Colin G. Cooper has always noticed the LGBTQ+ coding in the Giallo horror films he loves, even when the portrayals of queer characters were complicated at best. He wants to change that by making his own Giallo short, “Bath Bomb” — and is raising $25,000 to do it.
Want to help? You can donate and learn more about the project through its Indiegogo campaign here. For folks in the LA area, if you donate to the campaign before 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, you will earn a guaranteed spot on the guest list for the film’s launch party the same night.
(MovieMaker is supporting the film through MovieMaker Production Services.)
What Is Giallo?
The Italian Giallo genre, which gained popularity in the 1960s and early ’70s, is characterized by eroticism, bisexual lighting, and gore, with intricately choreographed scenes of sexually charged violence. Modern films that reference Giallo include Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho and James Wan’s Malignant.
Cooper, based in Toronto, takes inspiration from the coding or open portrayals of queerness in Giallo films like Mario Bava’s 1964 Blood and Black Lace, Lucio Fulci’s 1971 A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, and Dario Argento’s 1975 Deep Red. But he wants better portrayals of queer life.
Colin G. Cooper on ‘Bath Bomb’
“I am a huge fan of Giallo cinema. I love its outlandish depictions of violence and eroticism its flamboyant use of fashion, lighting, and decor, and its unique tropes and visual language that heavily influenced later cinematic movements, most notably the American slasher.
“But what I don’t love is the subgenre’s portrayal of queer characters — in particular, queer men,” Cooper says.
“Throughout the Giallo filmography, queer men almost always appear as heavily stereotyped, secondary characters, given little to no narrative license. At best, they’re relegated to comedic relief, serving as an effeminate counterpart to a heterosexual male protagonist and eventually killed off.
“At worst, they’re cast as the killer or a red herring suspect, with their sexual orientation portrayed as being part of their madness, often with a not-so-subtle subtext of pedophilia.”
By taking out the hurtful tropes associated with Giallo and replacing them with positive representation, Cooper aims for “Bath Bomb” to spotlight queer men as the main characters “acting with agency in their own narrative.” The result will hopefully be a short that can be enjoyed by all sexualities and genders — as long as you like horror.
“Bath Bomb” will follow Jordan, a sullen doctor with a refined manner, and Grant, his beefy, himbo boyfriend. Things take a turn for the disturbing when Jordan prepares a romantic bath for Grant, only to reveal that he knows Grant has cheated on him.
“There’s delicious violence, sexy man flesh, and a judicious amount of campy humor,” according to the film’s description.
Meet Team ‘Bath Bomb’
Cooper has amassed an impressive team behind “Bath Bomb” already, including Michael Clifton, a Mexico City-based screenwriter whose scripts have recently made Coverfly’s lauded Red List of promising unproduced screenplays.
The team also includes cinematographer Jeremy Benning, who worked on all six seasons of Amazon’s fan-favorite series The Expanse as well as Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities and The Boys, and composers Theresa Wayman of the indie rock band Warpaint and her brother, Ivan Wayman, a music producer who has collaborated with Adele, The Killers, and Carly Rae Jepsen.
Producer Jeff So has made music videos for artists like Orville Peck and produced commercials for Netflix, Nike, and Sony. The executive producer is Ronnie Exley of RB Venture Partners, and crowdfunding producer Vincente DiSanti produced the Friday the 13th fan film Never Hike Alone.
Cooper himself is an acclaimed music video director who has collaborated with artists like Jessie Reyez, Rezz, Underoath, and Silverstein. He won a 2017 iHeartRadio MMVA for Best Hip Hop Video.
“Cooper’s ultimate goal for “Bath Bomb” is to show the finished short at festivals as a pitch for a queer Giallo anthology feature, in which “Bath Bomb” would serve as one of the shorts. The model is similar to what Ryan Spindell did with his 2019 horror anthology feature The Mortuary Collection.
Here is the film’s poster, designed by Colm Geoghegan, AKA Creepy Duck, the artist behind the posters for recent horror films like The Black Phone, Scream VI, and Smile, below.