Surround me with a few bears and I’ll let you know, in my best Goldilocks voice, that while something may be sweet it doesn’t, necessarily, make it “just right“!
Case in point – the character of Glenn Kenneth in director Tommy Wirkola’s franticly bloody Dead Snow follow-up Dead Snow: Red Vs. Dead. Kenneth, a gay outsider-type, winds up being both endearing and insulting. This interesting combination may result in rush of prickly yet begrudging love from many discerning viewers.Gamely (and often incisively) played by the film’s co-writer, Stig Frode Henriksen, Glenn is an employee at a small town Norwegian war memorabilia museum. When he encounters Martin, the original film’s sole survivor, as he rushes to abate the onslaught of this (unexpected) movie series’ truly spooky Nazi zombies, Glenn is reluctantly drawn into the cranium splattering madness.
Made up like a Rocky Horror wannabe when first introduced, Glen is stereotypically gay – effeminate and wary – essentially another blatant joke among the film’s many over the top pranks. And while this should fit in with rest of Wirkola’s over-exuberant tone, it doesn’t. It feels backward, like the flamboyant antique dealers victimized by the fanged prince in 1972’s Blacula. Granted, the piss is taken out of nerds and warmongers, alike, in this piece, but the true zaniness here lies in the excessive slaughter and deliriously inventive kills involving everyone from children to invalids. Unlike the closeted Glenn, a proud and out warrior would have fit much easier into such grotesquely fun proceedings.
Still, Glenn does rise to the charge in the final third of the film, bravely taking enormous risks to save a group of foolish, self proclaimed American zombie hunters. Perhaps unknowingly, Wirkola and crew, also, manage to make a poignant statement with Glenn, as well. Just as he begins to acknowledge his true orientation, disaster strikes. In a seeming echo of everything from the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” debacle to the current, prevalent murders of transgendered women, it reminds one of all the queers cut down just as they begin to find their voices. It is unexpectedly powerful, bittersweet ending to a (frequently likable) character that never quite works.
Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead was released in February 2014 in Norway and is currently playing a variety of American film festivals.
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan