Happy Halloween folks!
With one of our favorite holidays on the horizon, we've decided to bust out our favorite queer screamers for a rewatch. We mean movies, not actually queer people screaming. We have enough of that in these times...
Anyway, last year we composed a screening list of sexy & scary must-see films. This year we've given that list an update to include even more LGBTQ H-O-R-R-O-R. Grab the popcorn and witch's brew, and curl up on the couch. Dates are optional but encouraged.
Happy Halloween folks!
With one of our favorite holidays on the horizon, we’ve decided to bust out our favorite queer screamers for a rewatch. We mean movies, not actually queer people screaming. We have enough of that in these times…
Anyway, last year we composed a screening list of sexy & scary must-see films. This year we’ve given that list an update to include even more LGBTQ H-O-R-R-O-R. Grab the popcorn and witch’s brew, and curl up on the couch. Dates are optional but encouraged.
Bride of Frankenstein
Cinema scholars just looooove pointing out all the homoeroticism in this Universal classic. Director James Whale–who was an out-gay man in the 1930s–loaded this sequel up with all kinds of gay subtext, from a pair of mad scientists trying to give birth to a woman, to the Frankenstein Creature having a happy domestic life with a blind hermit to Ernst Thesiger’s camp performance. It’s a must-see for horror fans…and for anyone who likes screaming queens with their screams.
Streams on Peacock, Amazon, YouTube, iTunes & VUDU.
Interview with the Vampire
Tom Cruise gives one of his best performances, even if he seems to be the only one that doesn’t realize he’s in a movie about gay vampires. A young Kirsten Dunst also excels, and the sexual tension between Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas’ vampires should make anyone pitch a stake.
Streams on Hulu, YouTube, iTunes & VUDU.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
Out actor Mark Patton stars in this oh-so-very gay installment of the popular franchise. The film features Patton dancing in his undies, a hot dude begging to spend the night with bestie, and scenes in a leather bar. Did people pick up on this at the time?
Streams on YouTube, iTunes & VUDU.
Out director Andrew Fleming has always gravitated toward women–and bitchy humor–in his films like Dick and Nancy Drew. The Craft remains the crown jewel of his long career with its feminist take on teen witches and high school drama. As real as the special effects look, the characters seem like equally real teenagers thanks to Fleming’s writing, and to fine performances from an expansive cast. Fairuza Balk’s Nancy remains one of the great villains of contemporary cinema.
Streams on Freeform, Amazon, iTunes, YouTube & VUDU.
Viewers who don’t mind horror cliches like bad acting, a predictable plot and dumb characters will enjoy this genre piece set in West Hollywood during Halloween. A group of gay boys encounter a slasher killer, but not before they manage to show off some of their assets. As it were.
Streams on Amazon.
This series of very gay horror movies kicked off with the titular entry back in 2001. Each entry features a cast of pretty young hunks battling supernatural forces…and the urge to Grindr each other.
Available on DVD.
Gay writer/director Mike Dougherty–known for penning scripts to movies like X2 and Superman Returns made his directorial debut with this anthology horror film. Distribution problems prevented Trick-r-Treat from getting proper attention upon release, though it has subsequently found a cult following devoted to its macabre creepiness.
Streams on AMC, iTunes, VUDU & YouTube.
Legendary director Robert Wise helmed this iconic horror classic which just happens to feature one of the earliest–and most respectful–depictions of lesbianism in Hollywood history. Claire Bloom plays out-lesbian Theo, who comforts the psychic Eleanor (played by Julie Harris in a spellbinding performance). The two team up to fight some nasty ghosts, and some awesome sexual tension.
Streams on YouTube, iTunes & VUDU.
The Lost Boys
Go figure that out-queer director Joel Schumacher would direct this homoerotic classic featuring a litany of young heartthrobs including Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, Alex Winter, Corey Feldman and Corey Haim. Vampires take over a southern California town, and plenty of shirtlessness ensues.
Streams on Amazon, iTunes, VUDU & YouTube.
Transgender actress Nicole Maines scored raves for her performance in this flick about a sexually fluid Los Angeles woman who falls in with a group of bisexual vampires. Bit has some clever meditations on gender power dynamics and a surprisingly intriguing mythos to boot…not to mention some delicious dark humor to keep things fun.
Streams on Amazon, Tubi, iTunes, YouTube & VUDU.
For men wishing they could have joined the coven in The Craft, The Covenant offers a male answer. A group of hunky teens (played by hunky 20-somethings) do battle with the powers of an ancient witch coven. The b-movie features performances from stars to be, including Sebastian Stan, Taylor Kitch and Chace Crawford.
Streams on iTunes, Amazon & VUDU.
The Dark Place
Less supernatural horror than a noir thriller, The Dark Place features former gay porn star Brett Corrigan (acting under his real name, Sean Paul Lockheart) in a tale of family betrayal set against the backdrop of California’s wine country. It also features a cast of unapologetically queer characters in some very steamy scenes.
Streams on Amazon.
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Less scary than an exercise in silliness, Cassandra Peterson took her horror hostess to the big screen with this ridiculous comedy. Mistress of the Dark bombed on its initial release but has found a following thanks to its low-brow camp, and a very game performance from Peterson. Since the actress has said many times that Elvira is basically a female drag queen, we only feel slightly ashamed to include it here. Just slightly.
Streams on Shudder, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon & VUDU.
The Hunger caused a sensation upon release in 1983 courtesy of two great performances by Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve as a pair of lesbian vampire lovers. Sarandon and Deneuve’s nipples have supporting roles.
Streams on YouTube, iTunes & VUDU.
A classic sequel from the Universal Monsters era, Dracula’s Daughter follows the progeny of the famous count, who lives as a lesbian predator seducing young women. Yes, really. In a movie from 1936. Think about that one…
Streams on Peacock, Amazon, iTunes, YouTube & VUDU.
Queer director Bryan Singer helmed this creepy thriller, based on a short story by Stephen King. Featuring a pre-X-Men Ian McKellan and 90s hunk Brad Renfro, the story follows a boy obsessed with World War II who discovers his elderly neighbor is actually a wanted Nazi war criminal. The two develop a weird sort of S&M relationship, though without actual sex. The film does make up for that absence by featuring an extended shower scene of Renfro, which alone is worth the price of streaming.
Streams on Amazon & VUDU.
Oh come on, you know you wanna! Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker star in this uber-silly, cartoonish romp about three Salem witches returning from the grave. Hocus Pocus has no shortage of camp in its streamlined runtime, and Midler & Parker both have terrific musical numbers. With a sequel in the works, what better time than now for a rewatch!
Streams on Disney+, Amazon, Freeform, iTunes & VUDU.
Scott Evans stars in this Hulu film, part of their Into the Dark anthology series. Though it’s set on New Year’s Eve, “Midnight’s Kiss” is pure horror from start to finish. A group of friends heads to Palm Springs to ring in the New Year, only to start dropping dead. Is the killer a previous New Year’s hookup, come to take revenge? Or is something worse afoot? Dive in, and enjoy.
Streams on Hulu.
Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut
Clive Barker vindicated himself with the release of the Director’s Cut of his cult film, and thank goodness: the restored version is a rollicking, very queer good time. Nightbreed follows the adventure of uber hunk Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer), a man plagued by visions of a lost city called Midian. Aaron seeks out Midian, and discovers a real underground city populated by Nightbreed–a society of magical monsters. Like vampires, should a Nightbreed bite a human, the human will become Nightbreed as well…which is exactly what happens to Aaron. From there, Aaron’s girlfriend Lori (Anne Bobby) races his serial killer psychiatrist Dr. Decker (David Cronenberg) and a monster-hunting priest (Malcolm Smith) to find Aaron and protect Midian from destruction at the hands of religious zealots and sadistic cops. Loaded with queer subtext–sometimes vague, sometimes almost bolded text–the film pays imaginative homage to the cool freakishness of the LGBTQ community.
Streams on Amazon, Peacock, Shudder & iTunes.
Frankenstein: The True Story
This version of the classic tale has as much in common with The Picture of Dorian Gray as much as Mary Shelley’s original tome. That could have something to do with the screenwriting team of Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy, the famed gay literary lovers. This Frankenstein reimagines the creature as less a monster than a perfect man…that decays over time. The good Dr. Frankenstein loves him at first, only to leave him as he disintegrates. What began as a story of science gone awry becomes a mediation on vanity, lust and obsession. Add to that a cast that includes James Mason, Jane Seymour and Leonard Whitting, and you get a fascinating, erotic take on the done-to-death (excuse the expression) story.
Streams on Amazon.
Gay director Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day) returns with his latest outing, a horror-comedy from the workmen over at Blumhouse. Freaky stars Kathryn Newton as Millie Kessler, a pretty blond navigating high school alongside her besties Nyla (Celeste O’Connor) and the flamboyantly gay Josh (Misha Osherovich). When a deranged killer (Vince Vaughn) makes Millie his next target…things take a hard left turn when Millie finds herself trapped in the killer’s adult, male body, and vice versa. Nyla & Josh must help Millie get her body back before the spell becomes permanent, and before a psycho killer masquerading as a young girl massacres everyone in school. It’s that kind of movie. Vaughn and Newton both deliver credible, nuanced performances delivering a few big scares and big laughs along the way. Osherovich gives a memorable performance as well, subverting the dumb, gay best friend trope into a very funny gay hero. Landon, along with co-writer Michael Kennedy, take advantage of the gender-bending premise to offer a few comments on gender stereotypes as well. Leave it to Blumhouse, the production company behind Get Out to make a movie full of schlocky fun…and some subtle social commentary.
Streams on HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube & VUDU.
Fear Street Trilogy
Why not get three stories for the price of one? Fear Street, based on the RL Stine book series of the same name, chronicles an ages-old curse in a small American town, and a queer love story that spans the centuries. Part 1: 1994 follows the story of Deena and Sam (Kiana Madeira & Olivia Scott Welch), a closeted lesbian couple from the rival towns Shadyside and Sunnyvale. When a supernatural killer unleashes fury on Shadyside, the two fight to survive…and uncover the trail of something even more dangerous. Part 2: 1978 retells the story of earlier teenagers battling the same evil at summer camp. Part 3: 1666 reveals the true origins of evil in Shadyside, and a battle across time to end an evil curse once and for all.
Call it RL Stine’s Lord of the Rings: silly schlock aspiring to be high art. The series never quite gets that far, but it is a lot of fun.
Streams on Netflix.
Make no mistake folks, the polarizing Suspiria remake, directed by Call Me By Your Name’s Luca Guadagnino, is a love it or hate it affair. For our part, we loved this exercise in stylish horror, homoeroticism and femininity, due in large part to an astonishing performance by actress Tilda Swinton. Swinton actually plays three roles in the film—including a man—and carries the weight of the piece. Dakota Johnson and Chloe Grace Moritz also deliver fine work, in a tale of lesbian witchcraft and murder. Outrageous, unnerving and delightfully queer, Suspiria actually surpasses the Dario Argento original that inspired it. This is the kind of film that demands viewers get on board with its weirdness. For those who can, it’s one heck of a ride.
Streams on Amazon Prime, Vudu & YouTube.
The Taking of Deborah Logan
The Exorcist opened up a whole new subgenre of horror almost 50 years ago. Even today, movies about demonic possession and exorcism still manage to attract a broad audience…even if the movies just feel like a rehash of the original. One exception: The Taking of Deborah Logan, a found-footage “documentary” about a lesbian woman (Anne Ramsay) caring for her Alzheimer’s-stricken mother (Jill Larson). Of course, strange events begin to plague the household as Mom’s condition deteriorates (give you one guess why), and the documentary crew uncovers a strange link between Deborah and a serial killer of decades before. As Exorcist mimics go, this is a pretty good one, told with style, some degree of originality and a dose of gayness. Queer kids that grew up watching soap opera staple All My Children will also delight in seeing Larson–best known as the ditzy Opal on the show–dive into a dramatic, horror role with total abandon.
Streams on Amazon, Tubi, YouTube & VUDU.
MOM: Mother of Monsters
Out-gay actor Bailey Edwards (son of ER’s Anthony Edwards) plays his first leading role in this new horror film. M.O.M. pairs Edwards with Melinda Page Hamilton (of Desperate Housewives) as mother Abbey and her son Jacob. Abbey has begun recording everything on hidden video around the house, convinced that Jacob will one day become a psycho killer, who also might be gay (the movie toys with us on that subject). Jacob reacts with reasonable disgust…and develops a terrifying plan of his own. M.O.M. echoes psychological thrillers like Goodnight Mommy and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane as it chronicles the descent into madness of its lead characters, and has some provocative observations about psychological incest, gun culture, and mental illness. Moreover, it features two terrific performances from Hamilton and Edwards, both of whom prove they can carry difficult material.
Editor’s note: this post contains material from previous articles posted on Queerty.
This article includes links that may result in a small affiliate share for purchased products, which helps support independent LGBTQ+ media.