Homo Horror Flicks

The ultimate list of queer fear jerkers

Natalie Hope McDonald

It isn’t called “Gay Christmas” for nothing. As we embark on Halloween week – it gets started tonight at Tabu (9 p.m.) with Sara Sherr’s “Scaryaoke,” co-hosted by Salotta Tea – there are a slew of slasher flicks and suspense stories to keep gays and lesbians more than a little entertained this season.

Horror movies are definitely not just for straights. Plenty of gay legends and homoerotic themes have popped up in scary favorites over the years. John Waters, legendary gay director, appeared in Seed of Chucky, which was first created by openly gay director Don Mancini. Even The Slumber Party Massacre, with wall-to-wall women in skivvies, was written by pioneering lesbian feminist author Rita Mae Brown. Gay poster boy Rupert Everett also tried his hand at horror in the zombie-filled Cemetery Man.

Perhaps one of the finest (and funniest) stalker films is The Fan starring Lauren Bacall in what hoped to be the silver screen siren’s comeback. Instead, it’s a laughable movie with more gay innuendos and “haggery” than Liza Minnelli’s marriage to David Guest.

Hellbent is considered to be the first-ever gay slasher flick; it’s filled to the rim with gay leather daddies and dragsters. What makes this one a gay favorite – besides the fact that it’s set in West Hollywood on Halloween night – is the menagerie of gay characters featured, and not just the usual screaming queens either.

Someone starts killing American male models in Dead Boyz Don’t Scream, a camp classic with plenty of warm-blooded beefcakes being terrorized by a serial killer. If you’re into high camp and lots of six-packs, then this is the movie for you.

One of the first transgender characters of horror shows up in Sleepaway Camp, which boasts a Crying Game-like ending. In keeping with the genre’s love of summer camp, mean-spirited teens start being killed off at Camp Arawak. It isn’t until the end that the killer’s secret is revealed in a semi-big way (depending on your preference).

Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse has also proven to be a big hit among lesbians as it features gay-friendly female favorites like Rose McGowan. Set in an abandoned movie theatre, the movie harkens back to the old B-movies of the 1950s with its fair share of nudity, terror and sex.

When it comes to disco and hot shots of New York City in the 1970s, The Eyes of Laura Mars takes the prize. Starring Faye Dunaway (yep, she played Mommy Dearest), the film is brimming with hot models, an openly gay assistant and the New York fashion world. When models start dropping like flies (and not because of late nights with the man in the moon at Studio 54) it’s up to Mars, a fashion photographer with a penchant for gorily styled photo shoots, to help nab the killer.

The DVD gods were very kind when they decided to release Paul Lynde’s Halloween Special from 1976. In it, KISS performs and so does Florence Henderson, an alum of Dancing With the Stars this season (the former Mrs. Brady croons “That Old Black Magic”). The premise is Lynde trying desperately to escape silly pranksters with a hoard of Hollywood distractions, delivered with the sheer unabashed tackiness and humor we might expect from the master.

Brian DePalma also delivered cross-dressing fright in Dressed to Kill. In this suspenseful flick, a high-class call girl is the only witness to a crime. The killer, believed to be a blonde woman in sunglasses, turns out to be someone else entirely.

Rocky Horror Picture Show fans might want to check out Phantom of the Paradise, a glam rock opera of sorts that features lots of gender bending. Brian DePalma directs this one, too, with a cameo by Paul Williams for whom gay glam rockers Scissor Sisters dedicated one of their albums. It’s based very loosely on the Phantom of the Opera classic. There’s even a character in it by the name of Beef.

What happens when a vampire wants to go unnoticed in the suburbs? He feigns gay, of course, and moves in with his supposed lover (an antiques dealer, no less) much to the concern of a very worried teen neighbor. That’s the gist of Fright Night, a film featuring lesbian actress Amanda Bearse (she now directs The Big Gay Sketch Show on Logo) and Roddy McDowell. Enough said.

More recently, In the Blood tackled same-sex attraction at a New York City college. It’s like a slasher flick for the co-ed set, featuring guys who like guys and a slew of student bodies, both dead and alive.

Have a favorite horror flick? Share your picks in the comments below.