This just in: horror is GAY.
And I don’t mean that in the “gays are terrifying, run for the straight hills” way. No, as our Token Un-Straight here on the blog, I mean that in the theoretical way. Horror is so often based around stories of the other, of the outsider, of the unbelievable or impossible, labels that are often attached to LGBTQ people by society at large – from The Perfection to Nightmare on Elm Street 2, we’ve been out here gay-ing up the horror genre for longer than I’d care to count. Which is what makes it such an awesome genre through which to tell stories of queerness; some of my favourite stories about the un-straightery happen to come wrapped in some spooky rainbow wrapping, and I think it’s only fair that I share some with you, it being Pride Month and all. So, we’re all agreed: horror is gay. So let’s talk about it.
I’m always surprised that I don’t hear more people talking about this bleak, brilliant Norwegian psychological thriller; following the titular Thelma, a young woman who leaves her super-religious family to go to college and begins to uncover both her own latent psychic powers and her attraction to women in what has to be the hardest first semester in history. It’s a difficult thing, to tell a story that equates queerness with supernatural powers without making the former seem unnatural or reprehensible, but this movie pitches it just right, with a brilliantly tender performance from Elli Harboe as our leading woman, and a sensual and curious take on lesbian love that serves to humanize rather than sexualize. Bleak, strikingly beautiful, and totally hypnotic, Thelma is the lesbian love story that you deserve this month.
A bisexual person in a horror movie who isn’t a vampire? More likely than you think. May is a strange little film, a sort of Frankenstein’s Monster story turned on its head to tell the tale of the titular May and her navigation of her body, her sexuality, and her attraction to the people around her. There’s a lot of interesting takes on this movie, which has been subject to a critical re-evaluation since its first release, but I find its exploration of May’s bisexuality particularly interesting – her focus on the perfection of the body regardless of gender is an intriguing twist on the story, and one that provides a pretty straightforward representation of bisexuality. You know, apart from the murder. That aside.
3. Closet Monster
The REAL monster is internalized homophobia, you guys, and Closet Monster knows that. This Canadian body-horror is probably one of the most viscerally and realistically disturbing on this list, but it’s also one of the best representations of how that deeply-held self-hatred a lot of queer people will recognize all too well can manifest into something life-alteringly brutal. Unsettling, unflinching, but ultimately cathartic, Closet Monster finds some hope amongst the horror it captures all too clearly.
If you liked this article, and would like to do something to make life a little less horrible for LGBTQ people this Pride Month, please consider donating to Akt, a UK charity that helps young LGBTQ people without homes find safety. You can check out more of my work on my personal blog, The Cutprice Guignol!
By Louise MacGregor
(header image via No Film School)