Filmmaker Jaymes Thompson checks into ‘The Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror’

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 0

Whether your personal nightmare is a right-wing religious bigot with a knife, a mongoloid mutant slug-spawn in overalls or a low thread count, independent filmmaker Jaymes Thompson has the perfect B-movie for you. Assuming you like comedic horror.

Thompson is the writer, director and producer of MoDean Pictures’ 2007 cult classic “The Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror,” in which he also co-stars. His independent production company exists to make films by, for and about the LGBTQ community in all genres, from comedic romances to science fiction.

“The Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror” was the company’s first feature length film. Thompson deliberately chose the horror genre in response to the “psychotic events leading up to and occurring from” the 2004 presidential election of George W. Bush.

“It’s that extra special twist that puts the horror in an already frightening story,” the company explained ahead of the film’s release.

More than a decade since, the cult classic—which touted year-long runs on Logo TV and Netflix and is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime Video—is enjoying a renaissance thanks in part to Thompson’s move to Tampa Bay. The California native, who holds a Masters in Film, Television and New Media, recently published the film’s manuscript via St. Petersburg’s Breaking Rules Publishing and will share genre-specific secrets at Spooky Empire 2019 Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Tampa.

“When I got into film, the LGBTQ community was so grossly under-represented, or represented as monsters,” Thompson recalls. “I wanted to make genre films with lead gay characters and so that’s what I’ve done in my career.”

“Gay B&B,” as Thompson calls it, is a clear homage to the late night, low budget, 1950s horror movies he’s always loved—many of which were popularized on camp queen Elvira’s television series “Movie Macabre” in the 1980s.

“The film has elements of every bad horror movie,” he says. “Which is great, because I wanted to interject gay characters into the genre; instead of the stereotypical horror characters, they’re all very cynical, gay archetypes.”

The film follows five traveling groups on the eve of the biggest LGBTQ party weekend of the year, all of whom are forced to make accommodations at The Sahara Salvation Inn outside of the city. The “small slice of paradise” is an LGBTQ-friendly bed and breakfast in the middle of the desert, or so they think.

It’s run by Helen and Luella, a Republican and God-worshipping mother and daughter “who happen to make Mincemeat muffins and run a charming if not a bit faded Bed and Breakfast Inn.” Their ill-fated guests are led by Thompson’s “Leather Daddy” Dom and his drag queen boyfriend Alex.

They’re joined by “lipstick lesbians” Deborah and Gabby; “yuppie” power couple Mike and Eric who are traveling with their straight best friend Lizette; Starr and Brenda, a struggling folk singer and tough-talking tomboy and “the sugar daddy and ‘personal trainer,’” Rodney and Todd.  The campfest is rounded out by Manfred, “a homosexual-eating Republican mutant child.”

“What should have been the biggest gay party weekend of the year quickly turns into every gay and lesbian’s worst nightmare,” the film’s official synopsis reads. “As the guests check in, they slowly come to realize (and some too late!) that The Sahara Salvation is not all it appears to be.

“What evil lurks up in the darkness of the attic? Be careful not to disturb Manfred,” it continues, “perhaps the most horrifying create ever created for film! Who can escape and who will survive?”

“The second George W. Bush election fueled the religious right element of the film,” Thompson explains. “We had our villains and we just needed something to fuel them a little more.” He says that with the election of Donald Trump in 2016, it’s an ironic and extreme representation that remains relevant today.

“It’s still current,” Thompson notes. “You can watch the film and easily implant what’s happening in politics now. As much as everything changes for the better, it’s like one step forward, two steps back.”

There are stark differences between today and 2007 when the film was released, however, including LGBTQ representation on both the small and silver screen. “When the film came out we were able to fundraise for it because so many people liked that it was different,” Thompson says. “It was a big deal.

“One of the things we did, which sounds like nothing now, was within 10 minutes of the movie starting we had most of the couples kiss each other,” he explains. “Many audiences hadn’t seen gay characters kiss so early in a movie—it was usually just before they would die or something.”

“Gay B&B” soon became an official selection of LGBTQ film festivals around the world, including 2008’s Orlando Gay Days Film Festival and Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. It screened in more than 30 cities around the world during its initial film festival tour and nationwide theatrical release.

“I’ve been all over the world and all over the country with it,” Thompson says. “I went to London, Wales, Italy, Switzerland and places where I couldn’t physically go before I went to New York, Philadelphia, Dallas, Michigan, Chicago and Florida. It was just all over; it was pretty great.”

He says the film was well received domestically and abroad when LGBTQ-focused content rarely crossed over for mainstream audiences, likely because of its roots in comedic horror.

“It’s not Shakespeare or anything,” Thompson laughs. “It’s a cheesy horror film; it’s just meant to be fun and have genuinely scary moments.”

Check into the “The Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror” with Jaymes Thompson Oct. 31-Nov. 3 during Spooky Empire 2019 at the Tampa Convention Center, located at 333 S. Franklin St. The filmmaker will be selling signed copies of his film’s manuscript and DVD and participating in panel discussions.

Visit SpookyEmpire.com for more information and to purchase tickets. Stream the film via Amazon Prime Video or purchase its manuscript at BreakingRulesPublishing.com. For more information about Thompson, visit JaymesThompson.net.

Share this story: