But first…Support Black Horror Creators, An Epilogue:
Following my last podcast episode, “Support Black Horror Creators”, I realize I left out two crucial comments. One, I am ITCHING in anticipation for Nia Decosta’s Candyman and I can’t believe I left that out of the episode. And remember, Jordan Peele may be the producer but Nia Decosta is the director. It’s her movie! The most recent trailer, which uses shadow puppets, is awesome and you should check it out immediately. The other point I omitted is my own personal journey in acknowledging my racism as a white person. The episode is not about me, and I do not want to center my feelings in a conversation that needs to be about supporting black creators. But for anyone reading who is white, I want to share how I got here: I have done and said so many vile, racist things. My freshman year of college I used bronzer to darken my face for a Halloween costume that was not just racist, but also just a really bad costume. A lazy stereotype. I didn’t know at the time that this was offensive AF – I thought I was being ironic and funny. And I was NINETEEN. Two years later, I wore my friend’s confederate flag as a dress to a dumb “anything but clothes” party. This was when “hipsterdom” was a burgeoning concept and I thought I was being so *~EdGy~* and ironic. Nope, I was being a dumbass racist. Because I went to the University of South Carolina, I don’t remember anyone calling me out at the time. Maybe someone did, and I didn’t listen. Then I got my first job out of college working for a labor union. It was the first time in my life where my daily experiences in life weren’t surrounded by 99% white people. I met and got to know people who didn’t look like me and didn’t grow up in the privileged environment I did. And so it grew from there. Turns out, listening to experiences that aren’t yours does wonders for broadening your worldview. I am STILL racist and complicit in a racist system. I am trying to do better. Do the work in unlearning. Check out Rachel Cargle on Instagram or Ijeoma Oluo’s “So You Want to Talk About Race”. And if you’re white like me, sit with your shame, guilt and privilege. Feels like shit, right? Now imagine being oppressed every day. Just shut the hell up and listen. But enough about me. It’s not about me.
Okay, on to today’s subject: LGTBQIA Horror!
Happy Pride month, horror fans! This week I watched the new documentary, Disclosure, on Netflix. I highly recommend it. It details the experiences and representation of trans actors and filmmakers in TV and film. As you can imagine, there’s lots of work to do. We are just now at a point where trans actors, non-binary actors and their stories are SLOWLY being shown on TV without centering their gender or impact of that journey as the main plot. They’re just existing like normal humans with real feelings, challenges, celebrations and aspirations. Looking back and seeing interviews by Oprah, Katie Couric, and scenes from Jerry Springer and other talk shows made me cringe. We’ve evolved – a LITTLE bit.
As it relates to horror, queer subtext and LGBTQIA horror creators have existed since pretty much the beginning of the film industry. One prominent early example is The Bride of Frankenstein, directed by a gay man and starring an openly gay actor. I didn’t know that until this week. Maybe you did, and if so you’re a savvier horror fan than I am. And that’s arguably one of the greatest horror sequels of all time! But even before that, horror fiction dating back to the 1790s include queer points of view and stories. At a time where the word “gay” may not have existed, queer writers were inserting their stories in horror fiction. Including Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Unfortunately, while queer themes have been there if you look hard enough, over the years LGBTQIA characters in horror movies have either been cast as monsters/villains, or as dispensable victims or background characters. I have started to see more positive representation in recent years, and hopefully the trend continues.
I highly recommend watching Mark Patton’s documentery, Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street. I talk about this in the Nerdcropolis Podcast, Episode 8. It’s not just a great documentary about a great Nightmare on Elm Street sequel, you also get to hear Mark’s take on the making of the film. He really wears his heart on his sleeve in this one, and should be commended for his bravery in being so vulnerable about a subject that has clearly tormented him for years. I applaud you, Mark! Excellent documentary. Check it out on Shudder!
I have more to add about the film discussed on the podcast this week – Alena. I mention there are some beautiful depictions of queer relationships, and there are. BUT! There’s also a lot of brutality there. *Spoiler alert, and TW: R*pe*: There’s a pretty graphic depiction of lesbian sexual assault in a locker room, and while it’s undoubtedly violent, the assault is not BECAUSE of their sexuality. At all. It’s just because the main bully, Fillipa, just sucks. It definitely has a Carrie vibe in that regard. There’s also such a gnarly, bloody make out scene which I thought was awesome!
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the death of director Joel Schumacher. A lot of stories in the media that I’ve seen about him says he’s best known for the Batman movies he made, but we all love him for making Flatliners and The Lost Boys, which is loaded with homoerotic imagery that I LOVE. Read a tribute to him in Advocate: https://www.advocate.com/people/2020/6/22/joel-schumacher-gay-director-lost-boys-st-elmos-fire-has-died
Ok – here is the watch list from this week’s podcast episode:
- I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)
- Sorority Babes at the Slimeball Bowl-a-Rama (1988)
- High Tension (2003)
- Raw (2015)
- Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street (2020)
- Alena (2015)
- Child’s Play (1988)
- Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
- Hellraiser (1987)
- Jennifer’s Body (2009)
- Ginger Snaps (2000)
Blogs to check out:
- Gay for Horror
- Horror Queers
On MY Watchlist:
- Knife + Heart
- Stranger By the Lake