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Movie Review: The Sheep And The Ranch Hand

By Mike Everleth ⋅ January 23, 2010

Woman dressed as a sheep

Is she a lesbian dreaming she’s a sheep? Or a sheep dreaming she’s a lesbian?

Filmmaker Loretta Hintz turns the tables on the traditionally male-dominated genre of bestiality porn with her sexy lesbian farce The Sheep and the Ranch Hand.

Don’t get too excited, there’s no real sex with real animals in Hintz’s short film. Instead, a bored, lonely gal (Dyan McBride) drifts asleep while watching Bonanza reruns and imagines herself as a cloven-footed, wool-covered animal playfully romping on a sunny hillside.

During the fantasy sequence that makes up the bulk of the movie, the sheep costume that McBride wears — which was designed and constructed by Hintz herself with a helper — is a very erotic little number, showing off just enough skin to remind us there’s a real girl underneath the heavy fleece. And while this is a lesbian fantasy, guys will have no problem being as equally turned on by the getup as the ladies.

Hintz next plays with lipstick lesbian and butch stereotypes when the hot female-sheep, pun-fully named Baaaaarbara, is called back to the farm by a rugged, manly woman (Jean DuSablon). Their interaction inside the farmhouse is made up of coy teasing and innuendo, mostly ending up with even more sheep-related puns. But, just when it appears the fantasy is going to be all set-up and misdirected payoff, Hintz ends things with the surprising humdinger of an ending that’s been promised by the title.

In addition to being sexy, amusing and genuinely hilarious, The Sheep and the Ranch Hand is technically marvelous to look at and listen to. The cinematography is decidedly crisp and colorful, giving the film an almost cartoonish appeal even though it’s all live-action. This is especially befitting as the film is constructed as an elaborate fantasy and isn’t meant to mimic reality. Also a really nice touch, and charming, is the perfect synching between the real sound effect of a sheep bleating matched with McBride’s mouthings. This is an exceptionally well-crafted and designed short film in every regard.

However, what makes the film truly successful is that it exists beyond just trying to be sexy and get off a few good jokes. On another level, Hintz is crafting a message about empowerment. It’s a simple message about embracing one’s innermost desires, but it’s enough of a statement to give the film some weight to hang the outrageous plot and images on.

But then the film seems to be making an even deeper, subconscious message through its anthropomorphic premise. Typically, human-animal sex on film is crafted for and by male perverts to exploit the humiliation of women. In The Sheep and the Ranch Hand, a woman-as-animal becomes the submissive to a male stand-in as the aggressor, which is a subversion of the typical bestiality porn film.

Baaaaarbara is not a true submissive, though, as she very actively chooses her suitor and allows herself to engage in erotic, and romantic, behavior without male coercion. The sheep and the ranch hand share a warm, mutually beneficial relationship. Their time together, although filled with off-beat humor, is oddly genuinely romantic and tender, which is why, when the fantasy is over, the lonely gal’s empowerment feels like a genuine, uplifting achievement.

The Sheep and the Ranch Hand certainly lives up to what one should expect, and more, from the title.

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