Horror films have long been a favourite genre for Queer film fans. While LGBTQI people rarely feature prominently in horror, Queer subtext does  abound. While narrowing down a suggested fright fest catalogue was a  scary task, these films are all worth a stab. I recommend seeking out these films to curate your own LGBTQI horror film fest at home this Halloween. I’m not tricking you, they are all a treat. 

Psycho (1960)

One of the greatest horror films ever made, Alfred  Hitchcock’s Psycho set the standard for violence on screen at the time  of its release. The unforgettable Anthony Perkins, in a role which came  to define his long career, plays a very bad boy with an extreme mother fixation. While Norman Bates isn’t overtly gay, his repressed sexuality  suggests a larger struggle is at play. A long, hot shower will definitely  lose some of its appeal after watching this classic. A brilliant film which  only gets better every time you watch it. (Stan

The Haunting (1962)

Directed by Robert Wise, this film starring Claire  Bloom and Julie Harris is an adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House. This truly scary & atmospheric film is one of the  first major Hollywood films to depict a lesbian character (played by  Bloom) whose sexuality is not depicted in a threatening or anguished  manner. (YouTube

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

While not technically a ‘horror’  film, it is undeniable the enduring popularity of The Rocky Horror Picture  Show, has come to define the term ‘cult film.’ Barry Bostwick and Susan  Sarandon play hapless couple Brad and Janet who break down and  seek help at the castle of Dr Frank-N-Furter, played by Tim Curry in an  iconic performance. The soundtrack is also absolutely killer. If you  haven’t seen this seminal film yet, what the heck are you waiting for?  (Amazon Prime

The Hunger (1983)

Underrated by critics and largely ignored by  audiences at the time of its release, Tony Scott’s new-wave horror film is  notable for the erotic seduction scene between Catherine Deneuve and  Susan Sarandon. Deneuve plays a centuries-old vampire who promises  eternal life to her lovers, whose blood she feasts upon.

Visually  stunning; the film now has a devoted cult following. The film was also seen as an allegory of the growing AIDS crisis. David Bowie, who  rounded out the deathly love triangle was quoted as saying, “The first  twenty minutes rattle along like hell – it really is a great opening.” Bowie  is right. The opening is a doozy. The controversial love scene resulted in Sarandon’s mother actually receiving hate mail after the film’s release.  (YouTube

High Tension (2003)

A truly violent and nightmarish film, High Tension  was directed by the talented Alexandre Aja. The film was part of a group  of films which became known as New French Extremity movement; films  noteworthy for extreme depictions of violence and sex.

Cecile De  France and Maïwenn as two best friends who are visiting Maïwenn’s  family in a remote farmhouse with a homicidal maniac stalking them. To  say more than that would reveal too much. Suffice it to say, the gore  quotient is extraordinarily high. Like Aja’s other films, High Tension packs a bloody punch. (Amazon Prime

Stranger By The Lake (2013)

In the French countryside a man witnesses  the murder of another man at the hands of another, decidedly attractive,  man. Our hero finds himself instantly and irrevocably drawn to the killer,  despite the obvious danger. The film features some surprisingly explicit  (unsimulated by body doubles) sex and violence and good  performances by the two charismatic leads. (Google Play

Let the Right One In (2008)

This Swedish vampire film, directed by  Tomas Alfredson received almost unanimously excellent reviews upon  its release. A strange young girl moves in next door to a bullied  schoolboy. Over time a friendship develops between them, although his  newfound friend is hiding some dark and sinister secrets of her own.  Meanwhile bodies are turning up around the neighbourhood at an  alarming rate. (Stan

Someone’s Watching Me! (1978)

Somewhat of a curio as it is largely  forgotten, which is a shame because it’s great fun. This nifty, tightly paced thriller features scream queen Adrienne Barbeau as the friend  and colleague of heroine Lauren Hutton. The film, written and directed  by horror master John Carpenter, has Hutton moving into a high-rise  apartment building only to discover…you got it…somebody’s watching  her! Barbeau’s character is unusual in that her being a lesbian is  presented in a matter-of-fact fashion, which was a refreshing change  from most films of the 1970s. It’s a terrific film which was shot in only 10  days! You will never want to use a basement laundry room again.  (Google Play

Suspiria (2018)

Grossly underrated at the time of its release, the film  only has a tangental resemblance to the film it is a ‘remake’ of. Actually let’s call it a reimagining. While no LGBTQ+ characters feature in Luca  Guadagnino’s remake of Dario Argento’s classic, a lesbian sensibility  runs throughout the film. Set in a modern dance academy run by a  coven of witches, there is no doubt that the women perceive men as  superfluous, annoying creatures. The peerless Tilda Swinton dazzles in  a multitude of roles, while Renee Soutendijk, a favourite of cult film fans,  makes a welcome appearance as a witch with a most heinous cackle. (Amazon Prime

Alien (1979)

Fans of this seminal horror film may wonder why Alien  makes this list. Sigourney Weaver’s performance as Ripley is notable in  that she is never presented as having any sort of physical or romantic  interest in any of the male crew. Her heroism breaks down traditional  gender roles in that Ripley most definitely doesn’t need a man to save  her.

Alien also makes the list for a recently unearthed bit of film trivia. In  Aliens, a scene where the crew members of the Nostromo are being  discussed by the search team, a screen shot shows the character of  Lambert (played by the estimable Veronica Cartwright – who possesses  one of the best screams in Hollywood) was actually transgender. It is a  blink or you will miss it moment, but adds another layer for Queer film  fans to enjoy.  

Les Diaboliques (1955)

This classic French chiller stars Simone Signoret  and Vera Clouzot (the wife of the director, Henri-Georges Clouzot) as  two schoolmistresses who conspire to murder the latter’s abusive  husband. While neither character is specifically said to be lesbian, it is  definitely implied, particularly in the muscular performance of Signoret.  The twist-ending packs a wallop. (YouTube

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Many may be annoyed by Silence  making it onto this list for the problematic basis of the film. Buffalo Bill is  a serial-murderer who is kidnapping and skinning women to create his  own female suit. The gender dysphoria of the killer is certainly an ugly  reason for his murderous motivations, but the film is so brilliantly made  and the performances so good that it is essential viewing. Ted Levine,  dancing in front of the mirror to Goodbye Horses by Q Lazzarus, with his  penis tucked back, is a scene that instantly raises goosebumps. (Stan

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)

Credit: Photo by Moviestore/Shutterstock

This film makes  the list not because it’s good (it’s not – it’s terrible) but because the gay  sensibility and subtext is off the chart. Starring now-out actor Mark  Patton (in a truly wooden performance), the film is worth viewing based on the jaw-dropping shower scene that is so wrong it’s right. It is a truly  stupid film, but one that you may just want to check out for that very  reason. Screenwriter David Chaskin now acknowledges that he  intentionally included the gay subtext, something he denied for years.  The film has since developed a fervent Queer following. Watch it and  you’ll understand why. (Stan

Dressed to Kill (1980)

Brian De Palma is a master of suspense and  Dressed to Kill is perhaps his masterpiece. While, like a few films on this  list, it could be seen as problematic in light of today’s more enlightened  sensibilities, it cannot take away from the savage power of the film.  Michael Caine plays a psychiatrist who has more than a few problems of  his own. The performances are sublime and the subway chase, Angie  Dickinson’s death scene and the masterful art gallery sequence are  incredible.(Stan

Knife+Heart (2018)

This French film stars Vanessa Paradis as a lesbian director  of gay porn films, who is rapidly losing the stars of her current film at the  hands of a homicidal maniac. The striking opening scene shows a man  being stabbed to death with a dildo switchblade. That pretty much sets  the rest of the film up. This over-the-top film is visually stunning though  it’s safe to say this lurid and very in-your-face thriller won’t please  everyone. It’s utterly bonkers. (Google Play)

Tell us your favourite spooky horror films in the comments! Happy Halloween!

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