There’s always been an affinity between goth and queer. Both are marginalized, frequently misunderstood identities that find meaningful expression through art, music, and popular culture. I for one often feel like a goth kid trapped inside a gay geek’s body, owing to my lifelong feeling of otherness and my eternal passion for the spooky and horrific. So it’s no surprise that New York art house theater Metrograph’s film series this month, Goth(ic), includes a number of titles by and about LGBT folks.
Gay directors like James Whale—whose delightfully camp Bride of Frankenstein already screened in the series—have long been drawn to dark subject matter. Before he helmed the fabulously homoerotic Batman Forever, Joel Schumacher directed heartthrobs like Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, and the Coreys (Haim and Feldman) in the cult classic vampire romp The Lost Boys (Wednesday, December 6 at 5:30 and 10:00). Andrew Fleming (Dick) tackled another queer friendly archetype with his beloved witch saga The Craft (Thursday, December 7 at 7:00). Andy Warhol protege Paul Morrissey made Blood for Dracula one of the kinkier takes on the classic monster, owing to the fabulously offbeat Udo Kier as the title character and hunky Joe Dallesandro as the gardener who keeps spoiling his chances for “wirgin” blood (Sunday, December 17 at 6:00). A more explicitly queer filmmaker, Gregg Araki, dubbed The Doom Generation (Friday, December 8 at 2:15 and 7:00) his “heterosexual movie,” but the central trio of Jordan White (bisexual actor James Duvall), Amy Blue (2017 patriarchy smasher Rose McGowan), and Xavier Red (Johnathon Schaech) features considerable homoerotic tension.
Lesbians, coded and otherwise, turn up in several of the Goth(ic) selections, like Judith Anderson’s obsessed maid in Alfred Hitchcock’s Oscar-winning Rebecca (Wednesday, December 6 at 7:30) and Claire Bloom’s clairvoyant in Robert Wise’s classic The Haunting (December 10 at 1:00 and 5:15). The lesbianism is deliriously overt in Tony Scott’s ultra-stylish vampire epic The Hunger (Sunday, December 17 at 1:30), with Catherine Deneuve as an immortal bloodsucker who ditches David Bowie in favor of Susan Sarandon. How iconic is Deneuve’s seductress? Curve Magazine used to be called Deneuve until the actress successfully sued them.
A similarly over-the-top exercise in style, Ken Russell’s Gothic (Sunday, December 10 at 5:30 and 9:45) features Timothy Spall as the closeted gay Polidori, reveling in drug-fueled shenanigans with fellow literary debutantes Percy Shelley (Julian Sands), his wife Mary (the late, great Natasha Richardson), and Lord Byron (Gabriel Byrne). Coming full circle, this same stormy evening—the one that would birth Mary’s Frankenstein—is depicted in a slightly different fashion in James Whale’s Bride.