King Cobra

January 20, 2018 - A gay porn producer is violently murdered by competitors in this 2016 film based on a true story. Christian Slater plays the unlucky producer, James Franco is one of the suspects, and Garrett Clayton is the young stud caught in the middle. Molly Ringwald and Alicia Silverstone appear briefly as clueless relatives. The movie was not widely released in theaters, but you can find it on Netflix.

The real-life story played out in Dallas, Pennsylvania, an upper middle-class community about a half-hour outside Wilkes-Barre. In the movie, Stephen (Slater) lives somewhere in New York state. His neighbors mostly keep to themselves, but they do notice the young men that seem to come and go from his house on a regular basis. Those men star in the gay porn videos that Stephen produces, directs, and markets through his company called King Cobra.

Business gets really good when Sean Lockhart (Clayton) shows up. He uses "Brent Corrigan" as his screen name, and his movies make lots of money for King Cobra. The relationship, though, starts to sour after Stephen falls for his young star. And, it really goes bad when Sean learns that Stephen is paying him peanuts compared to what the films bring in.

Sean eventually leaves Stephen and goes back home to California. A pair named Harlow and Joe (Franco) would love to hire him, but Stephen has trademarked the name "Brent Corrigan" and Brent is who they want. When Stephen won't relent, Joe and Harlow decide to eliminate the problem and clear the way for Brent to get back in the game.

Overall review: ** The real-life story has all the salacious elements you could ask for, yet, somehow, this not rated movie is a snoozer. It's bogged down by bad dialogue and by bad sex. The movie picks up a little bit about 30 minutes in, around the time the relationship between Sean and Stephen starts to disintegrate. But, the ending felt rushed and the court proceedings for Harlow and Joe (both sentenced to life in prison without parole) were not addressed at all.

I wanted to see this movie for a couple of reasons: I licensed some of the news footage that appears in the film; and I wanted to see how the movie compared to my own recollections of the case, which mostly involved the 2007 murder of Bryan Kocis (Stephen) and everything after. I don't recall too much about Sean Lockhart from our coverage, but he is the focal point of the movie. So, even though King Cobra is not a great movie, I still found the film enlightening because it filled in a lot of the background that I hadn't really been aware of.