7 queer horror movies to watch this Pride

The OG Demon Twink. Covert lesbians murdering men. 'The Babadook'. These are the best, most iconic queer scary movies you can stream.

by Douglas Greenwood
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13 June 2022, 7:46pm

Queerness and horror have coexisted for decades; it’s just that there was a coded way in which directors infused the two in the movie genre’s early days. Look back as far as the early 20th century, and you’ll find filmmakers — many of them gay themselves, like Frankenstein director James Whale —who were threading a queer subtext through films about blood, guts, murder and monsters. 

After all, for a community that favours the ridiculous, while simultaneously knowing the true pains of real life, horror is a gift; a fantastical prysm through which we process trauma and lean into the camp. So while Heartstopper and all these shows about blossoming queer love are sweet, the real hard-hitting queer on-screen representation can be found in films that will send you into a nerve-shredding meltdown. We love to see it! Here are seven of our favourites. 

1. The Babadook (2014)

Of course, no rundown of queer horror greats is complete without Jennifer Kent’s super smart and low-key LGBT-themed The Babadook. The film itself, which follows a boy who’s convinced a monster lurks inside the home he shares with his mother, who then -- in an attempt to get to the bottom of her child’s nightmarish visions -- spirals into her own psychotic mental state. It’s queer because the titular Babadook is bisexual. What do you think the B in LGBTQ stands for?

2. Let the Right One In (2008)

A vampiric, coming-of-age masterpiece, this 2008 horror film -- based on the John Ajvide Lindqvist book of the same name -- is an underseen interpretation of childhood naivete and how we view gender. Set in a Swedish apartment block in the dark dead of winter, it charts the unfolding friendship between Oskar, a bullied boy, and his new neighbour Eli, whose mystical presence and strange sleeping schedule piques Oskar’s interest. Eli is essentially a genderless character in the story; they were castrated 200 years before the story is set, when they turned into the flesh-ripping vampire whose presence inadvertently terrorises the town.

3. Fright Night (1985)

On the surface, Fright Night by Tom Holland (not that Tom Holland) is a fun teen horror about a high schooler who becomes convinced that his next-door neighbour is a vampire inflicting terror on his town. But in the years that have passed, writers and fans have started to treat its two main characters — the teenage boy and the vampire next door — as codedly queer, and the film an allegory for the AIDS epidemic that was spreading throughout the country. It winds up being a quite fascinating film about the nature of identity and leaning into who we want to be; redefining exactly what we’re all afraid of. 

4. May (2002)

Anna Faris stars opposite Angela Bettis in this cult sapphic horror classic, about a woman plagued by insecurity driven slowly insane by her own overwhelming thoughts. Angela plays the titular character, an outsider with a lazy eye who falls deeply in love with a man who accidentally exposes her penchant for cannibalism, all while trying to navigate the advances of her lesbian colleague. TL;DR: it gets messy.

5. Les Diaboliques (1955)

Trust France, a country that legalised homosexuality in the 1700s, to make a movie in 1955 that was driven by heavy lesbian undertones. Les Diaboliques is a psycho-horror that tells the story of a cunning friendship that forms between a woman and her husband’s secret mistress, who both conspire to kill their shared lover to spite him. But when they do, his body disappears and more mayhem ensues. Apparently, Alfred Hitchcock missed out on the rights to adapt this by mere minutes, so we may have had an English language version, with Hollywood legends playing these iconic queer-coded roles.

6. Knife + Heart (2018)

In Yann Gonzales’ Knife + Heart, it’s the late 70s in Paris. Anne, played by Vanessa Paradis, is a gay porn producer making low-budget movies. After Lois, her partner and film editor, leaves her, it comes to light that a serial killer is on the loose, tracking down and murdering her porn stars with wild (read: a dildo that converts into a switchblade) weapons. But as the circle starts to close, and the relationship between Anne and Lois grows more contentious, Anne starts to worry that the target could be on her head too. A lurid, OTT spectacle for lovers of noirish thriller

7. Fear No Evil (1981)

The film that birthed the Demon Twink, Fear No Evil has been a fave of the gays for some time now. Released in 1981, it’s about a high school boy who embodies the spirit of Lucifer, and inflicts hell upon those who have wronged him. A bully, driven by spirits outwith his control, suddenly kisses him in the locker room; another’s guts explode mid-dodgeball game. Of course, if there’s anything a demon twink needs it’s two straight girls to tell them to stop being messy: this movie has that too, as a pair of his classmates team up to send Twink Lucifer back to hell. To make things even more iconic, the film’s Wikipedia page includes the iconic line: “On the night of a school dance, Andrew arrives at the castle estate and invokes Leviathan and Beelzebub.” Unhinged, queer levels of drama, if you ask us.

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