Sam Strange Remembers: RED STATE

Sam recounts the death of Fred Felps and his horrific message of hate. Only $100 a ticket. Snootch.

One way to artificially extend a film career is to spend a little time getting known for one thing only to come out with something completely different when people least expect it. Your movie doesn't even have to be good. You'll make your money back on the curiosity factor alone, especially when you charge $60 a ticket and damn all critics.

This is what I did with Red State. After ten years of making dick and fart joke movies that posed as clever by commenting on their own dick and fart joke-ness, I decided to make a horror film. Halfway through shooting, I realized that I don't like horror films and wanted to make a siege film instead. Halfway after that, I decided I don't really like these films either and instead made a scathing take-down of religion and government law enforcement agencies. After giving up on that I just wanted to make some end credits and go shoot a DTV dick and fart joke comedy about Hockey called Goon 2 & 3: Nope Never Mind, Just Goon 2.

Red State tells the incredibly true story of the botched government raid on Fred Felps' religious compound that killed many sub-people and three innocent hostages, as well as some children brainwashed enough to count as both.

For those who don't know, Fred Felps is a religious homosexual who thinks God hates straight people. He and his followers picket rodeos, pie eating contests, Wal-Marts and any place they think might have a high concentration of straight people or straight supporters. Carrying signs adorned with slogans such as "Jesus H8s Str8s" and "My God Wouldn't Fuck Your Straight Ass With a Ten-Foot Pole," these clowns have been plaguing heterosexuals for some time, making Red State a topical fake horror film.

Part One:

The film begins as three boys plot to aver their homosexuality by answering a DILF ad they find in the back of the City Pages. They are not actually gay but must keep their heterosexuality secret because they want to someday get a good job and adopt children. If they all fuck this guy at the same time and take pictures of it, they'll win their gay accolades before it's too late. People are already talking about them.

Of the three boys, two are barely known actors and one is Jay Baruchel. But it doesn't really matter. The film looks like it's about these kids when it's actually not. As soon as they go to fuck the guy, they find themselves quickly poisoned and captured by Fred Felps and his crew of militant homosexuals. This is where part two begins.

Part Two:

One of the boys wakes up in a cage on a stage (in a rage). Before him, a congregation of Fred Felps' people sit waiting for a sermon. There's a cross on the stage with a sheet-covered figure attached to it. Things are gonna get torture porny up in this bitch.

Actually, no. To really raise suspense, I decided to utilize not violence but boredom. Therefore, we spend the next twenty minutes sitting through an entire Fred Felps church service in real time. That's the whole shebang, mind you: Communion, the passing of the donation plate, and that thing where preachers asks you to close your eyes and raise your hand if you haven't been saved only to make you stand up and blow your anonymity. I've found that audience concern for the poor caged boy grows so strong that they go to sleep just to escape the tension.

Fred Felps is played by Michael Parks, possibly the scariest actor of all time. But I made him look like Chris Cooper, the second scariest actor of all time. My thinking was: One plus Two equals Three. So if I combined them somehow, I might come up with the third scariest actor of all time, which is two better than the first.

Parks had a hard time memorizing his sermon, so I told him to just riff it. What he says doesn't really matter so long as it's anti-heterosexuals and lasts 20-25 minutes. So that's what he did. I still haven't figured out what he's talking about but it sounds good because it's Michael Parks.

Once Fred Felps finishes his sermon, his crew uncovers the heterosexual man they have tied to the cross. You'd think this would be one of the three kids we already met, but no. It's a completely new character. Apparently, the church's DILF bait had a very busy night. The other two kids are tied up under the stage being stored for next week's sermon. Straight kids are harder to come by than you might think, especially these days. It's either feast or famine.

First the bad guys cover the guy's face with plastic wrap, then they shoot his head. This may look like a torture porn affectation, but it's actually a cleanliness issue. All that wrapping catches and holds in the guy's bloody brains, so nothing spills out on the pristine church stage. They're gay, after all.

Part Three:

At this point we abandon our second story and introduce a new temporary main character, John Goodman. Because I was still trying to make a horror film when I hired him, I wanted John Goodman to lose a bunch of weight before filming began. This gave him a highly desirable, eerie physicality. He has the face and arms of a thin man but with the breasts of a naughty child playing with two balloons. I also made him run around the block before each take to ensure he sound strained and out of breath at all times. This is especially important as the character spends nearly the whole film talking on telephones and I needed that shit to pop with tension.

Here's how John Goodman gets involved: The three kids Felps abducted are soon reported missing, and authorities know where they went. Apparently, a gay sheriff was getting a gay blowjob when his car was struck by these straight assholes. After crying about his car a bunch and almost shooting himself in the head, he sends a deputy after the kids who fucked up his car. The deputy finds the car at Felps' compound. At first everything is peachy. He and Felps talk about shoes and their shared disappointment in Christina Aguilera's Burlesque. But then the deputy hears gunshots from within the compound and Felps has to shoot him dead. This causes the sheriff to cry a lot and almost shoot himself again before he gets a better idea and calls John Goodman.

John Goodman knows he has to bring Fred Felps down and hopes to do so with straight diplomacy. That goes out the window, however, when his crew arrives at the compound and Felps shoots Kevin Pollack in the eye before he can even do any impressions. Goodman's boss tells him to kill everyone, even the dogs, horses, and kids. Goodman doesn't want to, but it's kind of a moot point since everyone's shooting at everyone anyway. A lot of Felps' people get shot. The innocent straight kids accidentally get shot, too.

(Pretty awesome right? You thought they were the main characters but I fooled you. An hour after abandoning them narratively, I killed them off without ceremony! One you remembered who they were again, you were probably pretty shocked! This flick is fucking serious.)

Part Four:

During all this fighting, the hills suddenly echo with triumphant horn blasts. Fred Felps and his crew know exactly what this is: God, coming to aide his servants in their time of need. John Goodman thinks it's just some kids playing a prank.

It turns out that Felps was right. It is God (Alanis Morissette). She cartwheels and skips her way across the battlefield toward Felps' open, expectant arms.

But this is not Felps' God. This is that God who hates fags. And Felps is a fag. So she kills him and all his followers and everyone else on earth who is even a little bit gay. The stinger? Just before death, Felps reveals that he was just pretending to be gay all along. God tells him it's too late. The sound of her voice blows his head off.

Part Five:

Part Five is where we don't actually watch Part Four but just listen to John Goodman tell us what Part Four was like. It's awesome.

(three stars)