You sigh. You roll your eyes. “Hasn’t Frenzied frickin’ Fangirl written enough about slash by now?” you ask. Maybe I have. But this time Slash is the title of a film I’ve just seen, and I’m here to tell all y’all that it rocks. As always, I have a few critical notes, but they’re not many.
So here’s the gist: Neil, the protagonist of Slash, writes slash for the fictional fandom of Vanguard. When his composition notebook is stolen (this is why we never take our attempts at writing erotica with us to school, children!) he accidentally befriends Julia, also a slash writer. Sidenote to people that know me IRL: There is a Julia in this film who writes gay fanfic, wears lots of t-shirts with cats on them and is an avid feminist. Sound familiar? I thought so. Julia encourages Neil to put his fic online, and when he does it soon becomes so successful that Neil is asked to do a reading at Comic Con. Then some other stuff happens that I won’t tell you for the sake of spoilers.
What I loved about this film: it’s about fandom, and more specifically: fanfic. It beautifully portrays the tensions within fandom that arise when old school fans are confronted with newcomers. Its full of in-jokes from RPF to curtain fic. It’s super open and honest about non-hetero sexual orientations.
What I didn’t love so much: Why is the protagonist a white guy? (SPOILER ALERT: He’s also kind of straight in the end), when fanfic is one of the few female-dominated areas of fandom? Why is all the fanfic we get to see in this film absolutely terrible? And I mean adjective-heavy, flowery prose with words like “engorged rod” in them. Why? That’s not an accurate portrayal of the fanfic world at all. Lastly: how is it possible that a guy who has been in fandom for twenty years is only just now finding out about curtain fic? Curtain fic isn’t new; it was already an established genre in the zine-era.
If none of this blogpost made sense to you, don’t go to the cinema for Slash. The film relies heavily on in-jokes and the rest of the plot, the coming-of-age romance of a couple of geeky teenagers, is predictable. If, however, like me, you have a list saved somewhere on your computer of your all-time favorite curtain fic sorted by OTP (and you have a separate list for your RPF-OTPs) get your ass to this movie right this second, because it gives a voice and an audience to a subculture that has been silenced and ridiculed for far too long.
PS: Sorry for rambling.