There’s always been something queer, something camp about horror. It inhabits that weird space between reality and fiction, between fear and horniness, that gay people (for some reason) seem to know so well. The connection between screams and queens might be (without wanting to get all political) something to do with the fact that, sadly, simply growing up is a bit of a horror show for a lot of gay people – even today.
Anyway – to celebrate the release of our latest weird, wonderful horror – Till Kleinert’s relentlessly glorious THE SAMURAI – I thought I’d run down my favourite horror films that dabble in the dark art of homosexuality.
1. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Featuring one of the best and gayest hairdos ever committed to screen, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN is camp as hell. A creature is shunned from society for his despised ‘condition’ and his creator is lured away from his own wedding night by the seedy and eccentric Doctor Pretorius – and forced to create a new mate for his own monster. That mate is the BRIDE, who is effectively a drag queen.
2. Psycho (1960)
I don’t want to pander to the stereotype that every gay man has a warped and warping relationship with his mother, but Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal PSYCHO undoubtedly occupies its own queer space in film history. Plus, Anthony Perkins’ was legendarily closeted and, (is it just me?), he’s oddly hot. A queer, Oedipal nightmare which I bet you want to watch again after reading this!
3. A Nightmare on Elm-Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
Out actor Mark Patton (who plays Jesse, the sexually confused lead) has called himself one of the first ‘scream queens’. The tagline for this 80s anti-classic was, quite unbelievably, ‘THE MAN OF YOUR DREAMS IS BACK’. A gym coach gets SPANKED TO DEATH in the shower, for crying out loud. This film is, without doubt, terrible, but, as it’s many times been called ‘the gayest horror movie ever made’, we couldn’t not give it a starring role in this list!
4. Death Becomes Her (1992)
5. Heavenly Creatures (1994)
The female of the species is more deadly than the male. So proves LORD OF THE RINGS director Peter Jackson’s campy classic HEAVENLY CREATURES, starring a young and porcelain Kate Winslet as the young school girl who falls in love with another young school girl. Enough of a horror film in itself, and it’s this unforgiving blend of dreadful reality with sumptuous fantasy that makes this a ‘horror’ in the true trembling, shuddering etymological roots of the word.
6. American Psycho (2000)
When it’s recently been suggested by a US study that 1 in 25 business leaders might be a psychopath, year on year Mary Harron’s study of violence and financial capitalism becomes more and more relevant. Reasons why this film is gay? Christian Bale is hot as hell in it, especially in that scene where he’s having sex with a woman but blows kisses to himself in the mirror. Reasons why this film is horrifying? Christian Bale is hot, as are a lot of those City boys, but there’s no escaping that their business, actions and behaviour are increasingly becoming more dangerous and pernicious and it won’t be long until they throw a chainsaw at someone whilst screaming, covered in blood, in their pants.
7. Pornography – A Thriller (2011)
Whilst I’d like to wax lyrical about how this is a campy, trashy underground genre flick you love to hate, it’s actually quite frightening. A lot of people watch it expecting trash, sex, gore, and whilst there certainly is that, there’s also something profound, unnerving and uncanny bubbling beneath the surface of this Lynch-meets-THE-FLUFFER puzzle.
8. Vampires: Brighter in Darkness (2012)
Now we’re talking. The tagline for the film is the wince-inducing ‘How Deep Is His Bite?’, but believe me, once this film has bitten you won’t be forgetting it any time soon. Shot on a nano-budget in an English castle, filmmaker Jason Davitt’s achievement is commendable, even though the film is totally, totally mad. Love it or hate it, whatever you do, watch it.
9. Jack and Diane (2012)
This is a movie about a lesbian relationship that could, quite literally, get torn apart. Especially when the werewolf transformations start occurring. I personally think this film is yet to receive the attention it deserves: it’s cute, the soundtrack is stunning, and Kyle Minogue makes a cameo as a horny, tattooed woman-lover so, yunno, double gay points.
10. The Samurai (2015)
Well, this is why we’re here in the first place. Although queer horror always does something new, something original, something you’ve not seen before, THE SAMURAI does that with unfettered, gay-as-hell abandon. It’s a bloody, sweaty, sexy genre debut from cult filmmaker TILL KLEINERT where a wild-eyed man in a wedding dress leers straight-laced rural cop Jakob into a dark, solidly Freudian forest and unleashes a side to him Jakob had no idea existed… If you love horror, love queer, love anything on this list, then you’ll lap this up faster than a vampire in Red Cross centre.