Lonely wannabe cop Eddie and his buddies: bisexual bed-hopper Chas, awkward Joey, and studly Tony head out to the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival to get some bootie. Eddie is especially interested in Jake, a hottie he met earlier. They catch the attention of a masked killer, and not all of them live to see November 1st.
Slashers are not usually an equal opportunity genre (actually this movie is considered the first gay slasher) so bravo to the filmmakers (writer/director Paul Etheredge is a real-live gay guy) for creating a cast of non-stereotypical but sexually active queer guys who can take a blow from a phallic weapon as well as any heterosexual woman.
In my review of the lesbian slasher movie Make a Wish I expressed annoyance at how that movie is unoriginal and exploitive. I don’t have similar issues with Hellbent because even though the characters are less than brainy and just as horny, at least they have a little character development and better dialogue; they also don’t throw their clothes off like they’re on fire.
Speaking of flaming, as I mentioned previously the guys aren’t Hollywood stereotypes. They’re not overly feminine or masculine—they’re just squirrels trying to get a nut. Amusingly, they taunt the killer (not knowing who he is), ogling him, mooning him, and exclaiming, “He’s got a fucking knife, the kinky bastard.”
Hellbent is strangely like yet unlike other slasher movies. It mocks the conventions of the genre, for example the opening scene featuring two guys parked in the woods, making out. Victim #1, hanging his head out the window, gets it lopped off and involuntarily kicks. “Holy shit,” says his companion, “You are really are ticklish!” It’s often somewhat funny, and never scary, but always entertaining. It’s low budget, but not painfully so. My only gripe is that while Tony is dressed as a woman for Halloween, his makeup stays perfect throughout an evening of drinking and puking.