Big Easy Queens takes pride in its midnight movie mentality: Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival Review

  • Peter Gray
  • August 26, 2023
  • Comments Off on Big Easy Queens takes pride in its midnight movie mentality: Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival Review

A truly bizarre melting pot of a film that takes pride in its giallo-inspired-horror-melded-with-camp-musical-comedy mentality, Big Easy Queens in an intentionally ridiculous, over-the-top experiment that, for the right audience, will prove a bloody wild ride.

Set in a mob-run criminal underworld of sorts, Erynn Dalton‘s genre-mash of a movie has been primarily made for the queer audience that embrace all things camp and reality-detached.  An intentionally convoluted plot that makes even the most heightened of soap opera narratives seem coherent in comparison, Big Easy Queens focuses on Miss Minnie Bouvèé (Eric Swanson, fabulous), New Orleans’ Mob Queen of the Quarter, who dishes out death without so much as putting her wig out of place.

However, it’s now she who finds herself on the potential receiving end of someone else’s scythe when a series of ominous notes are sent to her, reminding her of her dark past.  The most logical culprit is Poodles Mackenzie (Jennifer McClain), a rival mob boss whose crew was eliminated at the hand of Minnie’s minions.  Minnie trying to figure out just who is out to off her is enough of a plot point in itself, but Dalton’s frenetic film – from a script by Robert Leleux – has a few more oddities to contend with, with Minnie’s ex, Jackson Truvé (Matthew Darren), rearing his presence in her life once more, which in itself brings about Minnie’s sister, Mimi Bouvèé-Truvé (Benjamin Shaevitz), who Jackson ran away with.

Oh, the drama of it all.

As over-the-top as the film is – and it really does travel to some truly bizarre, blood-splattered places – Dalton navigates the chaos in a manner that always feels as if she’s in control.  It’s also to the film’s benefit that Swanson keeps it all relatively grounded with an endearing performance that injects proceedings with enough heart and humour that makes the tonal shifts from musical numbers to death sequences feel alarmingly organic.

Now, given the film’s evidently restricted budget, much of what takes place on screen looks – for lack of a better word – cheap, but there’s a resourcefulness implemented here that only adds to Big Easy Queens‘s charm.  This is the epitome of a midnight movie, and it’s difficult to not be swept up in its own pluck; as a horror fan, there’s truly a sense of warmth felt when practical effects are utilised on screen over CGI, so one character being drenched in gallons of blood (ala Carrie) can’t help but be met with a smile.

Because of its low budget and campy temperament, Big Easy Queens won’t be for everyone, but, in the same breath, it hasn’t been made for the masses either.  This is knowingly silly, violent, queer cinema that wants to bathe in its own lunacy, and if you’re receptive to its cheap quality (meant in the most loving manner) you should enjoy this killer, camp chorus.


Big Easy Queens is screening as part of this year’s Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF), running physically between August 23rd and 27th, 2023, and as a virtual encore between August 28th and September 4th.

Peter Gray

Film critic with a penchant for Dwayne Johnson, Jason Momoa, Michelle Pfeiffer and horror movies, harbouring the desire to be a face of entertainment news.