Hard begins with Jack (Malcolm Moorman) picking up a hitchhiker, having a strange conversation with him, and finally driving off the road to torture and murder him. Soon afterwards, the corpses of sexually tortured young hustlers and drifters start appearing, and the LAPD comes to believe there’s a gay serial killer in the area. Few of the homophobic cops care, though—apart from Raymond Vates (Noel Palomaria), a newly-promoted homicide detective and closeted gay man. He starts investigating the crimes, and while canvassing patrons in a local gay bar, meets Jack by chance. Jack is attractive and manipulative, and soon seduces Raymond into bringing him back to his house.
The two have passionate sex, but the next morning Raymond wakes up handcuffed to his bed. Jack confesses the crimes to him, steals Raymond’s badge, and dares Raymond to find him. When Raymond’s badge is found stuffed down the throat of the next victim, Raymond is forced to out himself or become the prime suspect in the murders. The police force—who have already expressed little concern about the murders—turn on him, brutally harassing him. The one cop who sticks by him is, surprisingly, his gruff partner Tom Ellis (Charles Lanyer). Together, the two track Jack back to his hidden centre of operations, where they find a maze of horrors where he’s tied his victims up to torture and kill.
“A psychological mindfuck that deserves to be seen.”
“Mr. Moorman’s Jack is a chillingly convincing psychopath, one who is as skillful at seduction as he is at homicide.”
— Stephen Holden, The New York Times
“This controversial film stands out from the crowd in a number of ways, most notably its heavily gay subtext.”
Did You Know?
Hard faced serious obstacles to being produced. Apart from having explicit gay sex and brutal violence, it faced serious opposition within the gay community for depicting a gay serial killer. Director John Huckert financed the movie by maxing out 67 credit cards, and when it came time to have the film printed for festival distribution, as refused service by several film labs who claimed the film was pornography—but objected more to the consensual sex scenes than the violence. He did finally get it printed, and it went on to get major, nation-wide theatrical release. Review our Gay Themed Films Here