Demonhuntr: Queer Buffy Realness: Indie Movie Friday
Dir. Tim O’Leary (2021)
Three paranormal investigators are tasked with hunting down the sexiest monsters in LA that don’t already have an agent.
Demon hunting can be dangerous, and sometimes sexy, work, as Tim O’Leary, director and series creator of the new queer series Demonhuntr, is happy to point out. Best friends Daniel and Jeremy run a business called Demonhuntrs, sort of a two-man Ghostbusters that focuses on cases with a more sexual nature. They quickly run across a witch who joins their crew as a manager, and the three of them are intent on wreaking havoc on the undead (and dead, for that matter) world. What follows is a fun and funny romp through LA’s seedier side, where nothing is as it seems and there’s way more dick than you’re usually likely to come across on YouTube.
The series feels like a more sexualized version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, with a monster-of-the-week format that leads to a compelling new series with a lot of promise and some great creatures. Each new episode focuses on mythical beasts like sirens, succubi, and djinns. As with all things in life, sometimes the fight is more about learning what these creatures need and helping them to achieve peace. As with other problems, sometimes you just have to murder them. Potato, potato (but just, like, imagine they’re pronounced differently.)
The theme song of the series feels very Spelling-inspired, more Charmed than Buffy, and you can tell how much these series both impacted the gay community. With their realistic and passionate portrayal of queer people as people, they really helped pave the way for a series like Demonhuntr, which portrays queer people in the same way a series of its ilk would portray straight people. This is the sort of representation that the LGBTQIA+ community needs, one in which the characters exist not to fill a quota but because that’s the way they are. In a show that is relatively silly and fun, it’s an intriguing concept to play to a community that has come so far since those television shows that now feel to be a part of a by-gone era.
For a brand new series, it’s really a pretty good show. Unlike a film, which lives and dies by how much it conforms to what the audience is expecting, almost every new show has some growing pains, and it’s important to look for glimpses of positivity in pilot episodes and the first few attempts at establishing the “in-show universe”. Demonhuntr manages to bypass a lot of those concerns, because while we’ve seen this type of show before, we’ve never seen one quite like this. It also tends to have less time between episodes than some of the shows that we discussed earlier, with the monster-of-the-week platform fitting nicely into the wraparound plot of the show.
Horror has a long history of appealing to underrepresented communities, and Demonhuntr continues that trend. Most queer horror has one or two characters at most, an underlying conceit that is intended to sneak in references in order to represent a community without alerting those who might be otherwise bigoted to the context of what they’re watching. Demonhuntr is tired of that shit, choosing instead to give the LGBT community top billing without neglecting straight folks instead of the other way around. It’s also competently made and genuinely funny, a nice departure from most indie television shows. The writing is clever, and continues to get better with each episode; the same can be said about the acting as well. It’s a show full of surprises, and it’s worth a watch for anyone who enjoys their Buffy with a side of penis.
Who this series is for: Lovers of queer horror; Buffy and Charmed fans; People who hate that horror never shows male nudity
Bottom line: Fun, funny, and with a little bit of kung fu, Demonhuntr is an interesting and sexy play on a genre that is adored by millions of people. If you’ve caught yourself watching marathons of Buffy and Charmed that are seemingly always on, and wishing that you could add something new to the mix, check out Demonhuntr on YouTube. There’s a bit more nudity than you’re going to see on cable, but it’s a series full of heart and a few laughs as well. Well written, competently acted, and directed by someone who clearly knows what he’s doing, Demonhuntr is a nice quick watch for anyone looking for something a little different.