The follow-up to Third Man Out finds a mystery within the mystery of gay conversions.
In Shock to the System: A Donald Strachey Mystery (the second film in the series of gay detective stories by novelist Richard Stevenson) openly gay detective Donald Strachey (played by the also openly gay Chad Allen) discovers that Paul Hale, a recent client, has been found dead. A trail of puzzling clues leads Strachey to Dr. Trevor Cornell (Michael Woods), a religious-right biased gay conversion therapist. The client was sent to Cornell by his mother (Morgan Fairchild) who claims, “All I wanted was what was best for my son, to see him healthy and safe and happy.”
He schedules sessions with the Doc, posing as a homosexual seeking treatment. (When asked if he’ll be subjected to shock therapy or a lobotomy, the secretary assures him, “We don’t advocate that treatment; we haven’t for several years.”) The deeper he gets, the more deadly his world becomes.
Among the DVD’s special features is a documentary of relevance to the plot. Soulforce Resists Religion-Based Discrimination tells the story of a group dedicated to the use of nonviolent resistance to free GLBT people from religious and political oppression. The doc follows Chad Allen, Judy Shepard (Matthew Shepard’s mother), and others on a protest march against the antigay Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs.
Shock to the System, which was directed by Ron Oliver (who also directed an episode of Queer as Folk ), premiered on here! TV last year and is nominated for a Vision Award (see also Television). From Liberation Entertainment (www.liberationentertainment.com). — Preview: Eric A.T. Dieckman