The sex was the easy part. Everything else kept getting in the way.
June 23, 2021 3:06 AM   Subscribe

To the Last Man was a 2008 gay pornographic western (title taken from the 1921 novel by Zane Grey) with a budget of about US $200,000. Dan Cardone wrote about working as a grip on the production, which featured numerous action sequences, real guns and live ammunition, and the deaths of all but one of the characters (YT death montage, CW: one shirtless dude, many graphic and ridiculous murders, 144p -- does not contain any actual porn).
In working on an insanely ambitious shoot like this, you develop a very keen sense of appreciation for what absolutely every person does on a fully crewed film. It gives the even the most lowly of production assistants a god-like stature. For example, normally being a PA means you don’t have to fetch the leading actor’s water bottle, so you can concentrate on getting other actors to wardrobe. But on this shoot, when you do finally make it to the wardrobe department, you discover there is no wardrobe department. YOU are the wardrobe department. Not only that, the wardrobe department is located in the back of a small van, which also contains every piece of other equipment for the shoot. People are dashing in and out barking, “Where’s my tripod?”, and all the models have dumped their dirty clothes in the middle of the cramped space. That key prop isn’t there for the next scene, the one you weren’t aware they were shooting, because they changed the schedule and nobody told you, and can you please move those cars, they’re in shot, and by the way, can you get into costume yourself, we need you as an extra.

This was the first set I had been on that featured three directors, and hopefully the last. One director was there to primarily film the sex scenes, which he did effectively and economically. The other two directors handled what is called in porn-lingo ‘B-Roll’, i.e. everything non sexual. Which on this film was substantial. The plot for To The Last Man involves two ranches populated entirely by horny men who have random sex and feud over water, as they are in the middle of a crippling drought. Which is why we filmed in Arizona during thunderstorm season.


It’s amazing no one got killed, or seriously injured. There was horse riding, there were fight scenes of rocky escarpments, there were drownings. When the real guns and live ammunition came out for a scene I thought, “That’s it, I’m going back to the truck”.

Fortunately, one of the models was also a fully qualified nurse, so that saved money, time and also lives. Plus, he was sexy, so it was win/win. I was the first to go down with dehydration and exhaustion. Others soon followed, no doubt inspired by my strong work ethic.
Found via Tumblr (CW: partial nudity, the same ridiculous graphic murders plus extra ones, GIFs).
posted by automatic cabinet (16 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

Seven rides for seven brothers.
posted by adept256 at 3:47 AM on June 23, 2021 [16 favorites]

I can't wait for RLM to cover this HOLYSHITYES
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:52 AM on June 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

I will never watch this film, as it is not, in many ways, made for me, but my God I will read about the making of it, because there lies glory
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:14 AM on June 23, 2021 [5 favorites]

There's a real retro-Boogie Nights feeling about this, with the director wanting to make a real film that just happened to have a lot of fucking in it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:43 AM on June 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Also, the story of the real Pleasant Valley War sounds pretty epic. You could imagine someone doing up a serious miniseries out of it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:56 AM on June 23, 2021

Sounds like the sex was the least pornographic part of it!
posted by chavenet at 7:16 AM on June 23, 2021

two ranches populated entirely by horny men who have random sex and feud over water, as they are in the middle of a crippling drought.

sounds vaguely similar to Straight To Hell except that wasn't particularly gay or porn and I can't remember what they were all feuding about beyond the lack of a script. And these guys are way better looking. In fact, it doesn't sound anything at all like Straight To Hell ... except it still reminds me of it.
posted by philip-random at 7:33 AM on June 23, 2021

working as a grip wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more...
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:32 AM on June 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

You could imagine someone doing up a serious miniseries out of it.

Does Chuck Tingle have any interest in screenwriting?
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:32 AM on June 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'd sorta like to see this. I'm not into gay porn (no judgements!) but I love B or C or even D movies that are overly ambitious and bite off more than they can chew. You can have your intentionally-bad "Sharknado" crap. I love movies like this one seems to be, where the directors and producers have a Real Vision that... just cannot be executed the way they intended. Unfortunately a lot of this category of film ends up being long shots of people walking through the woods or desert with terrible lighting just to pad it out to 90 minutes. But this looks interesting.
posted by SoberHighland at 9:32 AM on June 23, 2021 [4 favorites]

sounds vaguely similar to Straight To Hell except ... these guys are way better looking

Shane MacGowan and Joe Strummer... That's quite a low bar.
posted by Grangousier at 11:03 AM on June 23, 2021 [8 favorites]

^ are you trying to tell me you have never fantasized about sliding your tongue between the cavernous spaces separating the few remaining teeth in Shane MacGowan's mouth?
posted by elkevelvet at 11:18 AM on June 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

I thought he'd had new ones installed? No, I can't say the thought has ever appealed.
posted by Grangousier at 11:54 AM on June 23, 2021

Shane McGowan with a full and perfect set of teeth would be just about the freakiest thing ever, like the Matrix created a simulation that was almost perfect except for one detail that was very, very wrong.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:05 PM on June 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

I'm going to have to try to find a copy of this. I have a deep love for artists who aim for the stars and fall into the pond at the end of the runway.

I'm struggling to imagine the conversation that concluded with "yeah, let's use live ammunition." I'm guessing it's the shooting bottles scene in the compilation? It's not actually a terrible money-saving choice, assuming everyone is incredibly careful about noting and tagging which guns have real bullets in them. Hiring a professional with a rifle that the actors never touch is probably worth the extra $800.
posted by eotvos at 7:04 AM on June 24, 2021

Strange article. He seems to be looking down his nose at the production, with particular disdain for the perhaps overly-ambitious director, while at the same time he talks about how invigorating it was and how it awakened his sense of play. He never tells us how he came to be working on this production, which seems like a real detour from the more mainstream stuff he'd been doing. It was an interesting piece, but I felt like I was getting only a fraction of the story.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:39 PM on June 24, 2021

« Older Cultural Change ... and yoghurt   |   100 Visions of Parenthood Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments