Shock to the System: A Donald Strachey Mystery
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The story addresses a young man who is in need of Strachey's help in finding someone (a nice little twist @ the end as to exactly whom that is). As usual, he winds up dead before Strachey knows who it is and must go undercover in a clinic that specializes in "curing" homosexuals. Morgan Fairchild makes a brief but touching turn as the dead man's mother...I wish she had been given more screen time. She managed to make a mother who pushes her son into regenerative therapy because of his "issues" seem loving and delusional at the same time.
I also like the noir touches (some find it amateurish because the colors are bleached out but it's obviously a predictable component to the film, i.e., it's supposed to look like that).
Chad Allen is a fantastic actor and he imbues the Strachey character with darkness, a sense of humor and a humility and humanness that is so often missing in trite, gay characters. Sebastian Spence as his husband Timmy Callahan is also great and I love the chemistry between Chad and Sebastian as they bring this relationship to life. This is one of the most honest and moving gay relationships ever depicted and it comes without all the clichés. These two men LOVE each other greatly and it shows and it's a NORMAL relationship. It's one of the best facets of these films.
And so what that the mysteries are predictable! Murder She Wrote, Matlock, Columbo, Perry Mason, etc.Read more ›
The story this time around involves Strachey's being asked to help one Paul Hale (Jared Keeso), the supposed poster boy for the Phoenix Foundation, a 'turn gay people straight' institute run by Dr. Trevor Cornell (Michael Woods) and his wife Lynn (Anne Marie Loder). Paul is soon found dead and the implications are suicide. But Strachey suspects foul play (we later discover Hale was his first love in the Army!) and aided by Hale's mother Phyllis (Morgan Fairchild looking terrific and acting well) who encouraged her son's joining the Phoenix Foundation, he begins his own style of investigation.
Strachey wisely 'becomes a patient' with Dr. Cornell and in group therapy makes discoveries and friends with those who eventually help to solve the case: a strong group of actors including Rikki Gagne, Stephen Huszar, Ryan Kennedy, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, Shawn Roberts, Dany Papineau, and Gerry Morton.Read more ›
The film starts similarly to the novel. Paul Hale hires Strachy (Chad Allen) to find an unidentified person but is shortly found dead of a drug and alcohol overdose. Hale had recently made a scene at a gay-conversion therapy session, angering the leader, Dr. Trevor Cornell (Michael Woods), and had left the group. There are indications that Hale was about to make damaging public revelations about the gay-conversion organization.
Identifying some with Hale, Strachy infiltrates the group and pokes around. The issues raised at the group raise up old memories for Strachy, which lead to an emotional scene between Strachy and Callahan (Sebastian Spence), giving more depth to Strachy and to his partnership. Kenny Kwon (Nelson Wong), a desk clerk in the first film, Third Man Out, finds a new role in this one, lightening the mood. The film goes on to its conclusion.
The movie succeeds in providing character and noir atmosphere. We see the principals in more depth than in the novels. There is no issue of being too campy. The lighting, costumes, and sets are great.
Getting all that to work in 91 minutes did cause big chunks of the novel to drop out of the script. There is no more group prank against the group leader and far fewer individual interviews. The solution of the mystery is very compressed. It's a bit of a shame since I thought the underlying novel was the best at showcasing Strachy's sleuthing skills of the whole series.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I would like to see more films of this nature available to view.
Thank you kneale
A good movie from the Here channel. A gem to watch with good story and acting.Published 7 months ago by Rene Krammer
well all I can say is movies like this win over tv and so much more
come on guys why did it take so long for someone to give emmy and Oscar show
these are great... Read more
I love these movies! I am just loving Donald Strachey and his BF Timmy Callahan. These are some of the best gay movies (theres 4) I've seen in some time. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Amazon Customer