Buggered.

Bugcrush (2006), from the short film anthology Boys Life 6 (2007)
Dir. Carter Smith
Starring Josh Caras (Ben), Donald Cumming (Grant), Eleonore Hendricks (Amber) David Tennent (Shannon), Alex Toumayan (Tim), Billy Price (Keith)

Continuing our class’s discussion of teenage sexuality, last night we watched two short films: “To Play or To Die” (1990, dir. Frank Krom) and “Bugcrush”, the film which I have chosen to focus on in this post. Both films deal with the issue of teenage homosexuality. In “Bugcrush”, a gay teenage boy named Ben develops a crush on the new kid at school: Grant. Finally getting up the courage to talk to Grant, Ben is invited to Grant’s place to “have some fun”. Upon arriving, Grant and his friends explain that they get their kicks by applying worm-like bugs to their skin. The bugs’ bite contains a kind of hallucinogenic venom, and after Grant places one of the worms on Ben’s neck, Ben finds himself tripping out and unable to move. Grant and co. then proceed to rape Ben as he stares blankly at the concrete floor of Grant’s garage, covered with bugs.

“Bugcrush” is a truly disturbing film. Besides the obvious creepiness inherent in having bugs crawl all over your paralyzed body as you are raped in a garage in the middle of nowhere, the audience is given no indication as to Ben’s fate. Will he become a bug addict like Grant (whose bandaged arm is revealed to be covered in pus-oozing bites)? Will he even survive the rape? No answer is given. Scary stuff.

Bugs, bugs, bugs: which are good? Which are bad?

Bugs, bugs, bugs: which are good? Which are bad?

As with many horror films (including vampire movies, mentioned in my previous post), “Bugcrush”‘s featured monster (the drug bug) is clearly a metaphor for something and, in my opinion, there are only two options for what that something could be: hard drug addiction or, as the title of my post suggests, buggery. Indeed, both of these themes are touched upon in the film:
– The worms are very clearly used as drugs, and after Ben is unwillingly exposed to them, he finds himself at their (and Grant’s) mercy. Grant’s bloody, infected arm is also reminiscent of the track marks seen on the arms of a heroine junkie.
– As a result of his exposure to the bugs, Ben is very brutally raped. As well, the fact that the bugs in question are worms could be read as a metaphor for the penis.
Of course, the drug worms could very easily be a metaphor for both themes. I feel like I keep repeating myself when I say this, but…it is up to the viewer to decide.

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~ by sosayeththewatcher on June 24, 2009.

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