Saw bits and pieces of The Covenant (2006) this afternoon, one of the most homoerotic but otherwise “kitschiest” movies ever made. Steven Strait is the lead, his buddies are Taylor Kitsch (is that a 12-pack?), Chace Crawford, Toby Hemingway, and their nemesis is Sebastian Stan. Okay, it was eight years ago, but were those dudes that hairless even then? Here’s a production still of the boys and a close-up of Steven . . .
and here’s Steven a little later a little more natural . . .
But not complaining too much . . . it’s fun!
Caleb is the leader of a gang of "undercover" male witches who spend a lot of time showering together. He is obsessively targeted by a mysterious stranger, Chase, the new kid at their exclusive private school.
We don't want to read too much into the fact that the school's female students are featured mostly as blurry, indistinct figures in the background. Why read anything at all when we have an all-male naked locker room fight scene to watch?
Yes, it's the classic story of male friendship: One man defends another in a naked brawl, sparked when one of the men is called gay. Our memory is a little hazy, but we're fairly certain that's how Mel Gibson met Danny Glover in the first Lethal Weapon.
After their bond if forged through butt-naked combat, Chase and Caleb hit some bars together and engage in extended male swimming competitions while wearing tiny, tiny shorts. Their relationship reaches its climax when Caleb discovers the secret that Chase hides away from the world in the clos ... cupboard deep within his soul. We're of course talking about the fact that Chase is also an undercover witch.
Chase becomes desperate to consume Caleb's magic, when he learns that Caleb has a special magic that will only fully develop once he turns 18. Chase stalks him, threatens his friends and eventually holds him down and kisses him.
This brings us to the final conflict, and the point at which the film pretty much whips the audience in the face with the homoerotic symbolism: In the climactic scene, the two men hurl magic translucent white globs of power at each other as Chase begs for Caleb's consent.
"How about I make you my wi-atch?"
Wait, Are You Sure This is "Unintentional"?
"Be careful, my magic is very sticky and if it gets in your hair, you'll never get it out."
In this case, at least, all of the homoerotic subtext lurking just beneath the surface (and sometimes prominently above it) seems to be a strange, misguided attempt to appeal to the young women who this film was plainly aimed at. The filmmakers must have spent some time in some chat rooms, and decided that homoerotic fanservice is all that is needed to sell tickets in these modern times.
To be fair, the obligatory girl-girl make-out scenes in modern slasher flicks demonstrates that producers don't have a much higher opinion of male horror fans.