Tis’ the season to dress up, eat copious amounts of candy, and watch movies designed to scare and shock. If you’re gay or just looking for a list of non-traditional characters in horror movies we have just the list for you! Benji, Justin, and I put together this thrilling list of 13 Hallowqueen Films You'll Die For and ranked their overall scariness and using the prestigious Taco Bell sauce scale of mild, medium, and spicy.
This family-friendly film centers around Norman Babcock, a shy, sensitive kid with the ability to communicate with the dead. It’s packed with queer themes, awe-inspiring animation, plenty of laughs and a healthy dose of heart.
John: I saw parts of this (but I think I feel asleep because I’m an old grumpy man) and remember thinking it was much scarier than I expected an animated movie to be. The inclusion of an openly gay character is definitely a huge step forward for animated feature films.
Benji: I jokingly (not so jokingly) tell everyone I meet that this movie is called Paranorman: The Benji Alvey Story. I love the anti-bullying message in this movie and really think it could be important viewing for the young queerlings.
Justin: I also have not seen all of this and I really don’t know why because what I saw was utterly fantastic. A really smart and reverential script, great stop motion animation, and extra points for including Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” as part of the school play!
This has gotten a lot of press lately, mostly because of the terrible Fox Live version that came out last week. I’m talking about the 1975 cult classic starring Tim Curry as cross-dressing Dr. Frankenfurter, who hosts stranded young lovers Brad and Janet in his maniacal mansion.
John: I chose this one made because of its gender bending, intersexed love triangles, and sci-fi horror elements. Also the musical numbers! What self-respecting gay doesn’t love a good musical?
Benji: Rocky Horror was a very important film to me growing up. It introduced me to a whole new type of humor and expanded my mind about what makes a man. There is something so magnetic about Tim Curry in this movie. Plus, as far as queer mottos go, you can’t do much better than, “Don’t dream it. Be it.”
Justin: I will always have a deep affinity for this not only for its queer resonance but because my best friend Amber taught me all the audience participation bits when she was working at the fantastic 2000s Broadway revival. It’s a great musical with a great cast, even the less famous folks (Patricia “Magenta” Quinn turned up in Rob Zombie’s excellent Lords of Salem because he is a devoted Rocky head who has paid tribute to it in several of his movies).
The “controversial” reboot was overshadowed by BS over “ruined” childhoods and racist, sexist backlash, but taken on its own terms this is a charming, hugely entertaining movie with a great cast. Kate McKinnon steals the show as fan-favorite Holtzmann, who’s obviously queer even if the studio wouldn’t let them say it outright.
Justin:If ever there were a year we needed a feminist escapist romp, 2016 is it! It’s on DVD so if you missed it in theaters do yourself a favor and check it out. The main plot’s a little generic, but damn if these ladies and director Paul Feig don’t deliver wall to wall entertainment. Not to mention Geeks OUT goddess Sigourney Weaver gets a cameo as Holtzmann’s mentor. Every time someone watches Ghostbusters, a misogynist loses his wings.
Benji: The plot is cliche and a lot of the effects are entirely too cartoony, but getting to watch the four of the best comedians in Hollywood working together is magic. For anyone on the fence about this “childhood ruining” sequel, I would say don’t expect it to be better than the original Ghostbusters but also, don’t worry, it’s LIGHT YEARS better than Ghostbusters 2.
John: I still wish this was an actual sequel instead of a reboot but I thought it was a fun movie and my childhood is still intact after seeing it.
Many people overlook the first sequel to the popular Friday the 13th franchise, but this film is full to the brim with strong female characters, eye candy for all, and some great slasher kills. Ginny, played by Amy Steel, breaks all the popular conventions of a typical final girl, using both brains and brawn to take down the Camp Crystal Lake killer.
John: I’ve only seen parts of these movies when they’ve been on TV but I really want to see this now! I love teen slasher films and ample eye candy.
Benji:I think I’ll just leave my thoughts at this: Fun fact: the actor playing Mark (lovingly pictured above) was an openly gay model/actor/photographer and the reason that I’m a homosexual. Sadly he passed away in 1995 from complications due to AIDS
Justin: I’m not a fan of the Friday the 13th series overall, but this was fun and the boys were certainly cute.
There’s something about sequels and gay eye candy because this one is full of it! This sequel to Jeepers Creepers features a literal bus load of hot teen monster-fodder who try to avoid being eaten by the winged Creeper.
John: I actually saw this on cable and was immediately hooked once I saw hot, shirtless, football jocks. The objectification of young men in this film isn’t so surprising considering director Victor Salva was convicted of sexual misconduct with an underage male star of another film.
No these aren’t gay porn movie stills, they’re from Jeepers Creepers 2.
Benji: Homoerotic doesn’t even begin to describe this movie. The Creeper literally goes shopping for twink body parts, ignoring the women the entire time. It gives the movie this creepy, predatory vibe. It has some very gruesome kills as well. Lots to...digest...with this movie.
Justin: I only saw bits and pieces of this, but what bits and pieces they were! (Get it?? Okay I’ll stop now.)
Queer writer/director Clive Barker wanted to deliver “the Star Wars of monster movies,” and even excessive studio meddling couldn’t dim this fiercely original story with loads of queer subtext. The saga of monsters fighting for their right to live under siege from moralistic straights felt especially resonant in the wake of AIDS, and the box office bomb found a cult following on home video.
Justin:This one is famous in my family as “the movie my mom forced my dad to walk out on.” Ironically she sat through the whole thing when I first watched it on DVD decades later. Just a great movie, and it has this slice of deliciousness as hero Boone:
Benji:This movie is a perfect storm of things to make Benji go “Yaaasss!” 1) Clive Barker 2) men in tighty whities 3) stunningly gorgeous practical effects and make-up 4) more queer subtext than a Republican convention! I mean look at this:
John: I'll have to check this out! I keep singing Cher's Halfbreed in my head to Nightbreed.
7. The Descent
Six adventurous women decide to take a spelunking trip through a maze of caves and terror ensues. The growing tension and claustrophobia of this film helps ratchet up the tension even more once the monsters arrive.
John: I dub this move The Decent. It's a solid scary movie with strong female characters and plot twists that I didn't see coming.
Benji:I picked this movie for countless reasons. It stars six strong women who are given actual complex characters in the midst of all the stunts. No one is sexualized and the little moments of drama between the women make the movie so tense. It’s just such an exciting, visceral and terrifying movie.
Justin: I vividly remember jumping and screaming so many times during a showing of this that my friends joked I should be added to the soundtrack of the movie. I second everything that Benji says, and yeah, it’s just really scary.
What started as a failed television pilot passed over by ABC became one of cinema auteur David Lynch's best films. This is a film that oozes style and sensuality as it blurs the line between dream and awake. Although billed as a Drama/Mystery, this film has terror seeping out of its pores.
John: I had no clue this was pitched for television--probably like Twin Peaks. I’ve seen it twice and enjoyed it but was utterly confused. I’ve heard the first few minutes are the key to unlocking the meaning but either way it’s a great movie.
Benji: I have a theory about this movie. Everyone in it is bisexual. The whole film is bisexual. Characters with dual identities, everyone having secret desires for each other, people torn in two directions and then the actual bisexual characters. The first time I saw this film, I walked away without understanding anything about it other than it was unsettling. One of the few films to give me genuine nightmares. That diner scene!
Justin: I am really enjoying the fact that three of my dad’s favorite films are on our list of queer horror picks. Incidentally, he once offered an explanation for Mulholland Drive that makes a lot of sense. But even if you don’t get it, just let the weirdness wash over you and enjoy the ride. Plus, Justin Theroux is damn cute.
This contemporary zombie film by Danny Boyle is a fantastic twist on zombie movies that shows how fast the world has falls after the “rage virus” overtakes humanity.
John:This is on the list for being a great horror movie but also for hot full frontal Cillian Murphy nudity, and Selena who is a very strong female character.
**Benji: ** Oh man, I love this movie so fucking much. It successfully manages to be terrifying both for its monsters and its societal commentary. If people become a fan of this movie I would recommend 28 Weeks Later as well, which is equally powerful in a different way.
Justin: Great, great film. I remember my roommate Patrick gushing over “creepily cute” Cillian Murphy. This helped to launch both the “running zombie” and “not a zombie zombies” trends which I know bother purists but I think added a lot to the sub-genre and helped make zombies relevant in the new millennium.
A “haunted house movie in space” that gave us the magnificent Sigourney Weaver and classic sci-fi movie moments when this space station is overrun with an alien infestation.
Justin: How amazing is her Ripley? Even my straight friend Adam wanted to be her when he watched this as a kid. This is stylish, spooky, and boasts a score by the late, great Jerry Goldsmith.
Benji: I rarely describe a movie as flawless. But after countless viewings of this film, I have yet to find a single thing I would change about it. If you’ve ever wondered why Sigourney Weaver is a gay icon, then first watch the film that started it all.
John: It must have been amazing to see this in 1979 and not know what you were getting yourself into as an audience member.
This is the rare remake that actually lives up to the classic. Zac Snyder’s directorial debut is also one of his strongest films that features a diverse cast, including a strong female lead and a (sadly comical) gay character.
Justin: I consider this one of the greatest horror remakes of all time. They did wonderful things with the basic premise from the original, and there’s such a sense of fun that pervades the whole thing, from the off kilter music choices-- i.e. Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around”-- to the “Smeat” can gag to the zombie baby.
John: I hadn’t seen the original but remember watching and loving this movie. The scenes from a zombie infested mall are great and inspired one of my favorite video games, Dead Rising!
Benji: It’s fun. It’s fast. Sarah Polley is great in it (where the hell is she???). But this movie can’t even begin to compare to the original Dawn of the Dead. It definitely has some fun scares in it and great makeups. So overall, I give it an “A” for effort. (But seriously...watch the original.)
12. The Hunger:
Lesbian vampires! Catherine Deneuve! Susan Sarandon! David Bowie! If this were any gayer, it would top Rocky Horror.
Justin: Once again, this is one of my father’s favorite films-- now you all know why I’m such a horror fanatic. The late Tony Scott made his film debut with this intense exercise in Gothic style, featuring Deneuve as the immortal Miriam. When poor John (Bowie) begins to age rapidly, Miriam tosses him aside for Sarandon’s Sarah. Much wine spilling, fluttering curtains, and arty lesbian lovemaking ensue, plus the requisite blood and gore. They basically ripped this off for the Hotel season of American Horror Story, though I can’t really blame them.
Benji: This film made me question my sexuality. I’ll leave it that.
John: I have to watch this and I'm already scared by the thought of someone named John aging rapidly.
This post-modern deconstruction of horror movies is part love letter to the genre and part satire that can’t really be described without giving it away. Five friends go into the woods...is basically all you need to know and then enjoy the ride.
John: I love this movie and while it didn’t meet our horror and homosexual criteria as well as other choices, we had to include it! Cabin features lots of Chris Hemsworth eye candy, was co-written by gay ally Joss Whedon, and has a cameo from Ripley--believe it or not!
Benji:There is nothing more to say about this movie other than, “Watch it now!!!” As for deeper subtext, check this out:
Justin: I was blown away by how they were able to do a completely fresh deconstruction of the genre when Scream seemed like the final word on the subject. A gay bonus is Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum Tom Lenk who Nicolas “Xander” Brendon has rightly described as “a big ball of gay fun.”