5 homoerotic horror films to put you in the mood:
Hello girls, ghouls & those of us who know better!
My name is Trevor Miller & I will be your flamboyant clairvoyant for all things queer horror on this Halloween in quarantine. Whether your night is a game of chance as you hand out edibles to children in the hopes of becoming The Onion’s next parody news story come true or your eyes roll so physically far back in your head you find yourself in urgent care due to the sight of yet another frat bar superstar decked out in a dress shirt, undies & tube socks referring to himself as “Risky Business” through gritted, yellow teeth without a mask – I will be your willing guide to the world of that which is deemed horror & homoerotic.
Let’s kick things off from a place your depression has come to know all too well these past eight months, the comfort of your own couch! And what better way to sink into your, no doubt, flattened out couch cushions than with five unexpected, underrated horror recommendations from yours truly. These films awakened the inner homosexual within me. And who knows, maybe they’ll itch that scratch you never knew you had. As Chris Colfer (of Glee fame) once said as a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race: “I have something & boy, does it itch!”
Fright Night (1985)
The Mecca of 1980’s horror films; Fright Night has it all: cropped sweaters, neon lighting, daddies with a penchant for blood & sweaty teens in pigtails. This 100-minute feast-for-the-eyes is a film by horror lovers for horror lovers. Written & Directed by the horror legend behind the original Child’s Play (1988), Tom Holland (and no, I’m not talking about the MCU’s British twink). A precocious teenager discovers that his new next-door neighbor is a vampire. So, he turns to a fading local television actor, who deems himself the “Vampire Killer”, for help dealing with the undead. Fright Night is an overtly coded homoerotic horror gem, as well as my favorite film, of all time. This film truly has it all! And it did it all during the Reagan administration, when being openly gay was practically a crime (especially in Hollywood). And that’s all I’ll say so as to not ruin the magic. Streaming now with an Amazon Prime subscription.
Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
Brian De Palma’s unfortunately forgotten, underrated, campy rock opera that could is a horror-musical set against the backdrop of the 1970’s pop rock music scene & the politics which came with it. And it deserves every last ounce of your undivided attention! A rousing spectacle of a film; Phantom of the Paradise is the perfect substitute for Halloween’s usual camp musical faire The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). Some might even argue that Rocky Horror stole its aesthetic & narrative structure from De Palma’s forgotten masterpiece, having been released just one year later. However, I choose to believe that Rocky found its footing thanks to the likes of Phantom & the campy melodramas that came before it. Instead, Phantom of the Paradise serves as this perfect little time capsule of the 70’s – all the way down to the shady “backdoor” deals made between record companies & their contracted artists. If you’re looking for a wildly queer take on Phantom of the Opera with melodramatic rock ballads, disfigured masterminds & an almost drag queen/direct parody of real-life Rockstar Meatloaf, aptly named Beef – then the Phantom of the Paradise is for you! Streaming now with a Shudder or AMC+ subscription.
The Guest (2014)
The second atmospheric masterpiece from Adam Wingard (following You’re Next) is truly one which has to be seen to be believed. A moody, tense little horror-thriller which, truly, has its material elevated from the powerhouse performance presented by its lead star, Dan Stevens. Stevens finds an eloquently smooth balance between tranquility & hostility in his character, David. And yet, it is in this balance which he also manages to seduce us – both physically & spiritually. Were it not enough that Stevens is eye candy for the closeted, queer soul – his calm, collected brooding slowly reveals itself to be something much more sinister. And as much as we don’t “stan” physically violent men in 2020 – I know, for a fact, that my generation loves to joke about wanting to die. So if you’d like some material to go alongside that festering fantasy in your head – Adam Wingard’s The Guest will do just the trick, this Halloween season! Streaming now with a Netflix subscription.
Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire (2000)
I, quite literally, could not speak on films which are mandatory viewing when it comes to Halloween without mentioning THE film (a DCOM, no less) which first made me realize I was gay. Because let’s be honest, even in a technically “kids” film, Mr. Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy) of The Nanny fame, as a vampire is a full fantasy. And the vibes are immaculate! Robert Carradine as Van Helsing? An eight-year old, fully knowing he could die, standing up to a vampire? Caroline Rhea singing Rockabilly music? THIS WHOLE MOVIE IS A VIBE!!! Writing as someone who grew up watching this film back when it originally premiered on the Disney Channel in 2000 (I was five), I can confidently confirm to you that Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire has aged like a fine wine. Having watched & re-watched this masterpiece, just last week, in my mid-twenties (you do the math) I found myself struck by how unnecessarily hard this film hits with both its overall aesthetic, but also its core message. It’s a sad testament to the fact that Disney used to take more chances, back before it was an all-consuming media conglomerate. If you haven’t watched or have literally never even heard of this – put ninety minutes aside in this hellscape we call quarantine & get to it. Or get in the gulag – plebe! Streaming now with a Disney+ subscription.
The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020)
Last, but certainly not least, is a film which managed to be both released in 2020 & unsurprisingly go beneath everyone’s radar. Jim Cumming’s modern horror masterpiece The Wolf of Snow Hollow is a sociopolitical/self-aware horror dark-comedy film & my god! Is it good! I am going to give you IMDb’s plot summary because it is, by far, the vaguest summary I’ve read. And you deserve to go into this film blind. It reads: Terror grips a small mountain town as bodies are discovered after each full moon. Losing sleep, raising a teenage daughter, and caring for his ailing father, officer Marshall struggles to remind himself there’s no such thing as werewolves. Watch it. Talk about it. If you like it, share it with someone you love. Talk about why it resonates with you. Because The Wolf of Snow Hollow deserves all of the conversations circulating around about it that it can get. Streaming now, to rent or buy, across almost all streaming platforms (except for Microsoft, I believe).