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Review: Andrew J. Ceperley’s “Poltergays”

Imagine having a haunted house where poltergeists drag you around by your hair. Seems pretty horrible, right? But now imagine you move into your dream home only to discover it is inhabited by two ghoulish gay men! Audible gasp. I mean, this sounds terrible to me because I’m a catty gay and too many gays in one place makes my inner bitch come out. I guess that’s why I can relate to Andrew J. Ceperley’s horror-comedy, Poltergays. Written and produced by Brendan Haley, Poltergays finds a married couple, Perry and Tiff, as they try to exorcise two unwanted and dead gay roommates from their home. The insanity of it all is only boasted by the fact that Perry and Tiff are incredibly religious. Bibles, bed-frames and nights are all bumping in the 17-minute mini-movie from Dekko Films, starring Peter Stickles, Clarke Wolfe, Francisco Chacin and Charles Chudabala.

Poltergays was directed by Andrew J. Ceperley, who also served as cinematographer and editor. Poltergays has flawless audio and a picture quality that is modern and intent for small screen viewing. Watch it on your phone. Watch it on your computer. Watch it on your tablet. It’ll look great. I have no qualms with Poltergays as an independent production, but I have a lot to say about it in terms of narrative and themes. These will be good things, mind you. First, I love how delicately yet in your fucking face Brendan Haley wrote out the battle between religious zealots and cluelessly stupid gays. It’s this whit and sarcasm, and the way they played off each other, that so accurately matches the style of the behind-the-scenes work. Poltergays isn’t spiteful or hateful to either side. It’s just… fun! And the atmosphere matches the foreboding haunted house that just can’t be taken seriously!

Second, I love how Ceperley and haley decided to showcase the ghosts as gay but not gaaaaaaaaaaaay. Despite living in this age of equality, gays are still highlighted by being ultra-flamboyant and over-sexualized. In Poltergays they’re average joes who are incredibly, incredibly annoying. It’s an honest depiction, really, and in this case I was happy to see that everything wasn’t about big dicks and yas queens. Accurate representation is important folks, and it IS possible to make gay men funny without being disrespectful and cliche. And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this is one of my favorite performances from Charles Chudabala. I don’t know if he’s been taking acting classes in 2020, but this is the best work I’ve seen from him since For Jennifer in 2018. Well done to the entire cast and crew, genuinely.

Poltergays is definitely more comedy than it is horror. It’s about 80%/20%. I didn’t mind the lack of over-all horror because I don’t think it was ever designed to be scary. My only complaint with it is that I wanted more. There’s sequel material here or enough context to flesh out an entire feature. Contagiously funny, strong willed and ingeniously accurate, Poltergays is a hit. Final Score: 9 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)