Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural, will explore the history of queer horror films in a new feature-length documentary from writer/director Sam Wineman. The project follows on the heels of “Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror,” which shed new light on how African American characters and creators were used — and misused — across a century of genre cinema. The film premiered during a special screening hosted by the Toronto International Film Festival and was released to widespread critical acclaim earlier this year.
The untitled documentary will explore the complex, fascinating history of queer horror on film, through the works of pioneering queer creators like James Whale and Clive Barker. The film will examine the coded, sometimes problematic, depiction of LGBTQ+ characters in films like “Sleepaway Camp,” “High Tension” and “Jennifer’s Body.” It will chart the course of queer subjects and creators in the horror genre from the silent era through the present day.
The project is expected to premiere next year, Shudder announced today. It will be the platform’s second original feature documentary.
The project will be assembled by members of the “Horror Noire” team, including executive producers Phil Nobile Jr. (Fangoria) and Kelly Ryan (Stage 3), as well as consulting producer Michael Varrati, an out gay screenwriter who hosts the horror podcast “Dead for Filth.”
“While watching ‘Horror Noire,’ I identified deeply with the discussion of loving a genre and having that love be unrequited,” said Wineman, who will write and direct the documentary. “Horror has spent a great deal of time telling our stories undercover, both intentionally and unintentionally. In order to fully understand the depth of how and why, you have to unpack the social context of what it is to be queer at the moment in history that coincides with the films themselves. That story is one that is long overdue, and I am honored to have the chance to share it.”
Wineman is the director of three short films, including last year’s “The Quiet Room,” which will premiere on Shudder later this summer. The 28-minute film co-stars “RuPaul’s Drag Race” icon Alaska Thunderfuck, and tells the story of a man whose attempted suicide awakens a psych ward demon.
“This year feels like that moment for queer horror,” said Nobile. “Something’s in the air right now, and I deeply believe that Sam Wineman is the right voice to tell this story, and Shudder—who understood the importance of ‘Horror Noire’ and continue to be fantastic allies—is the perfect platform for this story to be told.”