To help you kill time before you turn can finally cruise the neighborhood in your Slutty Babadook costume, we’ve compiled a list of five great queer horror movies for you to watch before Halloweekend. We didn’t include just any old slasher flick with homoerotic subtext (Nightmare on Elm Street 2), either. These are five honest-to-god, loud and proud gay gore-fests.
Hellbent (2004) might seem like your typical slasher film set in West Hollywood, save the fact that it’s filled with queer love and caters to the male-on-male gaze, but it’s actually one of queer cinema’s biggest milestones. While queer horror films have existed for decades, they rarely made it out of the very niche LGBT film festival circuit. Hellbent was the first horror movie featuring queer characters and made for a queer audience to be given a wide theatrical release in the United States. Its subsequent box office bomb scared Hollywood producers away from the genre for a very, very long time.
Chillerama (2011) is a delightfully campy anthology film that pays tribute to four different eras of American horror cinema while tip-toeing on the line between gross, offensive, and genuinely clever. The standout chapter is I Was A Teenage Werebear, Tim Sullivan’s tribute to the 1960s teen musical, in which a repressed gay teenager transforms into a monster after being bitten by a hunky classmate. It doesn’t hurt that Sean Paul Lockhart spends about half the film in nothing but his underwear.
The Vampire Lovers (1970) is perhaps the only faithful film adaptation of Carmilla, Sheridan Le Fanu’s epic novel about lesbian vampires that pre-dates Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The film is a textbook example of Gothic melodrama, rife with moody fog effects, elaborate sets, and surprisingly brutal decapitations.
All Cheerleaders Die (2013) is like if Bring it On and The Craft had a baby, and then that baby grew up to be a bisexual radical feminist. The paranormal cheerleading slasher has a lot to say about the toxically masculine culture of high school sports and the emotional effects of sexual trauma, but the movie never loses sight of its goal: to thrill. A sequel is teased in the credit sequence, but so far it has not been confirmed.
Otto; or, Up with Dead People (2008) is arguably Bruce LaBruce’s most human film, despite the fact that the main character is an undead monster. There’s a powerful message about isolation and otherness woven into the story about a gay teenage zombie who eats human flesh and dick in approximately equal measure with a deftness that only LaBruce could achieve.