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Camp Film ‘Fags in the Fast Lane’ Looks Both Gorgeously Trashy and Super Problematic

On Tuesday, June 27, director Josh “Sinbad” Collins will host the world premiere of his new camp sci-fi grindhouse film, Fags In The Fast Lane, a “truly trashy, pansexual rock-and-roll adventure” filled with “magic golden cocks, amyl nitrate sniffing giantesses, badass police, disco mutants, androgynous Elvis assassins, kickboxing drag queens and loud muscular men with big exhausts.”

Before we say anymore, you have to watch the trailer below. No really, watch it (it’s a little NSFW because of a dildo) — just when you think it’s reached most offensive and bonkers point, it goes further:

The film follows Beau, a cocksman eager to avenge mistreatment of his fellow gays (who are seemingly attacked by a gang in tribal makeup and garb). On his quest to find “the mystical golden cock,” a literal gold-sparkling dildo, he crosses paths with a giantess and her “purveyors of grotesque burlesque,” a flamboyant eunuch assassin and his cult of criminal pornographers (all played my brown-skinned men), the Golden GILFs (a set of aging female sex kittens), a band of space-age disco freaks and (ahem) “Aztec shemale worshippers.”

Collins has said, “This movie is as brazen as its title suggests,” and the film’s promoters have called it “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert mates with Rocky Horror Picture Show… in the style of exploitation masters John Waters and Russ Meyer.”

But while the film positions itself in the vein of exploitation (and camp has a long tradition of skewering social mores and playing with transgressive ideas), that doesn’t give it a license for oppression. Despite its compelling trailer, one wonders whether Collins will really handle its potentially offensive material in a disarming style (similar to Meyer or Waters) or just pass it off as insensitive “shock humor” that reinforces tired, racist and sexist media tropes.

Take the Hijra song below, for instance, an Indian-style country song about when “the humble eunuch assassin Hijra” lost his magical golden penis. The video is somewhat NSFW because of penis imagery.

To its credit, it’s an Indian-style song performed by an Indo-Canadian born musician (King Kahn and the Tandoori Knights, curiously off-key), but it still features Hijra knocking out a woman and entrancing a harem of interchangeable ladies with his giant penis — hardly original concepts.

Furthermore, hijra is a word that also refers to South Asian transgender individuals who are recognized as third gender in India, Nepal and Bangldesh. While the Indian government once considered all hijras as eunuchs, the two words are no longer considered interchangeable as only 10% of Indian hijras identify as eunuchs. Either way, it’s unlikely that King Kahn is either a real-life eunuch or hijra, making his casting a possible instance of “trans-face” (a cisgender actor playing a transgender role).

The film also reappropriates and exoticizes aspects of Azetc and tribal culture while also making a spectacle of “shemales” (a word that once landed legendary drag queen RuPaul in hot water).

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Hijra, his band of criminal pornographers and the Aztec “she-male” worshippers

This may all seem like semantic quibbling, but in an age where more marginalized communities demand that media creators depict “nothing about us without us,” Fags in the Fast Lane will surely ruffle a few feathers in the LGBTQ community.

Collins may try to explain away his use of trans-identities and other cultural signifiers as artistic-re-imaginings of a sci-fi fantasy world, but he’ll inevitably face questions about them, whether Beau ever finds the golden cock or not.