Monster Nation: Queer Horror Icons to Rival the Babadook

This summer the Babadook’s unlikely status as a queer icon hit critical mass, thanks to costumed parade participants and endless internet appearances. But while the star of the disturbing indie film The Babadook became a queer meme thanks to a Netflix category slip-up, there are several horror characters just begging for LGBT canonization. First up is…

A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2’s Mark Patton! The Flame Con 2017 guest—returning this weekend after headlining the inaugural event in 2015—is beloved to queer horror fans for being “the first male scream queen” and starring as cutie Jesse Walsh in NOES2. The entire movie is thoroughly homoerotic, with Jesse’s battle with Freddy Krueger over his soul acting as a gigantic metaphor for gay sexuality. Mark will soon grace screens again in the upcoming documentary Scream Queen: My Nightmare on Elm Street, which was filmed in part at Flame Con!

Freddie Highmore (left) and Anthony Perkins (right)

Norman Bates The OG gay horror icon, Norman Bates was portrayed by (deeply closeted at the time) gay actor Anthony Perkins in 1960’s Hitchcock classic Psycho. Perkins reprised the role in three sequels, and while the character was outwardly interested in buxom blondes like Psycho’s Janet Leigh and Part III’s Diana Scarwid, his shy, awkward manner, unusual hobby (taxidermy) and, ahem, very close relationship with his mother—not to mention the drag—made him extremely relatable for gay men. In 2003, handsome Freddie Highmore took over the role in A&E’s beloved contemporary prequel Bates Motel. Queer overtones included Norman being mistaken for gay by a classmate in season one and hitting up gay bars dressed as his mom (Vera Farmiga) in season five. Through it all, Freddie Highmore brilliantly reinvented one of the most important characters in my life—and deserves a mother-loving Emmy for it, IMHO.

Catherine Deneuve was smoking in The Hunger

Catherine Deneuve as The Hunger’s Myriam Blaylock Why should this seductive vampiress make this list? Let me count the ways: 1) she seduces Susan Sarandon in the most gorgeously stylized lesbian love scene of the 80s; 2) her previous lover is played by David freakin' Bowie; the character "inspired" Lady Gaga’s bisexual Countess on American Horror Story: Hotel; and Deneuve's portrayal of a smoking hot lady loving lady was so indelible they named a lesbian magazine after her (the actress sued and they changed their name to Curve).

Sarah Paulson turns it up so you can hear her on American Horror Story

Sarah Paulson as American Horror Story’s Lana Winters Of all the characters she’s played on the Ryan Murphy anthology, chain-smoking, hard driving lesbian reporter Lana is Paulson’s favorite, and it’s not hard to see why. The character endured conversion therapy, caning, and all manner of serial killer horrors on Asylum, and was one of the few bright spots when she made a cameo on the otherwise execrable Roanoke. And damn it, she makes it look good.


Monster Nation covers the world of horror in its various forms — from film to TV to haunted houses and more — with a fun, irreverent spin. Follow us on Tumblr and through regular posts here on Geeks OUT. Stay spooky!