There are break-ups…and then there are break-ups when you find out your ex-boyfriend mixed a little low-key chlamydia into the bargain. That’s what happens to poor Adam in Dan Hass’s dark horror/comedy short film Magic H8 Ball.
As the film opens, Adam (Nathan Mohebbi) pays a visit to his local clinic. When the doctor informs him he has chlamydia, Adam obviously goes through a torrent of emotions until he discovers a very special Magic 8 Ball.
This isn’t your garden variety toy from Walmart, however. This 8 Ball has a sinister edge, and Adam soon finds himself following its instructions to the letter.
Steal a bicycle? Sure! Eat a ton of junk food? Absolutely. Go make a scene at your ex’s house? We’re there! Kill your ex? Wait…what?
I mean, we’ve all been there, right?
“The film was kind of born out of that awkward Sunday morning visit to the clinic that gay men make a lot more often that straight people do,” Hass told me. “And you’re sitting there and you try not to make eye contact. And you all kind of know that you’re there for the same reason, but it’s still slightly uncomfortable.”
WARNING: SHORT PSA AHEAD!
The feeling certainly resonates for a lot of the queer people I know. Especially after the initial onset of the AIDS crisis in the 80s, we’ve learned to pay attention to our bodies and make those regular visits.
It’s a lesson, quite frankly, that the straight male community could learn from us. As recently as 2017, the CDC reported that the most commonly treated demographic for chlamydia, the most commonly diagnosed STD, is straight women at 45% of reported cases. Gay men follow behind that demographic in second, and men who identify as bisexual in the third.
It doesn’t take a degree in math to recognize that a small portion of bisexual men are infecting 800,000 women per year, and if there was anything we can pass along to our straight brothers across the aisle, it’s that testing saves lives and improves overall health.
This lack of testing seems to fall back to government regulations and recommendations. It will surprise hardly anyone at all that the CDC and other government agencies have rarely put forth protocols for recommending asymptomatic straight men be tested for most STDs unless they are or have been in prison with the assumption that they of course came into sexual contact with other men while incarcerated.
This has further stigmatized the queer community, with a government sponsored cloud that hangs over us that we are somehow dirtier or more prone to disease. The fact is that we are more prone to being diagnosed with STDs or STIs and that is because we more actively have ourselves tested.
But let’s get back to Magic H8 Ball.
“With the Magic 8 Ball, it’s all about asking questions and getting answer,” Hass continued. “When you’re in the situation that Adam’s in, nothing can give you those answers really. It’s time to look at yourself and figure your shit out. He wasn’t ready to look that deep so it feel on this toy that’s supposed to magically answer your questions to force him to look at himself and deal with his emotions.”
Hass, a 20-something Associate Creative Director at Viacom, worked with an almost exclusively LGBTQ cast and crew in creating Magic H8 Ball, and it’s one of the best dark comedies I’ve seen in a long time. His comedic timing is on point, and he isn’t afraid to shine a light on some of the darker parts of our Id in the film’s exploration.
Magic H8 Ball is available now on Vimeo. You can see it by clicking here! Hass also says that it will be available on YouTube in the next couple of weeks!
For more great queer short horror films, check out these titles!