Queerness and the horror genre have shared a unique and enduring connection throughout cinematic history. While openly queer characters and storylines were once scarce in horror films, queer audiences have long been drawn to these movies for their exploration of otherness. Whether it’s questioning a villain’s humanity, the presence of non-normative characters, or the sheer dramatic intensity, queer elements and subtext have consistently played a significant role in horror cinema.
Icons of Queer Horror
In celebration of what some fondly call “Gay Christmas,” we’ve compiled a selection of iconic queer horror movies to add a touch of LGBTQIA+ pride to your Halloween watchlist. From the campy delights of “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge” to the gender-bending cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” and contemporary entries like “They/Them” and “Hellraiser,” these films offer a diverse range of queer narratives and themes.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
While not featuring openly queer characters, this 1985 slasher classic has gained cult status in the LGBTQIA+ community for its campy and homoerotic subtext. Leather bars, sweaty locker rooms, and iconic showdowns with Freddy Krueger make it a Halloween staple for many.
“B&B” tells the tense tale of a gay couple who return to a discriminatory bed-and-breakfast. As suspicions mount and sinister elements come into play, this thriller offers LGBTQ representation and suspense.
“Bit” breaks new ground by placing a transgender teenage girl at the center of a story about a feminist vampire coven. It challenges harmful queer stereotypes and offers inclusive LGBTQIA+ representation.
Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022)
A modern take on the slasher genre, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” provides social commentary on Gen-Z, subverts traditional horror tropes, and features LGBTQ+ characters, making it a standout choice for Halloween viewing.
The Craft (1996) and The Craft: Legacy (2020)
These films explore themes of otherness and identity through their portrayal of a group of teenage girls with supernatural abilities. The original and its sequel offer subtle queer undertones within their coven dynamics.
Fear Street (2021)
The “Fear Street” trilogy provides a much-needed queer makeover to the horror genre, centering on the lesbian love story of Deena and Sam amidst an ancient curse.
Considered the first “gay slasher” film, “Hellbent” takes viewers on a Halloween night hunt for a masked killer in West Hollywood. Its LGBTQ+ focus has left a lasting impact.
A reboot of the classic franchise, “Hellraiser” stars trans icon Jamie Clayton as Pinhead, offering a fresh perspective on a horror icon and LGBTQ representation.
High Tension (2003)
“High Tension” is a clever and terrifying slasher with a queer storyline and unforgettable twists, making it a hidden gem in 21st-century horror.
The Hunger (1983)
With its dark and glamorous aesthetic, “The Hunger” explores a love triangle between a vampire couple and a doctor, providing a homoerotic undertone that has resonated with fans.
Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Despite a disappointing box office performance, “Jennifer’s Body” has found a cult following, particularly among queer women, for its horror-comedy take on female relationships and sexuality.
The Perfection (2019)
“The Perfection” is a provocative thriller with LGBTQ representation, offering a unique blend of horror and feminist themes.
“Pitchfork” combines coming-of-age drama with slasher horror, focusing on a gay protagonist and his friends hunted by a deranged killer, delivering a thrilling and raunchy narrative.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
A timeless camp classic, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” has normalized the queer experience through sexual liberation, androgyny, and pansexuality, remaining an LGBTQIA+ favorite.
“Spiral” follows a same-sex couple who uncover dark secrets in their new town, offering a fresh perspective on queer horror narratives.
Stranger by the Lake (2013)
Winner of the Queer Palm Award, “Stranger by the Lake” is a dark and erotic thriller that explores the consequences of a forbidden attraction.
“They/Them” presents a new slasher featuring Kevin Bacon as the director of a conversion therapy camp, where queer and trans individuals must confront a mysterious serial killer.
This Halloween, dive into the captivating world of queer horror, where LGBTQIA+ representation takes center stage, adding depth and diversity to the genre we love.