Essential Queer Horror Films

emFilms & TV Leave a Comment

From 1934 until 1967, Hollywood movies were shaped by the Production Code, otherwise known as the Hays Code. Written in 1930, but not implemented until four years later, this set of rules was generally intended to keep movies from “corrupting” the people who watched them. Given that homosexuality was considered either a physical or psychological malady in the early 20th century, the code effectively legislated any limited queer presence out of existence.

While homosexuality was not explicitly banned in the Hays’ text, it was mandated that “no picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standards of those who see it. Hence the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin.” It was also codified that only “correct standards of life” should be presented,” and that “sex perversion or any inference to it is forbidden.”

In other words, for a long time, cinematic queers were pushed underground, relegated to existing only in subtext — and most often as villains. In order to get queer stories onscreen, filmmakers had to find creative ways to subvert the system.

Horror films in particular have made for a fascinating case study in the evolving perceptions of queer presence; queer-horror filmmakers and actors were often forced to lean into the trope of the “predatory queer” or the “monstrous queer” to claim some sense of power through visibility and blatant expressions of sexuality.

Read on…

‘Knock At The Cabin’ is a horror film starring gay days

emFilm & TV, Films & TV Leave a Comment

T next movie from director M. Night Shyamalan centres on a gay couple and their kid fighting against some unwelcome guests. Knock at the Cabin is based on the 2018 horror book The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay. It stars gay actors Jonathan Groff (Looking, Glee) and Ben Aldridge (Spoiler Alert) as the parents who will do anything to protect their daughter (Kristen Cui).

The family takes a vacation at a secluded cabin. However, things take a dark turn when they’re held hostage by four strangers who demand they make the ultimate sacrifice to avert the apocalypse. Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Rupert Grint (Harry Potter) are two of the strangers.

The first trailer for the movie dropped a few months ago. However, a second trailer arrived recently and it offers a whole lot more plot details… it’s also way creepier. According to Collider, this will be only the second movie by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable) to have an R-rating.

New Hellraiser is still queer but oddly sanitized

emFilms & TV Leave a Comment

Spooky season is well underway, and networks and streaming platforms are rolling out their horror-laden line-ups of films and series. In addition to AMC’s very gay new take on Interview with the Vampire, Syfy’s second season of Chucky, and FX’s upcoming 11th season of American Horror Story, Hulu’s remake of classic 80s horror flick Hellraiser arrived Friday.

The film is a new take on queer writer Clive Barker’s novella The Hellbound Heart and stars trans actress Jamie Clayton as a new version of the iconic Hell Priest, a.k.a. Pinhead. But it’s also apparently a significant departure from the 1987 film version, which Barker himself directed. According to its official synopsis, Hellraiser depicts a young woman named Riley (Odessa A’zion) who struggles with addiction and comes into possession of the puzzle box which summons Pinhead and the other demonic Cenobites.

Ahead of the film’s debut, here’s what critics are saying about the new Hellraiser. Read on…

History’s Gayest Vampires

emBooks & Magazines, Film & TV, Films & TV Leave a Comment

Interview With the Vampire is one of the most influential vampire stories ever told, and also one of the gayest. Originally published as a novel in 1976, the book spawned 12 sequels, a wildly successful film (and one less-successful one), graphic novels, a Broadway musical, and now a TV series – each one dripping with blood, debauchery, and fanged monsters whose passion for each other spans centuries.

But this tasty tale didn’t just spring into being by itself. The saga builds on queer vampire stories going back 150 years, through exploitation films of the 70s, early motion pictures, and Victorian novels full of forbidden gay encounters with creatures of the night. So, where did Interview with the Vampire come from, why was it such a hit, and how did an aspiring writer’s scandalous debut novel change vampire stories forever?

Get ready for a wonderfully camp Halloween

emFilms & TV 1 Comment

As summer winds down, we’re fast approaching spooky season. It’s that time of year where you can feel a chill in the air, and a certain subsection of queers sense their powers growing in the lead-up to Halloween—or, as we like to call it, “Gay Christmas.”

Yes, Halloween is a big deal for us. Aside from the excuse to wear ridiculous outfits in public, it’s also the perfect time to cozy up on the couch to watch some frightening film favorites, camp classics, and anything that falls into the large middle of the Venn Diagram where those two intersect.

And we’re excited to report that there’s an awful lot of future favorites on the way, with some queer and queer-adjacent spooky movies and television series dropping over the next few months.

To help you keep track, we’ve assembled a special trailer round-up of all the notable Halloween-season treats to help you have a very Merry Scary Gay Christmas this year.

Read on…

Queer for Fear documentary highlights LGBTQ+ horror history

emFilm & TV, Films & TV Leave a Comment

LGBTQ+ history is constantly revealing itself in places that you never would have expected, especially when it comes to the world of entertainment. In the Queer for Fear: The History of Queer Horror documentary (available on Shudder), viewers are able to take a look into the world of horror and its effect on queer audiences, representation and symbolism from the very beginning.

Producer by Hannibal’s Bryan Fuller, as well as Steak House, Queer for Fear is a four-part documentary that looks at the history of the LGBTQ+ community in the horror and thriller genres – regardless of whether it’s literature, such as Mary Shelley, Bram Stroker, Oscar Wilde, or film. Queer for Fear looks to re-examine these stories through a queer lens and see these horror narratives not just as something to be afraid of, but as “tales of survival that resonate thematically with queer audiences everywhere.” (via Nerdist).

In a sneak peek from Shudder, viewers are presented with Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in Psycho, and how that casting played a significant role in Perkins life, as told by prominent horror aficionados, creators, and his own son, Oz Perkins. The sneak peek can be viewed above.

Read more…

“They/Them” is a queer horror masterpiece

emFilm & TV, Films & TV Leave a Comment

Horror has a long history of being queer-coded. From trans serial killer tropes to the effeminate villains, the coding hasn’t usually been kind; however, that hasn’t stopped LGBTQ+ people from finding a deep connection to the genre, even if the genre has historically left queer people on the side of the road.

They/Them (pronounced “They-Slash-Them”) is veteran screenwriter John Logan’s debut directorial film, that sees a group of queer young adults setting out to survive a week at a conversion camp.

The film initially seems to be a queer homage to the slasher films of the ’80s, but twists into a deeply layered psychological thriller that shows the real life LGBTQ+ experience is often scarier than any horror movie.

Every good horror film needs an even better cast, which They/Them delivers on in spades. Jordan (Theo Germaine) quickly becomes the focal point of the main group, clarifying that they will not happily be partaking in any “conversion” along with Toby (Austin Crute), Alexandra (Quei Tann), and Veronica (Monique Kim), while others like Stu (Cooper Kock) and Kim (Anna Lore) are at the camp to change their queerness.

The film initially appears as a queer Friday The 13th with the slasher film vibes in full effect as the archetypes and crucial roles become set. However, as camp owner Owen Whistler (the scary good Kevin Bacon), introduces himself to the campers with a chilling welcome speech, you realize this horror will not be like anything you’ve seen before.

Bacon’s Owen Whistler along with his wife Dr. Cora Whistler (Carrie Preston), newly appointed camp nurse Molly (Anna Chlumsky), “reformed gay” athletics director Zane (Boone Platt), and his fiancée, Sarah (Hayley Griffith) are fantastically scary as the counselors, who use their homophobic undertones to allude of the evil horrors to come.

Read on…