The Honey Cooler: Gumshoes and furries and masked wrestlers, oh my!
The heart of the noir genre is the hardboiled detective, but your typical noir doesn't pit him against furries and Lucha Libre wrestlers. For that, you need a farce noir, and that's exactly what you get with The Honey Cooler, debuting tomorrow, November 7, at the Hi-Dive. Farce and noir may seem like strange bedfellows, but that's the vehicle writer-director Ryan Demers chose to deliver his vision.
"I just thought that kind of fit. I certainly haven't seen the term anywhere, but I thought it fit for what the movie was, as far as I was concerned. I'm a fan of Mel Brooks and I'm certainly a fan of noir films, so for me it was kind of combining a few things," he explains. "It was sort of a way for me to come to terms with how ridiculous I found everything out there. The biggest comparison I could come up with is the whole idea of people screwing each other in animal costumes."
At the center of this lurid tale of animal-costumed sex and private dicks, you'll find Denver's own Z-list celebrity Sid Pink, as the washed-up detective who gets hired to track down a missing executive and turns up all sorts of high weirdness.
"I wrote it for Sid Pink. This is a guy who, for more than a decade of this life, has lived as a character," Demers says. "But I found Sid to be more real as a human being than the average person on the street. So it is, in that sense, theater of the ridiculous in that we have Lucha Libre wrestlers and furries and burlesque dancers. It's all about the idea of the costumes and the masks that people wear, yet it is sort of a traditional detective noir story. That's the basis of it."
Demers worked on the film for almost two years, having started on the script while he was still working on his previous feature, the kickball doc Battle for the Boot. Now that it's finally ready to be shown to the public, he believes the time was well spent.
"I'm happy with how it turned out. There's no doubt that had we been able to raise more capital, we could have done a more professional job of it, but for what it is, it has a lot of bang for its buck," Demers says. "It's obviously our first narrative piece. I'm very happy with all the actors we were able to bring on. I do think that, unlike a sports documentary, which is very niche, that this piece, once it is all put together, will certainly have a greater possibility of going through the film festival route."
Most of the cast and crew will be joining Demers for the premiere, which he says will be a chance for the public to see the essentially finished product and offer any final thoughts or criticisms of the film before its wider release.
"The Denver community in general, we want to show it and get feedback on it. We'll probably do some changes based on audience reaction here and move forward from there," he says.
The Honey Cooler will show at 8 p.m., Wednesday November 7 at the Hi-Dive. Admission is free.
Get the Arts & Culture Newsletter
Find out about upcoming performances, exhibitions, openings and special events happening in the Denver art and theater scene.