Perhaps you’ve seen the salacious trailer already. Maybe you haven’t. But if it’s one thing I can tell you about King Cobra, it’s definitely a movie that you’re gonna want to add to your must-see list. Heralded by James Franco in “another gay project he just had to make” and director Justin Kelly, King Cobra was definitely at the top of my list for “must watch” films this year when oogling over the extensive screenings list at the BFI London Film Festival this year.
What’s it all about?: King Cobra tells the real life story of infamous gay porn star, one twink to rule them all, Sean Paul Lockhart aka Brent Corrigan who lied to his mentor/manager about his age when making his porn debut on Cobra Video; a decision which sent the internet into a firestorm, caused a bit of a backlash in the industry and launched Corrigan as an adult film superstar. What happens next is a nasty battle between Corrigan and his manager, played by the incomparable Christian Slater. Corrigan decides that he wants to break out of the Cobra video stronghold and make more money elsewhere on his names and it all culminates in an outrageous murder. It’s almost too insane to believe that this actually happened in real life. You’ll be squirming at this brutal tale of deceit, greed and betrayal.
What I liked about the movie: The performances here are key. Christian Slater is convincing as the unscrupulous Cobra Video boss and James Franco as the in-debt over-his-head, vicious owner of Viper Boys Video gives a daring performance that continues to define his position as art-house film king of the moment. Molly Ringwald and Alicia Silverstone also lend some cred to the ensemble cast as concerned and upset family members whilst the breakout performance of Garrett Clayton as Sean Paul Lockhart/Brent Corrigan is super believable in all his naivety, yet determined portrayal of such a fascinating real-life character. It has to be said too that Garrett Clayton’s strong resemblance to Zac Efron makes you wonder if this was strategic casting since he doesn’t really resemble Brent Corrigan that much…but that’s not a really a complaint by any means…
King Cobra is one of those movies that you’ll immediately look to Wikipedia afterwards to see what happened to the characters – you’ll also find a plethora of news stories that are covering this infamous case gay porn scandal. The film will also make rediscover Brent Corrigan again. The real life Brent Corrigan doesn’t want anything to do with this movie and hey – fair enough. It’s hard to believe that such a scandal actually happened to someone so young in life, but as devastating as it is, this is one sexy, erotic and tantalising thriller that you’ll be wanting to watch over and over again.
King Cobra is out now in the USA.