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From Homoerotic Softcore To Kids’ Movies, the Strange Filmography of David DeCoteau

By 04.04.13
The diverse filmography of director David DeCoteau.

 If your kids ever want to watch a movie on Netflix called A Christmas Puppy, don’t let them. Not because it’s one of the most poorly made, low budget children’s movies of all time. Not because it has the intellectual nutritional equivalent of feeding their brains a bowl full of wet cardboard. And not even because, despite featuring an adorable puppy on the cover and having the word “puppy” right in the title, there is no puppy in the movie. Don’t let them watch it because it will put them a single click away from a small mountain of softcore gay porn.

All they’d have to do is click on the director, David DeCoteau, and holy lord, are their young eyes in for a surprise when it produces over a dozen results for movies with scantily clad twinks on the covers. You, as a parent, will be in for a series of childhood innocence-crushing questions. Questions like, “Daddy, what happened to those boys’ shirts?” and “Mommy, why are their nipples so shiny?”

Wait, one of these seems slightly out of place.


The movies are not appropriate for children, for sure. But to call them “porn” is actually unfair. From my research (research = fast-forwarding through each movie on Netflix while blasting Motörhead and chugging a case of Dr. Pepper Ten to maintain my unblemished record of ardent heterosexuality), the movies seem to be nothing more than cheaply made vehicles for homoeroticism wherein the young male actors do shirtless pullups, engage in boxer-brief-only wrestling matches, and tan their perfectly sculpted hairless pecs by the pool. What I’m saying is, no butt sex.

Apparently, what’s on Netflix is just the tip of the iceberg for DeCoteau. (No pun intended on that totally sweet use of “just the tip.”) Over the last 25 years, the American/Canadian director has made almost 90 eerily similar-looking films with titles like Boy Crazies, Beastly Boyz, and Weiner-Fondling Island. Ok, I made that last one up. Still, everything about them is terrible: the acting, the production, the storylines. They all look like they were filmed over a single afternoon at the same California mansion. Imagine if Tommy Wiseau added homoeroticism to The Room and you’ll get a pretty good picture of what we’re dealing with from DeCoteau. But clearly the man found a niche. A very shirtless niche.

But then in 2011, a title appeared on DeCoteau’s resume that was out of place: A Christmas Puppy, a family holiday movie about a teenager having his faith restored in Christmas. Shortly after its release, DeCoteau put out a rapidfire string of kids’ movies: A Halloween Puppy, An Easter Bunny Puppy, A Talking Cat!?!, and coming soon: A Talking Pony!?! I’ll just go ahead and predict his next few movies: A Valentine’s Day Puppy, A Presidents Day Puppy, and A Talking Armadillo!?!

While it’s unclear exactly why, it looks like DeCoteau found a way to take his cookie cutter formula for softcore filmmaking and apply it to kids’ movies. Maybe he got tired of looking at tanned abs all day, I don’t know. Look, I’m not trying to get into the mind of a guy who made a movie called Cougar Cult. The point is, he seemed to make the ambitious jump from gay porn to children’s movies. What could possibly go wrong with that? Plenty. Plenty could go wrong with that.

The main problem is that old habits die too hard with DeCoteau. Despite the fact that he’s now making child-friendly movies, he still approaches them as if he’s making a sequel to Haunted Frat (actual title). He continues to cast the same kind of clean cut Abercrombie model actors you might find in Boy Crazies. He even films them at the same mansion with the same pool where dudes have oiled each other down. Basically all he does is add a talking animal to his existing softcore flicks, cut back slightly on the all-male shower scenes, and presto, it’s a kids’ movie. The result is unsettling. It feels like you’re watching a very poorly made Disney Channel movie that’s going to break out into a softcore sex scene at any minute.

One is from a gay porn. One is from a kids’ movie. Can you guess which?

For their intended audience, DeCoteau’s movies are incredibly inappropriate and intellectually unstimulating. You’re better off making your kids do whippets in an enclosed garage for 80 minutes than letting them watch one of these movies. But for adults who ironically appreciate the simple pleasures of an awesomely bad movie, DeCoteau’s catalog is a treasure trove of cringeworthy awfulness.

Take A Talking Cat!?!, for example. It’s an 85-minute-long story about a cat named Duffy who can talk to people, but only once, for some reason that’s never explained. Most of the film is just scenery footage of waterfalls and crashing ocean waves. Edit all of those shots out and the movie is probably only 18 minutes long. The cat, who is older and less cute than the one on the cover, is inexplicably voiced by Eric Roberts. And by “voiced by,” what I mean is Eric Roberts narrates the film via the cat whose actions and demeanor do not sync up with the dialogue whatsoever. Roberts’ gruff voice is a comically bad mismatch for a cute animal. It’s like hearing Sam Elliott as the voice of Nemo. And Roberts’ vocal track sounds like it was recorded on an answering machine. There are rap albums recorded over the phone from prison that feature better audio quality.

Here’s how terrible the movie is: Even the cat is unconvincing. In most of the scenes, you can clearly spot cat treats or laser pointer dots around him. Those probably should’ve been edited out. Speaking of things that should’ve been edited out, there are multiple shots of the cat’s passing butthole. Having a cat’s butthole in your face is an unfortunate but commonplace real world result of cat ownership that you should never ever be subjected to while watching a movie.

More technology went into making this gif than the actual effects in it.


Occasionally, DeCoteau will throw some special effects into his films, which is like saying occasionally Taco Bell will throw healthy food options onto its menu. It’s amazing how, after 90 films under his belt, the man’s CGI prowess is that of a freshman at DeVry University.

Another bizarre quirk of DeCoteau’s style is that a generic musical score plays for the entire duration of his movies. It never stops. And it’s incredibly distracting while the characters are talking over it. But when you consider the quality of the dialogue and acting, he’s actually doing the audience a tremendous favor.

DeCoteau also seems to have a rolodex of semi-celebrities at his disposal. Aside from Roberts, who has “starred” in A Talking Cat!?! and A Halloween Puppy, he has also cast Kingpin’s Vanessa Angel, former child star and current terribly aging adult, Johnny Whitaker, Baywatch’s Alexandra Paul and two of the Brady sisters, Maureen McCormick and Susan Olsen, making him one Jan short of the full bunch. Once DeCoteau discovers bankrupt former athletes and desperate 90s rappers, there will be no telling what levels of awfulness his films will reach.

Plenty of directors have contributed to the cult of bad movies—movies like Birdemic, Troll 2, and The Room. But they are all one hit wonders compared to David DeCoteau. He is The Rolling Stones and they are all just Right Said Freds. With a new film out every other month, each one more staggeringly devoid of actual content than the last, he is the most prolific director in the bad movie game. He also sealed his status as a cinematic pioneer with the creation of a new genre: Family Erotica. His movies are truly something to behold. Just don’t let your kids behold them.


TAGSA TALKING CAT!?!DAVID DECOTEAUERIC ROBERTSHALLOWEEN PUPPYRAPID HEART PRODUCTIONS

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