In Yann Gonzalez’s second feature, a masked serial killer stalks a producer and her film company in this love letter to European giallo, American grindhouse cinema, and ‘70s gay porn.
Exploitation cinema may never be more wonderfully gay than it is in Yann Gonzalez’s grand follow-up to his debut, YOU AND THE NIGHT. While YOU AND THE NIGHT embraced the questions of motivation and identity that surround an all-genders orgy, KNIFE + HEART is straight-up trashy genre fun. It’s told in the recognizable visual and narrative language of European giallos, with kill scenes reminiscent of a William Lustig grindhouse thriller, and a terrific score from Gonzalez’s collaborator and brother Anthony Gonzalez (aka M83).
Anne (the always great Vanessa Paradis) is at her wits’ end. Not only is her long-term relationship with her lover and editor Lois (Kate Moran) over, but now someone is murdering her actors. An unknown masked killer is laying siege to her low-budget gay porn production company, and while she hasn’t a clue why, she can at least make the best of a bad situation and bend the situation into the plot of her newest film, HOMO-CIDE. But as the killings continue, her employees go into hiding, sending Anne on a quest to investigate the motives and history of the monster who strikes from the shadows.
KNIFE + HEART is a joy for genre fans to behold. While Gonzalez embraces the extremes in 1970s exploitation, he goes beyond homage to bring sensitivity and real affection to a film filled with the type of characters who are often absent or simply caricatures in other films of this type. The representation is authentic as this is a horror story only possible with LGBTQ+ characters. It offers a heavy dose of love and heart in a narrative soaked with blood and semen. (JAMES EMANUEL SHAPIRO)
With Director Yann Gonzalez in Attendance for 2nd half.