Do you love trash like I do? In the 1970’s, exploitation movies became a thing where trash and sleaze were loveable qualities. They had fun doing stuff the mainstream wouldn’t do. Along with the bad, came good access for audiences that Hollywood didn’t represent, like minorities and subcultures. Now “Fursploitation” is creeping into popular awareness. I characterize it that way if it portrays “furries” with off-the-rack, poorly fitting mascot costumes and orgy jokes. That stuff may not play well with furries, but it can. They’ll probably dislike it if it has low effort at research, or feels carelessly opportunistic or mean, but it helps to be indie and share inside references to laugh together. A success would be CollegeHumor’s “Furry Force”, which the fandom took with good humor.
Furry Nights is an indie horror movie directed by J. Zachary. It premiered in late 2016 with a theater show in Atlanta. I heard from several very happy furry watchers who attended. Then Zachary asked me to tell you about it.
“What begins as a carefree weekend amongst a group of camping teens soon takes a strange turn when the gang discovers they are not alone in the forest. FURRIES have rooted camp just across the nearby lake. Not worried about the “party animals,” the kids sleep soundly that night, only to be woken by a real life horror — A BEAR! One of the teens shoots and kills the grizzly monster, but quickly realizes the tragic truth — HE HAS SHOT A FURRY . . . Now, the maniacal furries will stop at nothing to make them pay . . .
CAN THE TEENS SURVIVE THE REVENGE OF THE FURRIES?!”
@KaiWulf said: “Indy film, very campy. We had a good laugh.” And here’s another happy watcher.
FURRY GUEST REVIEW: Lucas Hale shares his experience of the movie premiere in Atlanta.
(Lucas:) Once upon a time, in the magical realm of infinite shitposting that is known as “Furry Twitter”, there was an Internet dog. He was yellow and labradorable, because he associated himself in the fandom of weirdos that play dress-up as talking animals as a yellow labrador. He was slacking around at work as usual, struggling to retain interest in his mountain of boring projects, thumbing through his phone. It was me!
Some anonymous stranger with an avatar of one of “them animal people” had been retweeted onto my twitter timeline. In that tweet-that-changed-my-life was mention of a film playing at the oldest local historic independent theater in Atlanta, Georgia. Some film about killer furries was booked to play there. I’d never heard of such a film, but it immediately caught my interest. I quickly googled the title and didn’t discover much. I went to youtube and hit the keywords. “Furry Nights movie trailer”. There it was. This thing was real.
I first thought it was like a five or ten minute short film. (The Plaza shows them quite often) It was feature length! Breathing heavily and squealing with indescribable joy, I rallied the squad, blasting friends all over Twitter and Telegram, determined to find some brave souls eager enough to sit through me and another one of my shitty movie adventures. (I attend movies every week, no matter what the content. I’ll usually sit through it good or bad.) I quickly found at least five friends, willing to get to Atlanta, come hell or high water. Good or bad, whether it portrayed furries as horrible sexual deviants, this movie had to be witnessed. The fellowship was born.
We traveled across the land, searching far and wide for parking, of which there was very limited spaces. When we got inside, we shuffled our way nervously to the counter and planted our money on the concession counter, demanding tickets. We were flabbergasted when they told us that the entire theater had been rented out, and all seats were for grabs to anyone willing to watch it. I ain’t gonna complain, I got bills to pay and an insatiable appetite for impulsive purchases.
Shuffling into the back of the theater, trying to go unnoticed, we were greeted and thanked by a suspiciously friendly man, who we could only assume was involved with the picture. Praise was showered upon us, how wonderful it was we came out, what it meant to him that we were supporting it. Did he know who we were? Were we even supposed to be there? Was this some sort of private event we were quietly crashing? We had no idea, but we eventually began to toy with the twitter account for the theater, hinting that our presence had infiltrated one of their movie premieres.
As the movie neared showtime, the man who had greeted us took to the front of the room. He, the director, described the labor of love he had put into making this, how it was his dream to make a feature film and have it play out on a big screen. I admired that about him. He presented himself as a genuinely nice individual and he didn’t really care what anyone else thought. He hoped people would like it, but most of all, he made it for himself and he was proud of it.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going in to be honest. This was either going to be so bad and stupid and dumb that it was going to be a laugh riot, or it was just going to be really boring and offensive. Luckily it was the former. My furry fam and I all enjoyed it very much.
Plotwise, it’s fairly simple. Nothing complicated here. It’s your basic horror comedy movie setup for a creature feature. A small group of people adventure out into the woods, for some reason they choose not to leave, despite multiple opportunities. They find an unspeakable evil that hunts them down and whittles them down to smaller numbers.
The difference here being that this time, the creatures terrorizing the hot young cast are humans wearing animal costumes. The monsters in the movie are literally furries in fursuits. Kinda crummy cheap looking ones compared to what people in the fandom would spend to get one, but it adds to the idea I’m watching some sort of surreal episode of Scooby Doo. I don’t fault the movie for this at all – I can’t think of a single furry who would volunteer to ruin their $2,000 costume. I spent $1,450 just to get my own. Think of all the delicious big macs I had to sacrifice to be a banana dog at furry conventions.
The cheesy fursuits make the film perfect. The entire film pretty much honors and accepts that it’s a low budget B-horror movie production. It hits the ground running and never lets go. Hell, even the main characters in the movie are in the forest producing their own cheesy horror movie. From start to finish it knows it’s ridiculous. The dialogue is quippy and humorous, often bringing a smirky chuckle to your face. Other parts are outlandish and surreal and your eyes are glued to the screen. Did that just happen? Yes it did!
I’m the perfect audience for this film. I watch horror and sci-fi genre media like a nutcase. I pretty much consume cheesy Sy Fy and Asylum movies like nourishment for my soul. I have the added benefit of being able to call myself a furry. I have no idea what someone would think of this that’s not in the furry fandom, like myself, but I thought it was stupidly awesome. It was entrancing.
Furry Nights is an 80’s midnight movie rebranded for a modern audience. What’s not to love? The movie isn’t very original, or smart, or scary, but it’s highly amusing and entertaining and that’s all it is trying to do. It’s all it needs to do honestly. This film isn’t trying to break any new ground, it was clearly meant to be shared with friends late at night at a party with a bunch of alcohol.
It has many different classic horror movie tropes, right down to the fact it begins with a quick kill of an unimportant nameless bastard before the opening title card, who stumbles upon the maniac sex cult of furries. There’s a cabin in the woods like Evil Dead. There’s some great gross out gags here and there. Furry Nights (to my relief) was not trying to make people in the furry fandom look bad, it’s just poking fun at them and it feels good to laugh at yourself.
The whole movie knows how ridiculous it is. It never tries to pass itself off as anything serious, and that’s exactly why it works. I watched this movie to see killer furries, and goddamn did I get that! It delivered on every level! You don’t pay to ride a rollercoaster then complain when you get off! I saw murderous fursuiters terrorizing mostly innocent campers.
I’ve told so many people about this movie, how it needs to be shared, because socially, that’s where this movie is supposed to be viewed. You don’t watch this alone. To fully enjoy this movie to the maximum potential, you need to get your friends for a completely different viewing experience. Audience interaction builds upon the intensity of this odd little gem. It’s kind of like how on its own, Rocky Horror Picture Show or The Room, they’re just not the same animal. But if you’re laughing at it with your friends, it becomes the best thing ever made. I’m glad I watched it and invite you to do the same.
Thanks to Lucas for being the experimental volunteer to watch this. Personally, I would love to see more such fandom productions – but it’s such a niche that we have to grow and give it time. Until then, I definitely appreciate good natured “fursploitation”, and friendly fellow travelers on the indie side. I hope you do too. Try this for a furry movie party!
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