Happy Friday! I have a new review up! This one was a different experience because I ordered on VOD, instead of seeing it in the theater. Does it still count? I hope so! I had seen of the social media posts during the making of King Cobra, and was interested in its release. As of late, James Franco has been involving himself with some pretty edgy projects and I am always excited to see what he is going to do next.
Starring: Garrett Clayton, Christian Slater, Keegan Allen, James Franco
Director: Justin Kelly
King Cobra is inspired by the murder of Cobra Video producer Bryan Kocis (Named Stephen in the film, played by Christian Slater), and the book Cobra Killer: Gay Porn, Murder, and the Manhunt to Bring the Killers to Justice. The source material is awesome, but the execution definitely could have been better. The story is a bit thin at times, with some unnecessary sex scenes thrown in to fill in the voids.
Sean Paul Lockhart (Garrett Clayton) is a young man who auditions for Cobra Video, and shortly after moves in with Stephen (Christian Slater), the company’s producer. Sean adapts the name Brent Corrigan, and overnight becomes an internet sensation. Almost immediately Stephen develops feelings for Brent, and becomes possessive of him. Aware of his worth, Brent becomes defiant and demands higher pay from Stephen. Due to their signed contract, Stephen declines. Brent later finds a file with the real earnings from his videos, and leaves to find work elsewhere. Brent and Stephen face off, ending with Stephen revealing his underage status during the shooting of his first video- which leads to Cobra Video’s destruction. Meanwhile, rival producer Viper Boys, lead by Joe (James Franco), and Harlow (Keegan Allen) are looking to make money after it is revealed that they owe $11 million to the IRS. Joe and Harlow approach Brent, offering $25,000 for a film. Brent, in legal limbo over his trademarked name, cannot proceed with the deal. Desperate for money, Joe and Harlow concoct a plan to take Stephen out of the picture.
Is there man candy? Yes! But there isn’t much else going on visually in the film. It is pretty obvious this film wasn’t made with a lot of money. I did like some of the character-focused shots though.
Ear Porn: D-
There is a pretty generic score, and no actual music throughout. Nothing real memorable.
I can’t decide whether this film is a step forward or backward for LGBT representation. It capitalizes on the objectification of gay (white) males, and that is the main selling point of this film. Fresh from Disney (Teen Beach guy, which I’ve never seen.), Garrett Clayton serves as a male Lolita almost. He’s barely legal, and there are so many seductive shots of him, it almost bothered me. Like many young stars, I guess he needed a role to complete the HOLLYWOOD APPROVED fast track to adulthood. On the other end, James Franco has been both praised and often criticized for his constant portrayal of gay characters and the runaround about his orientation. Is he just a man who is comfortable in his sexuality, or is he merely exploiting gay men and their stories for his own benefit? The real Brent Corrigan criticized the film, saying that it was an inaccurate portrayal of the murder and his career in porn. He was offered a small part of the film, but refused.
Girl Power: N/A
This is a completely male-centered film. There are only two supporting females Alicia Silverstone and Molly Ringwald. Their roles are pretty minor, and we don’t really know anything about them. Personally, I don’t think it would be fair to grade this film on this aspect.
Box Office: N/A
Due to the unconventional distribution of this film, with a combined theatrical run and streaming services, the numbers are inconclusive. In it’s opening weekend theatrically, it has made $11, 624.
ADRIANA, THE CINEMA SOLOIST