallucinating killers eyes - one of the best I've seen - the killer sees everyone as a carrier of A.I.D.S. and sees something personally haunting too.

The movie is loaded with talk as the protagonist is a talk radio host. We get lots of psychological musing and stuff that was probably pretty topical in the 80's. Is it society's fault that M is driven to kill? Is M mentally ill? M says that the city will thank him for what he is doing when they find out his motives. Now that is pretty sick shit, don't you think?


Blogger toyrobott said...

cheap dVdS!!!!

1:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I purchased the Serial Psychos DVD and it's a good buy. City in Panic has been changed to Thirteen. It looks and sounds good. Much better than the tape I saw years ago. Serial Psychos also has a few other cool movies on it. I liked Blood Massacre and I Hate You. If you want the best possible version of City in Panic pick up Serial Psychos. It's a pretty good DVD.

8:14 AM  

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