Big Easy Queens

Big Easy Queens
Big Easy Queens
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After the big bang of RuPaul’s Drag Race and all its glittering derivatives, there were other drag outings. Trixie & Katya was a jolly one. Queens of Paradise was a show that featured some very talented drag queens from all over the world. We’re Here was acquired by Max and attracted interest as it followed three drag queens around on tour while having them enlist people to take risks with their lives. We checked into the Trixie Motel last year; this year, Drag Me To Dinner features popular drag queens competing in order to find out who can throw the best dinner party with maybe a cosmo or two.

When creative high heelers eventually made their way into glamorous drags horror stories, it was meant to be like this. Thus, Big Easy Queens is introduced as an indie film so enjoyable you shouldn’t think too much about it. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here: this is a horror queen celebration which features great performances by its indie film casts and if you have seen enough “Gurrrrl! WTFs!” then picture even more than that.

Miss Bouvèé stars in this film directed by Erynn Dalton and scripted by Robert Leleux alongside Benjamin Shaevitz, Jennifer McClain, Alexander Zenoz, Varla Jean Merman as well as Matthew Darren. The plot has got shades of noir but also works equally well as a campy neo-giallo blood-and-glitter whirlwind. This is simply indie filmmaking – just what one would need emotionally speaking – considering how heavy 2023 had been.

Big Easy Queens only runs for 80 minutes yet immerses itself straight away into drama. Minnie Bouvèé (aka Eric Swanson) is mob queen of the New Orleans Quarter who should not be f**ked with; neither should Poodles Makenzie (Jennifer McClain), her arch-nemesis. However, to preserve her Quarter standing, Minnie has her goons kill off Poodles’ gang in a very brutal manner. Enjoy that because it may well be the first time those words have ever been put into a single sentence. Obviously Minnie’s act will have consequences and Poodles is quietly scheming.

Meanwhile, as mascara is applied with the same abandon as creepy noir here, Minnie realizes she’s being followed by someone who covers their face in a mask all the time; he always leaves bunches of gardenias behind him. Its scent might be sweet but its notes are rather sour. There is someone who wants to kill her. But who could it be? She doesn’t know. The plot twists again when Minnie’s long-lost sister Mimi Bouvèé-Truve (Benjamin Shaevitz) shows up and makes Minnie suspicious about it all. Mimi took away the love of her life so many years ago – why did she come back? It’s an interesting story and fun to see it revealed.

The script sets up well for the creative dance Robert Leleux does. The film benefits from having a small budget which comes out more strongly through night shots showing New Orleans and inside clubs run by Minnie and Poodles respectively. This script finds a way to show why these two queens matter to us too though not without acknowledging their differences either: there’s that prominent cane accompanying Poodles whenever she walks along with bossing others around while hanging some of them on cages between pondering over things pertaining to her position in this area; surprisingly though, Minnie stands firmly there taking advantage of what she already knows best at heart given that she even looks like anyone would expect while going about with herself daily life activities unlike any such sassy drag extravaganza would suggest about them which also includes extreme depth found only among its characters sounding more than they can think on their own.

It did not take long before the book begins to tell about the lives of some of its characters. Minnie and Mimi share a few tales. The latter’s story is spicier, with Benjamin Shaevitz giving her performance a classic ending, making us ask: Is she really so innocent or just a crazy woman? Perhaps both. The blood in Mimi’s past attracts her back to Minnie. Then again, she becomes a toxic trifecta as there are shifts of loyalty between Poodles and Minnie.

Minnie, leaning on her assistant Giuseppe (Alexander Zenoz) for support all the time, can’t stop picking glitter out of her navel either. “I will never forgive you for what you’ve done to me.” (Mimi’s betrayal still hurts.) Right at that moment Jolene should start playing but no, Big Easy Queens’ vivacious musical numbers are full of smoky flavors too. Enjoy those.

The dialogues are interesting many times over here. “You’re my little bitch now” growls mimi after being leashed by poodles at one point. “Mimi!” Minnie shrieks another occasion when things become unbearable. And: “Tell Poodles where to kiss it and make it all better.” (“if you know what I mean”) This all adds up to an absurd fantastic fun”.

In other instances, the main mystery- who is behind the mask leaving flowers and notes around? –is made secondary as these colorful cats keep their audience entertained with their various activities . It has a post-modern Rocky Horror Picture Show feel about it and I can absolutely see how Big Easy Queens could become a cult hit movie. As the main mystery heads towards its big reveal, all the characters have been slapped around in one way or another.

Eric Swanson deserves kudos for his vocal/acting abilities because he makes an excellent minnie character. That is a diva you would like to hang around with. Brassy and ballsy but still vulnerable other than curious and inquisitive, it is a good role and the actor does justice to the character he created in the Florida drag scene. Meanwhile, B-players such as Varla Jean Merman make for a great fit.

Of course, this film might remind one of Die, Mommie, Die! Another drag hit that starred Charles Busch but Big Easy Queens is its own creature. Uncontrollable machine guns. Voodoo zombies. High heel mayhem. Howls of laughter. Blood-curdling screams. Gore and then some. Big Easy Queens is pure escapist fun full stop.What an unforgettable Queer Horror Camp Delight Hilarious indeed

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