Straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, gender queer, asexual, polysexual... society is (blissfully) more accepting than ever when it comes to the way people choose to classify their sexuality. So why should horror films be confined to just one type of heteronormative lead? At San Diego Comic Con, there is an entire panel dedicated to queer horror, as members of the LGBTQIA community become even more active voices in horror cinema.
The following is a list of my favorite queer horror films... And no, I'm not including A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, because we have talked that one to death. So join me as we visit the wonderful world of queer horror!
Dracula's Daughter (1936)
While it might be hard to believe that an overtly lesbian horror film was released in 1936, Dracula's Daughter's status as a homosexual horror film was actually exploited by Universal Studios upon its release (as evidenced by that tag line). This lesser seen entry into the Universal cannon follows Count Dracula's offspring, who steals the girlfriend of her therapist when he fails to help her with her neck-bitey-ness and runs away with her to Transylvania. Dracula's Daughter stands as the first example of the lesbian-vampire trope in horror, and has been cited by Anne Rice as inspiration for her own homoerotic vampire series.
The Haunting (1963)
The Haunting, based on a novel by Shirley Jackson, is notable for containing one of the few lesbian characters who was depicted as a woman, and not a predator. The Haunting features a cast of characters who are locked in an old mansion and may or may not be experiencing supernatural events. At the time it was released, film censors demanded that Julie Harris's Nell and Claire Bloom's Theo never touch, so as to hide Theo's lesbianism.
We are jumping ahead in time a bit now to look at some more recent horror films that incorporate LGBTQIA elements. Surrounding the Cthulhu mythos and loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft's The Shadow Over Innsmouth, Cthulhu isn't the best film on this list, but it's notable in that the main character's sexuality isn't so much a plot point as it just is. If you are a fan of Lovecraft, or subtle cult-y horror, then check out this film from Grant Gildark!
Otto: or Up with Dead People (2008)
Directed by gay indie horror enigma Bruce LaBruce, Otto is an absolute must see for any zombie fan. Otto follows a film crew as they follow a supremely attractive zombie around Berlin. Otto isn't just a fantastic low-budget zombie film; it's a satire of the entire horror fandom and their lust for more shocking gore and sex in their films. Otto will satisfy zombie lovers, but it also sneaks in some commentary under the guise of no-budget zombie (pseudo) porn.
Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives (2010)
When I first heard about this film, I was seriously hesitant. There is a thin line between camp classic and seriously offensive. But I was thrilled to discover that Israel Luna's rape-revenge exploitation movie is fun, empowering, and straight up fabulous. Ticked-Off Trannies is a film in the grindhouse style that is split up into chapters and follows the revenge saga of three trans women who set out to punish a group of men that assault them and murder two of their friends. I loved every minute of this film, every joke, ever gloriously-revenge-soaked moment. And it also stars one of my favorite performers, drag queen Willam Belli!