ErOddity(s) offers a creepy, sexy diversion

ErOddity(s) -- Noun, plural: An odd person or trait intending to arouse sexual desire.

ErOddity(s) is billed as “a mystery anthology that goes where The Twilight Zone never dared.” In the film, writer-director Steven Vasquez invites viewers to enter a world of the odd, the unexpected, the supernatural -- and yes, even the tantalizing -- where dreams can come true, but so can nightmares. Produced by Babaloo Studios, this compendium of four stories is a homoerotic cross between Tales from the Crypt and The Night Gallery -- only with a bit more action and full-frontal nudity.

Watch the trailer here.

Everything is kept completely soft-core, and most of what you think you see happens enticingly right out of frame. Likewise, any erotic edge is blunted by the sometimes-shocking endings, leaving a sense of creepiness running throughout each featurette -- kind of like the feeling one would get after having sexual relations in a graveyard.

Vasquez keeps the audience eager to discover what happens next. He even throws in a few girls to keep things just off-center enough to accentuate the ghoulish goings-on. (“Hey,” one character surprises us at one point, “at 18, boys will be boys -- getting their kicks wherever they can!”)

The special effects are impressive, and the orchestrations also keep this one a step above your standard gay indie thriller. Several original songs by Trevor Page are featured, including the hard-driving, jivey anthem “Dancing on the Edge,” which will really stay with you..

Cory Tyndall serves as our host through these voyeuristic ventures into the bizarre. Tyndall, who is also the film’s associate producer, is less the sepulchral Crypt Keeper type than a younger, better-looking version of Rod Serling. He has the right amount of naughty charm to keep us tuned in, even if his line-readings do at times seem a bit … well, read. (Oddly, even this adds to the disjointed, otherworldly feel of the pieces.)

His co-star, Brandon Rife, fares slightly better in the acting department, and he, too, has those wholesome “all-American” good looks. As for the rest of the cast members, they are all young and cute, and each (more or less) has sufficient dramatic ability to make us willing to suspend our disbelief for the requisite 20 minutes (the average length of each episode). Many cast members appear in more than one installment.

Both Tyndall and Rife star in the first piece, titled “Forever Mine.” Rife plays a confused lad seeking a love that will last him a lifetime -- and he takes action to guarantee it. Right from the start, you know his relationship with his brother, played by Tyndall isn’t the healthiest. When Tyndall tries to put an end to the incestuous liaison once and for all, Rife is dismayed to his breaking point. “You shouldn’t have stopped,” he says desperately. “You’re all I have.” The stark and startling way he solves his problem starts the rest of the film with a bang.

The next segment, called “A Mind of Their Own,” is perhaps the most intriguing. Poet Edgar Allan Poe once wrote, “All we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” Could the same be said for an adolescent’s spicy libidinal fantasy? This time Rife appears as Aaron, a young man who suspects his boyfriend’s eye has wandered. Then one night, he spies the boyfriend sneaking into the closet, where he takes out a mysterious box.

“I thought I’d do a little investigation,” he narrates. “I thought I’d have a look inside this secret box for myself.” What he finds leads him to his own forgotten past and challenges his assumptions of the present.

“Our next account is a Christmas story,” proclaims Tyndall, again emerging to introduce “Unsolved Christmas” -- the third segment, which is the longest, most developed and the funniest. “Holiday time in sunny Southern California -- but it’s not all merry, I’m sorry to warn you,” he cautions. Then he presents Edward Gutierrez as a fresh-faced peeping tom who peeks in on boys or girls -- he doesn’t discriminate. The last thing this dude needs is a camera, yet that’s exactly what his folks give him. At times, this story almost plays like a spoof of a cheesy porno, but we’re reminded that it’s always good to have a hobby -- just make sure it’s one that keeps you out of trouble instead of getting you into it.

Finally, in “The Way to a Man’s Heart,” an abused young lover gets his revenge from beyond the grave. “It’s a peaceful day in this long-forgotten cemetery,” Tyndall begins, joining the action only long enough to provide the set-up. “A few yards away lies the body of 18-year-old Thomas Riley, hastily buried in a large packing crate one year ago today.” In this last tale of the macabre, the old saying “The way to a man‘s heart is through his stomach” has several less figurative and more grisly meanings.

Rife returns in this segment and demonstrates a fine vulnerability as the wronged partner who returns from the other side on the anniversary of his untimely expulsion into the after-world. Addison Graham co-stars as his arrogant, cold-hearted, yet incredibly good-looking thug of a boyfriend. Alderic Vitale is featured as the couple’s guilt-ridden friend, through whose eyes the plot unfolds, along with Heather Page Cohn as his girlfriend.

In many ways, “ErOddity(s)” is reminiscent of those irresistibly lurid dime-store horror comics so prevalent in the ’70s and ’80s (provided that you bought them from your local adult establishment). It’s a perfect bag of treats for when you’re up for some after-dark tricks, when things that stir in the night aren’t necessarily of a spectral nature. ErOddity(s) is available on DVD and VOD from TLA Releasing at TLA Video or at Erodditys, which also offers more information about the film."

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

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