Dating can be scary — especially if your new boyfriend is a serial killer.
Written by Jim Hansen and Jeffery Self, You’re Killing Me is a new horror-comedy about a homicidal maniac who infiltrates a group of egomaniacal homos in Los Angeles. How do you get away with murder, Viola Davis? Just hang out with people too self-absorbed to notice the bloodstains.
“He and I have very different tastes,” Self says of working with Hansen, his co-writer and frequent collaborator. “Jim is very influenced by horror and I’m very influenced by romantic comedy. Jim called me one day and was like, ‘What if we do both?’”
You’re Killing Me makes its New York premiere October 25 at the 27th annual NewFest, and it’s that funny-gory blend of genres that makes it stick out like a knife in the back among the LGBT film festival’s other queer offerings. “We wanted to make a movie that broke the tired formula we so often see in low-budget gay indies,” says Self. The comedic author and actor adds that they were influenced by psychological thrillers like Michael Haneke’s Funny Games, as well as classic Julia Roberts rom-coms from the late ’90s. “We also wanted to make a movie with gay characters that has nothing to do with being gay. It’s 2015 and a movie being ‘gay’ shouldn’t be its genre.”
“We buried the gay part so far that it’s almost the least genre aspect of it,” says Hansen, who also directed the film. “That said, it’s pretty gay.”
Matthew McKelligon plays Joe, the childlike gay serial killer, who’s as gorgeous as he is dangerous. “He’s not your textbook psychopath,” Hansen explains. “The movie is actually Joe’s coming out story — not his gay coming out, because he’s fine with that, but his coming out as a serial killer. And he’s loving it!”
“Joe’s the only honest person in the movie and the only person not glued to his phone,” says Self. “He also chops people up, but besides that he’s actually a great guy.”
Self also stars in the film as George, Joe’s clueless new boyfriend, who, much like Self, is a celebrity-obsessed YouTuber with a penchant for wigs. Are he and George pretty much the same person? “I play the world’s biggest narcissist, and in real life I have my own last name tattooed on my fucking arm, so you do the math,” he jokes. “My character is definitely a combination of my own personal self-centered traits and those I witness on a daily basis from the many other people documenting their lives online. I’m really fascinated by the YouTube/Vine generation and the pursuit of getting famous for just talking about things that are relevant to teenage girls or whoever else will retweet you.”
So audiences beware: If you’re too vapid and self-involved, you might just get murdered. It almost seems as though this light horror-comedy could be masking a more serious cautionary tale. “I think more than anything it’s about how rarely we actually listen to each other,” says Self. “I mean, Joe is openly claiming to be a killer from scene one, but the characters are way too busy debating Sister Act vs. Sister Act 2 to notice.”
“We are commenting on the self-indulgence and narcissist aspects of today’s social media culture,” adds Hansen, who explores similar themes as director of Drew Droege’s “Chloe” videos. “We have this monster in the midst of all these guys and they just can’t see it. They barely believe it — even while he’s stabbing them. In the end you start to question who the real monsters are.”
Playing those monsters happen to be some of the funniest gay actors in L.A., including Droege, Sam Pancake, Jack Plotnick, and Bryan Safi. “We really wrote this for our friends,” Self admits. “Working with some of your best friends is obviously wonderful because there’s such a built-in trust and chemistry. They also make for very fun wrap party guests.”
Next, October 2015.