Gays have always loved the horror genre, but big studios haven’t always been the kindest to gays – especially when it comes to representation. Scan the recesses of your mind. Besides a quick admission in Scream 4 and the achingly bad stereotypes in Halloween Kills, when was the last time you saw a gay main character in a scary movie that wasn’t a woman. This is also why the Chucky television show is so important.
We’re in the middle of Halloween season, and it’s hard to find a good scary movie, let alone one that features gay characters as more than side characters used for dirty humor. Unless you consider titles from David DeCoteau to be scary. You can find at least a hundred films from this specific director that are supposed to be frightening, but really, they’re just buff, shirtless men dying in their underwear every 10 minutes. (OK, maybe I own a few.)
So! If you want to watch a horror film, add some to your queue from my list below. I truly believe the industry belongs to independent filmmakers, and as such, none of these entries are going to have a big budget. However, I believe they have a lot to offer, especially considering they ALL come from queer directors or feature major characters who identify as gay.
Happy Halloween Viewing!
1. Hellbent (2004) – To my knowledge, this is the first horror film to feature gay characters in lead AND supporting roles. It’s scary, gory, dramatic and erotic all rolled into one. I wonder if Paul Etheredge knew nearly two decades ago that he was directing a film that would break so many barriers. Regardless, Hellbent is a must see… and not just because of shirtless Dylan Fergus. You can’t do Halloween without a good gay slasher!
2. Bite Marks (2011) – Hot vampires, slutty gay men and camp comedy mixed with truck stop horror. The antithesis to Twilight, Mark Bessenger’s Bite Marks is the vampire flick for you if you’re not looking for a Halloween horror film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Now here’s something to suck on.
3. Chillerama (2011) – While not completely gay, this anthology flick is filled with eroticism and wit. It also has segments highlighting a gay werewolf and a giant attacking load (you read that right). This one’s wild and weird, but you’ll love it. Useless trivia: Gabby West, the winner of VH1’s “Scream Queens,” makes a rare appearance in Chillerama post-reality show fame.
4. The Dark Place (2014) – While not completely horror, The Dark Place is a murder mystery with supernatural elements. Thrilling, sexy and original. It follows a young man returning home to his family’s winery to discover his mother remarried… and there’s definitely something wrong with his stepbrother. Like evil wrong. Brent Corrigan stars as the wicked stepbrother, so I’m sure watching him get undressed and involved in shenanigans is enough to get your wieners hard.
5. Pitchfork (2016) – From award winning, out choreographer Glenn Douglas Packard, Pitchfork is one of the more hardcore horror films on this list. A young gay man heads to a secluding home to re-establish bonds with his friends following his coming out announcement. Unfortunately, a feral human with a fork for a hand has joined the celebration and starts marking them off one by one. Not for the faint of heart, this one is bizarre, bloody and absolutely brilliant.
6. B&B (2017) – Horror is the genre that’s made up of many cliches and troupes. Hitchcock horror lends itself to old school elements from the 50’s and 60’s. B&B is very much a slow burn, suspense building narrative about a couple fighting for simple, normal human rights. This is probably the most serious entry on my list because its uncomfortable moments are fueled by real life struggles that gay men face on a daily basis. Then, when you throw a homophobic brute into the mix, well, what could go wrong in the middle of nowhere in a hotel with very few escapes.
7. Killer Unicorn (2018) – Party Boys. Drag Queens. Survivors Guilt. And a beefy masked slasher wearing nothing but a unicorn mask and gogo shorts. Need I say more?
8. BIT (2019) – LGBT representation is important, but we certainly can’t forget the ‘T’ in LGBT. Here, Brad Michael Elmore envisions a world where female vampires rule the night. When a transitioning teenage girl finds herself sired by a clan of gnarly, bloodthirsty vampires, she’s forced to look inside and decide if she wants to be good or evil. Obviously, the theme of transitioning and finding your true self is encapsulated in this flick by the creatures who rule the night pushing their motives on a helpless teen.
9. Death Drop Gorgeous (2020) – Listen, if it took me several hours to get ready for a night out and my balls were taped between my ass cheeks, I’d probably go on a murderous rampage, too! With Brandon Perras’ Death Drop Gorgeous, young gays, drag queens and night crawlers are the target of a psychopath’s slaughter. And, really, you can’t have Halloween without a slasher flick like this.
10. Night of the Living Dead: Rebirth (2020) – An updated take on the most popular zombie film of all time, George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. In this version, the principal role of (“They’re coming to get you”) Barbara is replaced by a helpless gay man, played by the film’s out director Roger Conners. Several other aspects of the original movie were updated to invoke the same cultural, social and political debates that were brought to the forefront over 50 years ago.