A Look at Gay Horror
Gay horror is one of my favorite sub genres of horror and I’m not talking about movies where the homosexuality is implied but never discussed or movies with homoerotic undertones. Sure, those are great too, but I’m talking about movies where the main characters are openly gay and the plot involves their sexuality to at least some degree. I recently went on a bit of a spree watching these types of films and I wanted to share my two favorites here so that more people might become aware of then because trust me, they are brilliant.
The first film is Rift by Erlingur Thoroddsen. Rift is an Icelandic horror drama and first of all, it gets points right there because how many Icelandic horror films do we have? Not. Nearly. Enough. The story is about the aftermath of a doomed relationship between two men. One calls the other and asks him to meet at a cabin retreat in the country they used to visit when they were together. Once there, they start to revisit some of their past as strange things start happening around them. That may sound a bit vague, but I really don’t want to give any more away because part of the enjoyment I got from this was not really knowing where it was going to go.
I will say that parts of this are just creepy as hell. One scene towards the end was absolutely terrifying so of course I had to rewind it right then and get terrified all over again before I could finish the movie. It was also one of those scenes that’s so subtle in its creepiness that part of me was just like “wait did that just happen?!”
I really love that the two leads (who basically carry the entire film and do a great job at that) are not your stereotypical gay characters. They aren’t flamboyant or dramatic. They don’t carry around a ton of excess baggage. The problems they are going through are very real I found myself relating to both of them and rooting for them to not only discover this unseen presence, but to also just work shit out and be happy together goddammit. But of course, nothing in this movie is quite what it seems and that’s what makes it so memorable. Also, as a side note, the scenic Icelandic countryside backdrop is really the third uncredited lead here and wow is it beautiful.
This is a beautifully complex film. I’ve watched it three times now and each time, I discover another layer. I did my last watch with my husband and he saw things that I didn’t see on my first two watches. It does an amazing job of showing the trauma of a broken relationship and the lingering effects it can have on both sides. This is a film you are meant to feel more than anything else and I highly recommend to anyone looking for a good gay horror story or even just a good slow burn horror with amazing atmosphere.
The second film I want to share is B&B by Joe Ahearne. Technically, this is more of a thriller than a horror movie, but it still fits into the whole “gay horror” sub genre because listen, if this happened to me it would be truly horrific.
The story is about a couple that decide to spend the weekend at a remote English bed & breakfast. Right away, we discover that they stayed at this same place one year ago and sued (and won) the owner for not allowing them to share a double bed. I get it, that’s totally understandable and good for them. So they come back to this place to basically gloat and bait the owner and that seems a little petty even for me, but I’m not here to judge. They soon find themselves dealing with another guest whose intentions may be even more sinister than their own
Again, I don’t want to give any more away because this is another film that I watched with absolutely no idea where it was going and I think that helped my enjoyment. I can definitely tell you that this has a massive amount of twist and turns with very Hitchcockian undertones. You really don’t know who to trust from one scene to the next and it’s a great ride! There were a couple of times when I was sure I knew what was going to happen and both times, I was wrong so my hat is off to the movie for that!
Just like with Rift, these characters are not stereotypical. They are easy to relate to, even down to their notable faults. One is to proud for his own good. The other has endured years of gay hate and is possibly to cautious because of it. Personally, that’s a very relatable characteristic for me.
There are too many movies out there that cast gay people in an unfavorable light, especially ones that reduce a gay person to nothing more than a comedic sidekick. I know it’s funny when that’s the case and I laugh just as much as anyone, but the truth is that we are more than that and deserve that representation in film. Since horror is my preferred genre, it’s so wonderful to see that representation happening specifically in that area. I intend to seek out more films like this and when I find them, I will be sharing them here so we can spread the good word of good gay horror as much as possible!