Queer Dark Thrillers


movie      fiction

  • Hard
  • Author: John Huckert and John Matkowsky
  • Director: John Huckert
  • Producer: John Huckert, John Matkowsky and Noel Palomaria
  • Website: http://www.hardthemovie.com
  • Year: 1998
  • Country: US
  • 100 minutes

watersports, implied child rape, implied animal violence, graphic homophobia

movie cover

When a series of brutal killings of young male hustlers awaken the police to the threat of a serial killer, rookie detective Raymond Vates and his partner, detective Tom Ellis, must battle an intolerant police department that is indifferent to what it calls 'misdemeanor killings.' Jack is the killing machine--a drifter who has come to town on the way to somewhere else--stalking the nighttime streets of L.A. seeking out the runaways and other lost souls who gather around the hot glow of Hollywood's neon underworld--leaving a wake of bodies behind him.

However it seems the killer has his eyes on a bigger prize, Vates himself. On a careless whim, Vates sets himself up as the new target of the serial killer's wrath. When his stolen badge implicates him in one of the murders, Vates is suspended from the police force and must admit to a dark secret and reveal his curious relationship with the killer. Vates, now forsaken and isolated by all, must venture out to clear his name.

Qvamp says:

This bleak and gritty thriller portrays a relationship between a serial killer and a married, and closeted, detective. While this movie is very graphic, both in terms of the violent subject matter, and in the gay male sexuality, the real focus of the movie is on the homophobia in society. We see this in many ways; for example, the police force's lack of concern about 'gay murders', their open hostility and violence of a gay cop, and the gay killer's hatred of himself and others like him. This homophobia ultimately leads to a man focused upon humiliation, degradation and murdering gay men.

Hard alludes to how internalized homophobia can lead to the creation of murderers. Parts of the movie reference both fictional queer murders - such as Silence of the Lambs and real murderers - like Jeffrey Dahmer. In one scene, inspired by Jeffrey Dahmer's exploits, the cops are confronted with an obvious crime, but leave the victim with the murderer. The movie makes it clear that a combination of internalized homophobia and hyper-masculinity is a deadly combination when it introduces us to Jack, a man driving around the country, picking up under-age teenage boys, doing them and then destroying them. This man even hides in a place where few dare to look -- in the arms of closeted married men.

An inspired part of the film involves a cameo by Mitchell Grobeson, the first cop to come out in LA. During this cameo, he shows how true-to-life this movie could be as he outlines the problems he had coming out as a cop in the LAPD.

This movie is a great addition to the queer thriller genre and is recommended for those that want a well made gay psychological thriller. Warning though, this movie is not for the squeamish or the homophobic.

Rating A
Queer Vampire Rating A
Amount of Gay Content sex


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