Glorious Image


By Michael Talbot-Haynes | September 27, 2022

NOW ON SHUDDER! Prepare for the wildest time you ever had in a rest area men’s room in director Rebekah McKendry’s glorious horror outing Glorious. Yes, pretty much the whole movie takes place with Wes (Ryan Kwanten) locked inside a men’s room at a Route 37 rest area. It’s dirty, grimy, and has no toilet paper. There are also only two stalls, one closed, with a glory hole in the wall about waist high between them. Out through the glory hole from the other side of the wall is a smooth, mysterious voice (J.K. Simmons) saying the damnedest things.

For those not familiar with the concept of glory holes, they are hand-crafted conduits for grown people to have sex with each other in public without seeing each other. Whether you are on the licking end or the sticking end, you do not know who is on the other side, which is why they are so damn fun. The constant unknown factor, that wall of mystery, is titillating. Movies can be fun, like glory holes, the joy of plunging into something while not knowing what is on the other side. So, in this case, anything revealed outside the concept, from the story and poster art, will spoil all the goodies in the screenplay by Todd Rigney, Joshua Hull, and David Ian McKendry.

Glorious harnesses some major star power, with Oscar winner Simmons doing the voice behind the glory hole. Who wouldn’t want to sit next to a hole in a stall listening to the mellow tones of the voice legend behind the yellow M&M? While Simmons draws the throng to the hole, it is Kwanten’s excellent performance that will keep them there. He has the thankless task of being the sole actor onscreen for the majority of the running time. He not only holds your attention, but he also throws it up in the air and catches it several times.

Ryan Kwanten – Glorious – Photo Credit: Shudder

“…through the glory hole from the other side of the wall is a smooth, mysterious voice…”

McKendry pulls off a significant win with her directing, as the top-notch cuts destroy all the claustrophobia built into the set-up. You literally have an entire universe inside this men’s room. Extra special mention must go to the art department for the bad-a*s painting on the stall wall around the glory hole. It immediately brought to mind those wonderful surreal paintings by John Cline that were used in the opening credits of Queen of Blood. The viewer fixates on this painting regularly as it is cut to often when Simmons speaks. It appears slightly different every time you see it. Eerie.

While the comedy comes out swinging, the frights win by knockout. So rarely have I seen so much humor built up, only to be completely sucked out by the hungry mouth of horror. One look at its lovely Lovecraftian poster lets you know you are in for a lavender light special, just like Mandy and Color Out of Space. I have seen cosmic horror done in all sorts of places, even the sewers, but in a roadside man-sex lavatory? I know Lovecraft movies have been skewing kinky since the 1980s, but old Lovecraft would be knocked senseless by his signature style of horror decorating the shithouse walls.

Glorious is more Lovecraft than most Lovecraft adaptations. Maybe we need to go more kinky, like The Dunwich Daisy Chain or Balls Deep In the Mouth of Madness. McKendry has delivered an instant cult masterpiece that manages to be both funny and scary.

Glorious (2022)

Directed: Rebekah McKendry

Written: Todd Rigney, Joshua Hull, David Ian McKendry

Starring: Ryan Kwanten, J.K. Simmons, Sylvia Grace Crim, Andre Lamar, Tordy Clark, etc.

Movie score: 9.5/10

Glorious Image

"…an instant cult masterpiece..."

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