Second to last! We’re coming close to the end of this series! Being authorities on all things gay-cinema, 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 part four of our five-part list – 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: Bruce LaBruce
Otto (Jey Crisfar) is a really cute young twink dude – who happens to be undead. When not feasting on roadkill or staggering around Berlin, Otto ponders his existence. Soon he finds a purpose with a role in a queer zombie movie directed by a would-be revolutionary lesbian filmmaker. Otto’s fellow cast members are amused by his “method acting,” and a few even find him sexually attractive – in fact, zombies highly are fetishized in envelope-pushing director Bruce LaBruce‘s queer universe – but there’s more to this story than meets the jaundiced eye. Otto; or, Up with Dead People made a gigantic splash almost a decade ago when it first opened at the Sundance Film Festival (where a few audience members bolted from the theater during an outrageous scene tellingly dubbed the “gut fuck”), and while it contains the beloved (at least by us) Canadian provocateur’s signature themes of explicit sexuality, dark humor and formalistic flourishes, it also represents an artistic evolution for him. With an emotional core, superb music (including a melancholy song by Antony & The Johnsons) and many nods to genre influences like George Romero and Carnival of Souls, Otto; or, Up with Dead People rises high while remaining proudly, bloodily lowbrow.
2016, Great Britain
Director: Eadward Stocks
In a paradise of sun and sea, three young people on the brink of adulthood navigate the complexities of love, sex and secrecy with disastrous consequences. Lily and Finn (Phoebe Naughton and Andrew Mullan) meet one drunken night in a club and begin the perfect summer romance – until they meet up with Lily’s younger brother Jamie (George Stocks), who might want to steal the sexy, mysterious young Finn and keep him all for himself – even if it means blackmailing him into sexual favors. As the temperature rises outside, the heat between these three individuals brings tensions to a boiling point. An intimate look into the strains of familial bonds and awakened romance, Palace of Fun, one of the newest movies on our list (coming to DVD at the end of this month), explores how far young people will go to keep up appearances and maintain their identity. As secrets are revealed, you can’t help but find yourself on the edge of your seat. The movie envelops the viewer in an irresistible world of questionable morals and fervent intentions.
Director: Tor Iben
Similar to the movie above is The Passenger, a provocative 2012 drama from German director Tor Iben. Here, sexual and moral boundaries are also put to the test when a handsome stranger begins to infiltrate the lives of two artists. While searching for a condo in Berlin for his father, Nick (super-hunk Niklas Peters) meets Philipp (Urs Stampfli), a talented photographer, and Lilli (Lynn Femme), a gorgeous actress. There is instant chemistry and both are easily seduced by Nick’s charms. Lilli and Philipp begin to explore their relationship with the sexy visitor, succumbing to their passionate affections which intensify their volatile emotional and physical bonds. But what Philipp and Lilli don’t realize is that they are being lured into Nick’s manipulative (and deadly) game of love. Director Tor Iben (The Visitor, Love Kills) is really good at crafting intense and incredibly titillating man-on-man love scenes… especially when they take place in the woods… it’s kind of a recurring thing for him. Also, it’s really hard to stop staring at Niklas Peters. He’s handsome and shirtless and hairy and oh man just look at him… sorry, what were we talking about?
1991, United States
Director: Todd Haynes
This one is a bit of a stretch because only one third of the movie deals in horror tropes (although the mock-doc portion is arguably creepy too), but we couldn’t resist adding this challenging and important New Queer Cinema classic from Todd Haynes. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, this amazingly self-assured early feature proved to be quite a controversial work upon its release. Interweaving three seemingly unconnected stories, each with its own individual filmmaking style, this low-budget independent effort mesmerized many, perplexed others and disgusted more than a few. Hero, the first tale, told in a semi-documentary form, recounts a young boy’s killing of his abusive father and his miraculous and mysterious ‘flight’ away. Horror, the portion that we’re using to justify inclusion on this list, is filmed in a style of a 1950s sci-fi/horror drive-in flick and follows the tragedy that strikes a scientist after he successfully isolates the human sex drive in liquid form. It’s a thoughtful and carefully-crafted AIDS allegory that came along deep into the crisis. The final tale, lovingly adapted from the writings of Jean Genet, is Homo, an intensely sensual and lyrical story of obsessive, unrequited love set in a prison. Poison is a wholly original, provocative, unsettling and intelligent film that is still – and always will be – a must-see for adventurous gay cinephiles.
2009, United States
Director: David Kittredge
Director David Kittredge‘s debut feature Pornography: A Thriller, is a film that blurs the lines between reality, dreams and fantasy. The film is a stunningly frightening David Cronenberg-meets-David-Lynch psychological thriller centering on a fictional gay porn star who mysteriously disappeared in 1995. Elusive porn icon Mark Anton (Jared Grey) was red hot when he seemingly vanished into thin air. His fans were left with only shreds of what could have been. Flash forward to the current day: Michael (Matthew Montgomery) is researching a book about gay porn. He’s interviewing people who have long wondered what happened to the elusive Mark Anton. The trail leads him to a Brooklyn loft apartment that he and his partner feel compelled to move into. The vibe is definitely unsettling, and there are mysterious holes all over where it looks like cameras used to be. Michael finds a VHS tape hidden in the wall. He plays the tape but is not sure what he sees. Things quickly turn ugly when he brings the tape to a friend to transfer it. The film shifts to the West Coast, where porn star Matt Stevens (Pete Scherer) has an eerie dream about Mark Anton that he hastily adapts into a screenplay. His porn producer has no idea what he’s committing himself to when he green lights this lucid nightmare. Wholly original and very unpredictable, Pornography: A Thriller is a memorable trip into some pretty dark sexual corners.
Director: Jade Castro
The curse of a drag queen who Remington mocked when he was child has started to turn this ladies-man gay overnight. If he can’t convince a straight guy to switch orientations with him before the bell tolls, he will be gay forever. This wouldn’t be such a terrible thing but there’s an anti-gay serial killer on the loose… oh… and also some gnarly drag-queen zombies invading from all corners. Remington and his rag tag group of friends will only be able to survive the night if they can learn to be true to themselves. Follow Remington as he sashays into an adventure and encounters mystery curses, killers and gay zombies roaming the streets in this campy and way, way, way over-the-top horror-comedy curio. Remington and the Curse of the Zombadings isn’t well-known in the United States, but it was actually a really big hit in the Philippines when it first came out in theaters. Also, star Martin Escudero is a delicious hottie… I guess we’re kinda glad that gypsy drag queen put a curse on him and made him gay.
Director: Erlingur Thoroddsen
One of the newest movies out of all fifty on this full five-part list, Rift has been earning a great amount of buzz at festivals. Unfortunately, this one is a little bit of a cheat. It’s not coming out on DVD and VOD until AFTER Halloween. Still, make sure to add it to your list and check it out in November. The story starts with Gunnar, who receives a strange phone call from his ex-boyfriend, Einar months after they parted ways. Einar sounds distraught, like he’s about to do something terrible to himself, so Gunnar drives to the secluded cabin where Einar is holed up and soon discovers there is more going on than he imagined. As the two come to terms with their broken relationship, some other person seems to be lurking outside the cabin, wanting to get in. This is an enticing, well-acted and expertly-directed mystery-thriller that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Paying homage to classic horror films like Robert Wise’s The Haunting and Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now, Rift is genuinely suspenseful and creates an admirably eerie atmosphere. The Movie has proven a big hit on the film festical circuit – not just LGBT film festivals, but general horror film festivals as well, where it has earned rave reviews.
2010, United States
Director: James Felix McKenney
The most important thing for gay audiences to know going into Satan Hates You is that it’s an intentionally trashy satire. By presenting the idea that being gay and/or pro-choice are worthy of shame, the filmmakers simultaneously mock the very same notion. Still, if you’re easily offended, you should avoid this movie like the plague. Marc (Don Wood), tries to make out with a generous, same-sex pot-dealer… and then brutally murders him after he is accused of being gay – screaming “I am not a queer!” We think he doth protest too much. Marc is attracted to men, but also likes to bludgeon them to death after sex. Meanwhile, a lesbian and occult-friendly party-girl named Wendy (Christine Spencer), fully aware that she is pregnant, pops pills and snorts random substances on her bathroom floor. She will have to go to even further extremes, however, to destroy her fetus. Take our word for it: it will not be pretty. What provokes these two destructive character? The devil himself, of course! Prolific indie-horror producer/director/actor Larry Fessenden and Shortbus star Bradford Scobie have a campy good time as invisible demons pulling the satanic strings – think of the fairies from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” only evil. Satan Hates You gleefully parodies some of the bizarre, low-budget “religious message movies” that cropped up in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s – an obscure genre, to be sure, but one that’s worth poking fun at.
2010, Great Britain
Director: Ian Powell
Belying its low budget, first-time film director Ian Powell created a moody, at times creepy, very sexy and intensely atmospheric thriller about a young male prostitute haunted by nightmares which may very well come true. When you are beautiful, someone is always trying to use you or do you harm. Such is the belief of Paul, a young escort who is desired by everyone. Paul has no problem selling his body to the highest bidder, as long as they also take his other unusual gift – that is, when having sex, Paul has visions of his long-lost twin brother, visions that are eerily transferred to the clients. When not tricking, the unhappy Paul searches for his brother who was separated from him when he was a young child. Through a series of chance encounters Paul meets Baxter, a porn director wanting to break into cross-over films. Since Paul thinks his brother may be working in the gay porn industry, he agrees to do act if Baxter in turn helps him find his brother. But his entry into this world becomes more and more intense and potentially dangerous as sexual excesses, nightmarish visions and the possible redemptive powers of love overwhelm him. Seeing Heaven is a captivating, low-budget commentary on the British escort/porn industry as well as a 21st century variation of Dorian Gray.
2007, United States
Director: Sean Abley
Told with panache, sex and nudity, this fiery hot erotic thriller tells the story of two men who get off on electric current and each other. An exceptional sci-fi fantasy, a pair of gay lovers literally gets a jolt as they plug in for pleasure in writer/director Sean Abley‘s Socket. After being struck by lightning, Dr. Bill Matthews (Derek Long) receives extra special care from a mysterious, sexy hospital intern named Craig (Matthew Montgomery). Having survived the same natural accident, Craig introduces his new recruit to an underground group that uses electricity to reach ecstasy. Soon the two develop an insatiable appetite for wall sockets and each other… but it’s not enough for Bill. Using his gifted talents as a surgeon, this doctor will stop at nothing to find the ultimate charge! With ample male flesh on display, lively realistic writing and crisp direction, Socket aims to light up your television screen (or computer or tablet… whatever). This is one queer horror tale unlike any we have really seen before. You’ll also be happy to know that we only distribute the original, uncut version with plenty of full-frontal nudity and hot cinematic homoeroticism. Let the sparks fly!
That’s it for today! Check back in with us next week for THE FINAL ENTRY – and visit us at TLAgay.com for your gay-themed horror/Halloween entertainment-related needs!