Blaine Thurier’s parents are OK with his day job as synthesizer player with the indie supergroup The New Pornographers but they probably won’t go be seeing his new movie.
“I had an evangelical upbringing,” he says, “so anything sexual you weren’t allowed to talk about and you certainly weren’t allowed to do anything about it. It can be very frustrating for a kid. The trauma of that has inextricably linked sex and religion in my brain. Everything I write these days seems to be about that.”
His new film, Teen Lust, is an homage to the teen comedies of the 1980s. The main character Neil (Jesse Carere) is determined to lose his virginity on the eve of his eighteenth birthday. The surprise is that he’s desperate to have sex, not just because of any natural desires, but because his parents are part of a Satanist cult led by John (Cary Elwes) and his wife Mary (True Blood’s Kristin Bauer van Straten) who plan on sacrificing Neil to prevent 1000 years of peace on earth. Imagine Porky’s with a dollop of Rosemary’s Baby.
“I won’t even tell them what it is about,” he says, adding, “It’s weird, but it is me trying to be normal.”
“I wanted to make a teen sex comedy but there are so many of them out there I felt it needed higher stakes and a little twist. I also wanted it to be a funny adventure, like Ferris Bueller, Back to the Future or Risky Business. They were touchstones. Stylistically it doesn’t look like any of those films but story wise, I wanted to have a big night of comedic adventure.”
The Manitoba-shot movie debuted at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival in the Contemporary World Cinema program. It was Thurier’s fourth visit to the fest and he was pleased with the response he received.
“If they laugh,” he says, “I’m happy. You wait for that first laugh. Once you get the first laugh it’s like, ‘OK, I can relax now,’ because if they found that funny they’ll probably find something else funny too.”
As for his parents, while Teen Lust would be too shocking for them, they seem at ease with the name of his band The New Pornographers.
“They think it is kind of edgy and out there,” he says. “I feel bad because my mom can brag to her friends at church that her son was on David Letterman but then they ask, ‘What’s the name of his band?’”