Kevin Bacon's Horror Film They/Them Changes the Rules of Friday the 13th

Kevin Bacon's Horror Film They/Them Changes the Rules of Friday the 13th ...

Kevin Bacon replies with a laugh when asked about starring in a fresh summer camp slasher film more than four decades after launching his career with the definitive summer camp slasher film, Friday the 13th.

The new game is titled They/Them, and it's from Hollywood horror studio Blumhouse, but it's got an exceptionally recent twist (thanks to writer-director John Logan) on what quickly became a stale formula after Friday the 13th initially altered the game back in 1980.

Owen Whistler is played by Bacon. He promises to not modify any of them, their sexual preferences, or their identities at his conversion camp. Of course, Whistler and his counselors inflict more severe psychological torture on the minors. Meanwhile, someone is stalking the shadows around the camp, sending victims one by one.

The narrative upends the framework established by Friday the 13th, in which the carefree counselors who were there to restore the abandoned Camp Crystal Lake are slaughtered one by one, establishing one of the most common slasher tropes: have sex and get killed.

Bacon explains that this was the norm of the subgenre of slasher films. People would choose something that society had decided was either undesirable or unattractive or unattractive, and whatever they were, they would be the victims of the premarital sex, the dope-smoking guy like me, or the [so-called] trashy girl.

They/Them change the rules about that. Now, John Logan has taken that and flipped it on its end and empowered the other kinds of campers that come to this place and given them something to fight against and bond over, continues Bacon. That's what's really cool about the film, I think.

They/Them takes the time to develop the characters of the campers, starting with Jordan (Theo Germaine), a trans, non-binary person who wants to emancipate themselves from their parents but instead finds themselves sent to Whistler Camp. Bacon insists that this is vital to the film's success.

As long as it's a funny, character-based thing, I'm happy to be in some segment of the genre that I like and return to time and time again.

Which brings us to Bacons' role as Owen Whistler, who starts the film in an almost gentle manner, explaining why they're there and implying that he wants to assist them in making the decision they want to make about their own lives, but soon realises that this is not the case at all.

Today, a young lady said to me, "You sounded like my pastor," according to Bacon. I do not know what her past is, but she obviously sought to change her. So, that's something that John and I talked about.

Bacon and Logan agreed that getting away from the usual stereotypes was the best way to make Whistler uncomfortable. With the character's style and appearance, we wanted to steer him away from a Bible-thumping or macho drill sergeant type of approach, he says. To me, that is a much worse reaction than going, Oh, I get it. It's one of those stereotypical bad guys that Hollywood always gives us.

Bacon, as actors almost always strive to do when playing a villain, wanted to understand what makes Whistler tick and makes him human, as monstrous as his actions are.

I want to keep doing that with a character like this: he asks where he came from? What was his life experience like? Why did this guy withdraw and come back? Did I ever question myself about my own masculinity? All of these things may be massaged to create a well-rounded character.

Despite its slasher themes, the real horror of They/Them is the underlying truth. Conversion camps are still legal in at least half of the states in America, even though conversion therapy has been widely discredited and proven harmful to its victims across the board.

To look across the faces of those youngsters that had come together, theyre all playing roles, but theyre all authentic to the characters, says the filmmaker. Yes, it's a horror movie, its entertainment, and it's going to be a great experience for all of us.

Peacock is now streaming They/Them.