The opening scenes of Jade Castro’s Remington and the Curse of the Zombadings follow a preschooler as he walks around his small Philippine hometown, childishly mocking gay men until one reacts in fury, cursing him to turn gay when he’s grown.
(Imagine Steven King’s Thinner if the old woman had croaked out, “Fabulous!”)
Cut to Remington (Martin Escudero), fully grown, falling for a local girl (improbably named Hannah Montano) while at night a series of ghostly encounters transform him into a walking—well, sashaying—gay stereotype. (A clever touch: After a ghost ties a knot in Remington’s tongue, the film, largely in Tagalog, starts using a second set of subtitles to indicate Baklese, a local gay dialect.)
Meanwhile, someone is killing the town’s gay population via a faulty “gaydar” shaped like a ray gun. Can Remington break the curse (if it is one) and stop the murders, even when gay zombies rise from the grave? The comedy preaches tolerance: The many open-minded people get happy endings, while bigots meet a welcome end.
But using hate crimes—even cartoonified ones—as a source of humor is troubling, and the mincing stereotypes on display bring to mind a little kid pointing and shouting, “Homo! Homo!”