(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: This could have been a much more intelligent film. A chemical intended to be sprayed all over the United States to suppress sexual urges instead reverses everyone's sexual orientation. Somebody could have used this idea to make an interesting film, but instead we get a claustrophobic and unfunny piece of fluff. Rating: +0 (-4 to +4) or 4/10

The year is 2017 and the reactionary government of the United States--headed by President Robertson and Vice-President Dobson-- wants to suppress all sex. Two biologists, Rick Holbrook and Ed Picante (played by newcomers Perren Hedderson and Morse Bicknell), have found a way to inhibit fruit-fly procreation and so save crops. The President wants a modified version that will be an abstinence drug for humans. When it is sprayed over the nation it works, but not the way it was planned. The chemical does not inhibit sex at all but simply reverses everybody's sexual orientation. Gays turn straight, and straights turn gay. Only white Christians will be given the antidote.

In addition, as a wholly different premise in the script, new scriptures are found in the Middle East that are somehow provably the authentic Bible. And in the new Bible homosexuality is approved of and heterosexuality is considered bad. Either one of these premises could be the basis for an entire and fascinating film. But Max Mitchell just seems to think that the joke of gay couples talking like they are straight and vice versa is funny enough to be repeated over and over. Holbrook and Picante fall in love and their partners fall in love and go in for naked yoga.

In addition, there are other running jokes inserted that never connect up with the characters of the main story line. A news announcer on the right-wing Fax Network and a really off-the-wall Evangelistic minister comment on the proceedings or just show how ridiculous they are. Actually, everybody whose point of view was different from that of the film was presented as an over-the-edge wacko. Mitchell does not realize that making the opposition all wackos makes them less believable and undercuts his own arguments. Notice how much more effective a film like TWELVE ANGRY MEN is because some of the opposition (opposing for most of the film) seem to be reasonable and well-intentioned, if wrong-headed. The film is pulling in two directions. If Mitchell wants the film to be a serious statement about how society treats gays, he needed to present it differently. If he wanted the film to be a wild farce, he needed a more imaginative sense of humor.

It would be too optimistic to expect that an inexperienced filmmaker like Max Mitchell could turn out a very good film on a minimal budget, though there are many examples of inexpensive first-films that were good. Mitchell seems to be endlessly amused by two males talking about their sex. They may talk about one putting his tongue in the other's ear. Or he may show the President of the United States has toenails painted black. This sort of thing might be amusing the first time it appears. But by the second time it is much less so. To repeat such jokes half a dozen times more is just wasting the viewers' time. The film becomes simply an unfunny ribald skit. Mitchell could easily go on to do much better things, but this film is not the most auspicious calling card. If I were to give him advice it would be to think about reusing this premise in a serious film. What would happen if everybody's orientation were switched? What benefits would there be? What problems would it cause? Once he has thought that out, he still could make it a comedy if he wanted, but it would be a much more intelligent comedy. A thoughtful or really witty treatment of the idea of mass reversals of sexual orientation would have been a good film and one worth considering. This film is just a piece of fluff and a burlesque that sidesteps having any substance. HORROR IN THE WIND is a film with a good idea for a thought experiment but never given its chance to develop. I rate it a 0 on the -4 to +4 scale or 4/10.

The publicity coming with the film proudly states that this film was "Banned in New Mexico." That sounds like it was some governmental organization saying the film could not be shown in New Mexico. In fact, it appears that a theater chain decided the content was too political and chose not to book the film. This is hardly the same thing as banning a film. But the film sounds more alluring if it actually has been banned.

Film Credits: http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1124041/

					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2008 Mark R. Leeper