It's the 1990s. Toby, just out of college in Wisconsin, comes to Manhattan to spend the summer with his older cousin, Packard, a gay man whose lover John R. has just died of AIDS. Toby is ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Erik Van Der Wilden ...
Matt Decker ...
Ari Benjamin ...
Street Vendor (as Nick Giangiulio)
Erik Estrada ...
Man At Gym
Greg Fox ...
Boy at Street Vendor
John R. ...
Boy in Visions
Robert Hartsell ...
Boy in Visions
Greg Nacozy ...
Boy in Visions
Paul Sutherland ...
Boy in Visions
Paul O'Shea ...
Boy in Visions
Gustavo Motta ...
Boy in Visions
Kevin Gayer ...
Boy in Visions
Jeff Fennelly ...
Boy in Visions


It's the 1990s. Toby, just out of college in Wisconsin, comes to Manhattan to spend the summer with his older cousin, Packard, a gay man whose lover John R. has just died of AIDS. Toby is shy, the openly-gay society around him makes him nervous. Packard gives Toby a pair of John R.'s shoes; when Toby puts them on, he has powerful visions of the pre-AIDS scene in the 1970s, as if he's there. He also takes on a different personality when he wears the shoes, more sure of himself, able to express his interest in men. Wearing the shoes, Toby goes to a bar, hooks up with Dick, and wakes up in Dick's bed. How will he handle it? And what will happen to the shoes? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

aids | gay | 1970s | magical shoe | hugging | See All (25) »





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Release Date:

June 1992 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

This film is in memory of John Reed, Ricky Wilson and other boys I never knew. See more »


Edited into Boys' Shorts: The New Queer Cinema (1993) See more »


Don't Leave Me This Way
Performed by Thelma Houston
Words & Music by Kenny Gamble (as Kenneth Gamble), Cary Gilbert, and Leon Huff
© 1975 Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp
See more »

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User Reviews

a sweet glance at a bygone era
26 August 2003 | by (Chicago, IL) – See all my reviews

Many of us, not just gay folks, have tried to imagine what things were like before AIDS. When we do so, playing the classic disco anthems on our turntables or in our minds, it's hard not to look back thru the dark glasses of AIDS-era morality: All those bad things that happened with AIDS means they must have been horribly evil, promiscuous and bad way back then, which is why so many other AIDS movies have this sense of foreboding--sure, there's a party, but we all know it's going to end soon, and we all know how.

Toby, the hero of "Dead Boys' Club," finds a way to revisit the pre-AIDS era without any of that gloom on the horizon. Unsurprisingly, he finds all the fun of being young and discovering the excitement of sexual attraction--just what many a young man before him had found on his first visit to the big city. Sure, there are complications and consequences--some serious, some hilarious--and the threat of HIV isn't taken lightly. But director Mark Christopher perfectly juxtaposes past exuberance and modern realities, letting viewers feel what it's like to recall a world without HIV, while refusing to dismiss or ignore the disease.

This mix of past and present could feel forced or artsy, but it doesn't. "Dead Boys Club" shows the balance of present and past almost the way we feel it, seeing the present in front of us as our minds flash to the past, and then back to the present.

Even though the movie was a student film, I've never seen anything like it. In his next movie, "Alkali, Iowa," Christopher would expand on the idea of looking back at past events that shaped the present. Both films clearly represent a new, exciting, unconventional way of storytelling in movies, which made the choice of Christopher as director of "54" all the more surprising. Someday I hope to see what Christopher had wanted for that film; meanwhile, I'm happy to hear that he's working on other projects.

Oh, yeah: Sure, "Dead Boys Club," is sweet and wistful. It's also uproariously funny. Just recalling this movie brings a smile to my face, on so many levels.

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