It is pride month and Signal Horizon is looking to explore some of the more underrated queer horror films of the last decade. This time we are giving you an essential list for Pride Month. Queer horror has been around as long as horror itself, but that doesn’t mean it has always been good or a fair representation of Queer life. Hidden themes, closeted concepts, and exploitive stereotypes ruled the day. However a new crop of movie makers and viewers have opened their minds to LGBTQ + storytelling. In the last decade it has gotten better still.
When one thinks of Queer Horror they immediately think of films like Nightmare on Elms Street 2, Raw, High Tension, and Jennifer’s Body. While all are great movies there are plenty of others that are seldom talked about and less widely known. Here is our 5 Best Queer Horror Movies You Probably Haven’t heard of.
Spiral- Do not confuse this Spiral with Spiral: From the Book of Saw which was a disappointing stinker. Spiral which is a Shudder Original stars Jeffrey Bower-Chapman does for LGBTQ + what Jordan Peele’s Get Out did for People of Color. Spiral is a queer horror story that is more than the sum of its parts. More than love or fear, it’s about exploitation and human nature. Neither is pretty. There are things to be afraid of that lurk just outside our doors, and sometimes inside the walls of the place, we should feel the safest. Just because we are spiraling out of control doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be.
2. What Keeps You Alive
What Keeps You Alive- The familiar hysterical wife trope gets a fresh spin when Jules played to perfection by Brittany Allen and Jackie played with cagey nastiness by Hannah Emily Anderson embark on a romantic anniversary trip that takes a surprising and terrifying twist. As Jules realizes she doesn’t know her wife as well as she thought the pair square off in a fight to the death. The movie works on many levels and delivers as many scares as it raises questions.
Climax- A Dance troop, a night of drugs, and one evening when everything goes wrong. Reminiscent of Chuck P’s Haunted Gasper Noe’s horrific snapshot into the lives of dancers and their relationships is at times difficult to watch but for the brave at heart the film rewards with a beautiful color palette and intimate storytelling that somehow manages to balance dark storytelling with stunning cinematography. If you can handle Climax It would make a tremendous double feature with Nicolas Winding Refn’ queer adjacent film Neon Demon.
4. Knife + Heart
Knife + Heart- A third rate gay porn producer finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery involving her latest star after her girlfriend breaks up with her. Knife + Heart is unabashedly French and is as sexy as it it campy. The kills are disgustingly framed and the sexual energy is front and center. This queer thriller cuts right to the heart of desire and horror with mostly brilliant results that surprise with moments of humor.
Thelma- My favorite on this list, Thelma is an incredibly layered work of Queer Horror. The Norwegian Thriller defies genres by mixing heady doses of supernatural scares, paranoia, and science fiction. The coming of age story features a hushed and haunted performance from Eili Harboe as Thelma a young college student who begins having violent seizures coupled with bouts of supernatural power. This is the kind of exhausting film that begins with a shiver and ends with the full on shakes. It is powerful rumination on control, repression, and femininity.
Pride month helps all of us celebrate that love is love and that we should all have the freedom to find someone that will make us happy. Horror has been celebrating just that for years. Hopefully a few of the movies mentioned above are new to you. Celebrating love and horror should be a thing we celebrate every month. All of these movies despite being less known can be found on at least one of the streaming channel right now.
Tyler has been the editor in chief of Signal Horizon since its conception. He is also the Director of Monsters 101 at Truman State University a class that pairs horror movie criticism with survival skills to help middle and high school students learn critical thinking. When he is not watching, teaching or thinking about horror he is the Director of Debate and Forensics at a high school in Kansas City, Missouri.