RuPaul’s Drag Race veterans Alaska Thunderfuck and Katya Zamolodchikova have played kooky characters and slayed competitors on the runway, so it makes sense that the two would want to play and slay on the silver screen. They’ve both gotten their chance to do so as stars in writer/director Sam Wineman’s independent horror flick, The Quiet Room.
The film takes place in the psych ward of a local hospital where Michael (Jamal Davis) has awoken after a suicide attempt. Katya (Brian McCook) plays David, one of the ward’s staff members, and Alaska (Justin Honard) plays Hopeless Hattie, a murderous demon that haunts patients like Michael who attempt suicide but don’t leave a note.
Michael races to stop Hattie before she kills everyone he’s connected and before he sinks deeper into desperation. And if you like the film’s creepy premise, you’ll love its recently released teaser trailer (below).
A tale of mental illness told by outsiders
The Quiet Room touts itself as “a collaboration of voices whose stories aren’t normally told in mainstream cinema” including a “crew is composed almost entirely of industry minorities.”
Indeed, black male leads and openly gay actors are rare in horror films. However, the real test will be seeing how carefully The Quiet Room depicts people with mental illness.
“Often times in film, particularly the horror genre, people suffering from mental illness are misrepresented or worse; villainized,” the film’s website says.
Films of any genre run the risk of sensationalizing or glamorizing mental illness or mischaracterizing it altogether. It’s a tough needle to thread as the narrative and dramatic demands of a film can compel directors and screenwriters to take creative liberties with the medical reality.
“Our story features an unlikely group of outcasts coming together to overcome a seemingly impossible force,” the film’s website says. “The Quiet Room is an opportunity to externalize a struggle that is internal by nature and show that there is hope even in the darkest of places.”
The first-ever drag horror villain?
Interestingly, the actor playing Hopeless Hattie is listed as Alaska rather than Honard, making this possibly the first time in history that a drag queen has ever portrayed a horror villain in film.
Alaska and The Quiet Room have both shared images from the flick on Twitter and they’re equal parts exciting and unsettling.
— Alaska Thunderfuck (@Alaska5000) March 2, 2017
— The Quiet Room (@QuietRoomFilm) June 29, 2017
Hopeless Hattie is coming for you… we have a lot of exciting announcements coming up soon. Stay tuned ? pic.twitter.com/Lqdfx6k6gF
— The Quiet Room (@QuietRoomFilm) August 8, 2017
The film also stars Kit Williamson, an actor who appeared in Mad Men and the LGBT web series EastSiders, and hunky web-lebrity Chris Salvatore.
The Quiet Room is also accepting donations from anyone interested in helping with its post-production and promotional costs.