If you’re the same kind of scare-seeking movie geek that I am, you’ll know that October is a time to light a few candles, turn down the lights, open up the windows to let in that fresh autumn breeze… before really setting the mood with some seasonally-appropriate scary movies! This month, I’m sure we’ll revisit some tried and true classics (think The Exorcist, The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby, the original Halloween). I have plans to finally bust open the Criterion Collection edition of Don’t Look Now I bought forever ago. Being authorities on all things gay-cinema, though, we at TLAgay.com wanted to put in a good word for some queer movies that don’t make the usual ranked horror lists. We came up with a selection of 50 different gay titles that are either direct horror movies or horror adjacent (suspense, mysteries, thrillers). Below, you’ll find the first ten movies – in alphabetical order – with new lists appearing each Monday in October. Keep checking back each week for the latest additions!
We tried to limit these to films that are currently available on our site – either on DVD or Blu-ray, or available via our On-Demand service. If a movie is missing from this list, chances are good it’s just out of print or otherwise currently unavailable/hard to access. This isn’t, as you’ll see, a definitive list of the greatest gay horror – that’s not what we were going for. This is just a sampling of some offerings that usually fly under the radar. Some are good, some are great, some are delightfully campy and ridiculous, some might be downright terrible, but they’re all available to help get your into the Halloween spirit!
Director: Marco Berger
More of a subtle psychological thriller in the Single White Female vein than a horror flick, Absent won the Teddy Award for Best Feature Film at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival. Knowingly, even aggressively sexual, 16-year-old Martin (Javier De Pietro) locks his seductive sights on Sebastian (Carlos Echevarría), his recently engaged, 30-something swimming instructor. Faking an injury, Martin eventually tricks his teacher into letting him spend the night at his apartment. As Sebastian begins to realize the possible sexual interest on the part of his student, he is conflicted. He is dismissive, but his curiosity is piqued by the boy’s overt advances. An extraordinary event soon leads the increasingly troubled Sebastian to question his own feelings for young Martin. Absent is not a simple boy-meets-boy drama. It’s a taut, and at times, incredible sexy drama of repressed passion, guilt and regret. There are no easy answers in this edgy sexual thriller.
2010, United States
Director: Joshua Grannell
Born from the loins of the cult-film underground, All About Evil is an over-the-top black comedy that tells the wicked story of Deborah (Natasha Lyonne), a mousy librarian who inherits her father’s beloved but failing old-school movie house. In order to save the family business, she discovers her inner serial killer and starts turning out a series of grisly short films; gathering a legion of gore-hungry fans to watch them. What they don’t realize is that the murders in the movies are real and the audience may become Deborah’s next victims! Directed with campy flair by Joshua Grannell (better know as the incomparable “Midnight Mass” host Peaches Christ) and co-starring Mink Stole, Thomas Dekker, Noah Segan and Cassandra Peterson (Elvira herself!), All About Evil is a ghoulish little horror-comedy offering by and for die-hard queer horror fans.
A sexually ambiguous Frenchman tours his native countryside with his naive American lover in pursuit of the ultimate thrill. From the moment they meet, brooding Chris (Pierre Perrier – holy fuck… what a hottie) and the beautiful Aurore (Lizzie Brochere) fall instantly and passionately in love… but it’s not long before their intense connection is consumed by Chris’s dark obsession with gay men. Before long, the pair embarks on a violent and sexual journey filled with seduction and destruction of young gay hustlers. This one might be harder to watch than most. It’s easy to see why men would be instantly attracted to Chris and follow him just about anywhere. It’s not as easy to watch him take advantage of them and ultimately murder them. American Translation is twisted and often bone-chilling, but it’s also wildly sexy at times. Mixed signals, we know. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.
2017, Great Britain
Director: Joe Ahearne
“They made their bed… now they’ll have to die in it.” One of the newest movies on our list, B&B has been earning praise from LGBT horror/thriller/suspense fans at festivals and comes to DVD in mid-October. Lovers Marc and Fred (Tom Bateman and Sean Teale) initiated a major legal battle after they were refused a double bed at a remote Christian guest house. They came out of their court case victorious and now they’re back at the establishment to claim their conjugal rights. Triumph, however, quickly turns to terror when a scary Russian neo-Nazi also checks in. Their weekend of celebratory fun soon becomes a bloody battle for survival. B&B is a whip-smart and brutally funny dark comedy-thriller that has been earning rave reviews from critics – some of whom have even compared it to the work of Alfred Hitchcock. The Hollywood Outsiders, specifically, called it “a film Alfred Hitchcock would be proud of.” The Horror Society said it’s “frickin’ fantastic and a trailblazer for LGBT cinema.” We’re super-duper excited for this one!
2011, United States
Director: Mark Bessenger
Hunky truck driver Brewster (Benjamin Lutz) takes over his missing brother’s delivery of coffins. On the way to his funeral home destination, he picks up some hitchhikers: the cute and wise-cracking Cary (Windham Beacham) and his smitten but tense boyfriend Vogel (David Alanson). The couple’s relationship is on the rocks (though that doesn’t stop them from some hot-and-noisy gas station toilet sex, which ignites the repressed homo in the voyeuristic Brewster). With dicks firmly back in pants, trouble descends on the threesome when a faulty GPS leads them into a deserted junkyard – where the truck promptly breaks down. Normally, this would not be a terrible situation. But this night is far from normal – as an assortment of blood-thirty zombies begin to attack! Now, the mismatched trio must fend off the marauding monsters and try to survive until dawn. With plenty of witty asides, sexy encounters and flesh-tearing scenes, this low budget gem delivers the gory goods! There’s also a fun little cameo from Stephen Geoffreys – the once nerdy-cute ’80s teen star (best known as Evil Ed from Fright Night), turned ’90s gay porn star (look up “Sam Ritter” sometime).
2012, United States
Curated by prolific writer/director Rob Williams (Make the Yuletide Gay, Shared Rooms) for his distribution label Guest House Films, Black Briefs features six award-winning short films with pretty dark, horror or horror-adjacent stories and themes. When it comes to short film compilations, there is always something to recommend. If you don’t like the first one, chances are good there is a short just around the corner that you’re going to appreciate more. In Black Briefs, we really like Hong Khaou‘s steamy Spring, about a young man meets up with a stranger for a little exploratory sadomasochistic sex; and Jack Plotnick‘s Video Night, in which a group of filmmaker buddies discover something unexpected in their raw footage. Our favorite, though, is Greg Ivan Smith‘s Remission. A man, all alone in a secluded cabin awaiting the results of a serious medical test, is haunted by a terrifying presence. It’s genuinely chilling and it’s one of those rare movies that can create dread and unease even in its scenes set during the daytime.
2013, United States
Director: Creep Creepersin
From gothic punk filmmaker Creep Creepersin comes an ambitious tale set in a post-apocalyptic world where vampires are named for Greek Gods and witches rule over pretty much everything. Eros (David Taylor) falls in love with a human named Samuel (Domiziano Arcangeli) and wants to “save” him by making him a vampire as well. But Eros’ evil vampire lover, Dionysus (Dylan Vox), has other ideas. Matters are complicated by Eros’ sister and incestuous lover Persephone (Rachel Zeskind), along with an ambiguous bookkeeper and three witches who know the secrets of the universe and “The Laws Of Eternity.” The Brides of Sodom doesn’t have nearly the budget to support it’s other-worldly environment or desired special effects, but if you can get past the clunkiness, or if you have an appreciation for corny horror flicks in the MST3K mold, you’ll find there’s some elements to appreciate here. The movie features plenty of ridiculously beefy, masculine, bisexual guys – plus there are some genuine gay porn stars on display – including David Taylor and Dylan Vox. Also in the movie is Peter Stickles, one of the stars of “The Lair” and John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus.
2001, United States
Director: David DeCoteau
Legendary low-budget cult director David DeCoteau has set up a cottage industry producing horror films with homoerotic undertones and plot lines. His films are generally distinguished by high production values, gorgeous guys, imaginative story lines, campy laughs and a complete lack of substance (fully intended). Released in 2001 not long after movies like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer ushered in a new teen horror trend, The Brotherhood remains one of his most successful offerings. There is a pretty darn amazing fraternity on campus with four members always dressed as if they are going out to a gay club right after school. These rather demonic guys are looking for a new recruit, who they feel they may have found in Chris (Nathan Watkins), a very studly new student. Chris and his geeky-cute new roommate are scoped out by Devon (Bradley Stryker) – the evil frat president who invite them to a “party”. Little do they know that the frat boys are actually vampires who perform their blood letting rituals in their underwear while on top of sumptuous blood stained, satin bed linens!
2017, United States
One of the newer movies on our list, along with B&B, A Closer Walk with Thee is a subversive little provocation we’re really excited about. Jordan (Aj Knight), a young Christian missionary, gets caught watching his handsome pastor Eli (Gregory Shelby) in the shower. The rest of his church ostracizes him until Eli (who happens to be a fledgling exorcist) suggests it may be demonic possession that’s giving Jordan his ungodly homosexual urges. What starts as an exorcism to save their friendship quickly descends into psychosexual madness. An award-winner at film festivals, A Closer with Thee has earned some rave reviews from horror-savvy critics, Cineounx said it’s “like what would happen if someone handed Todd Solondz as exorcism script and said, ‘knock yourself out'” and Parade said it “Mixes exorcism, homoeroticism and evangelistic angst in a combo that clearly doesn’t cater to the Sunday School crowd.” On top of everything else, lead actors Aj Knight and Gregory Shelby really make the screen sizzle. Their “hot young pastor and obedient church boy” dynamic is definite dirty fantasy fuel.
2014, United States
Director: Jody Wheeler
Long estranged from his widowed mother, Keegan Dark (Blaise Embry) is blessed with the uncanny ability to remember his life in videographic detail. This is both a blessing and a curse, keeping him at odds with his family and loved ones. Returning home with his boyfriend in tow to make amends with his mother, he’s shocked to discover she remarried. His family now includes a step-father and step-brother – and Keegan quickly surmises they aren’t up to any good. His investigation into their past is derailed when his mother drops into a coma, his boyfriend seemingly leaves him and the town’s sheriff targets him as the most likely culprit. With allies scarce and time running out, Keegan must fight – and use his remarkable mind–to unravel the secrets that threaten to destroy him. Also featuring Sean Paul Lockhart and Timo Descamps, The Dark Place isn’t a traditional “horror” movie in any sense, but it’s got some suspense and fantasy elements that we thought made it worthy of this list. It’s also from the makers of the terrific Judas Kiss, which we highly recommend. That movie isn’t in the horror genre either, but it’s got another supernatural story element that’s worth checking out.
That’s it for today! Check back in with us next week for Part 2 – and visit us at TLAgay.com for your gay-themed horror/Halloween entertainment-related needs!