Fisting can certainly be dangerous, but when a psychotic murderer is involved, it becomes deadly. Killer Unicorn, a campy queer slasher film created by Brooklyn’s own José D. Álvarez and directed by Drew Bolton, shows us that and more as a masked murderer runs wild through New York nightlife. Starring local LGBTQ staples like BibleGirl, Aja, Rify Royalty and Horrorchata, Killer Unicorn subverts the classic slasher through a queer lens.
In the movie, Alejandro La Rose plays Danny, your average party boy, who's amped for "Brooklyn’s Annual Enema Party: Where You Come to Get Douched and Dance." What begins as fun takes a dark turn when Danny is attacked at the party by a stranger, but saved by his guardian drag gueen. A year later, Danny is ready to return to Brooklyn nightlife, but not without death finding him again. As his friends begin getting picked off one-by one-by a mysterious hunk in nothing but a unicorn mask and speedo, Danny must face his fears to save his community.
Though Killer Unicorn is still in production and raising funds on Indiegogo, OUT caught up with Álvarez to discuss the importance of casting Brooklyn's queer performance community and finding inspiration in an Instagram caption.
How did Brooklyn inspire Killer Unicorn?
Brooklyn is about self-expression and the assertion of individuality, which is in a way, what the movie is about. I was never the cool kid growing up; I was always the weird kid, so finding a community of artists and performers, such as the Brooklyn queer community, where everyone has a place, inspired me to bring that onto the screen. I wanted to find a way I could convey my experience in the Brooklyn queer community and showcase the different types artists that are a part of it. It is a community without rules or boundaries, and this is a movie without rules or boundaries, as well.
Do you think Brooklyn's LGBTQ community is overdue for exposure?
I think the LGBTQ community has come very far thanks to the hard work of all those who have come before us, but up until now, the mainstream has been exposed to only a fragment of the community, and not the different shapes and forms it takes. We've seen the rise of drag queens in mainstream media, and as much as I love it, I still feel like those who break the rules are lacking a place where they can be weird, taken seriously and celebrated. I see so many drag shows—way too many. I don’t think my apartment even remembers who I am because I am always at a friend’s show, and I see these extremely talented performers who have so much to say, but haven’t been given a wide enough platform to do so. I think a movie, such as this one, [where] everyone involved is part of this community, can really expand the audience's minds and show them the wide range of queer performance art there is.
What films and directors inspired Killer Unicorn?
I always say this film is as if John Waters topped John carpenter. I am a huge Halloween fan (even Season Of The Witch), so you will see some Michael Myer-isms in the movie, as well as references to it. You will also see a big John Waters influence in the way people die in the film, as well as the shock factor his movies usually have. When writing the movie, I was looking for inspiration in the Final Destination series (mainly the first 3), as I wanted people to die in creative ways and not just stab-and-go. So [I'm] building a universe in which people can die in somewhat complicated ways, but not overly mechanic (like the Saw series, for example) was important to me. And for sure Black Christmas and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, [but] the 1974 versions. Oh, and Nightmare On Elm Street 2 just because of how gay it is.
The film pulled inspiration from an Instagram caption. What's the story there?
The original title of the movie was Killer Unicorns From Anusburg, and it was about 2 years ago that I first had the idea for it. I bought a unicorn mask online and the site suggested a fake pink rubber gun, so I got that, too. I’ve always called Williamsburg, "Anusburg," so when I took what I thought to be an ironic picture of me shirtless in the mask and with the gun, I captioned it: "The poster for my film Killer Unicorns From Anusburg," and then I thought to myself, "Hey, I’ve always dreamed of writing a horror movie; I think this is finally the right idea." A year later I had the full script.
Watch the official Killer Unicorn teaser, below.