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24 Famously Queer and Homoerotic Horror Movies, from ‘Psycho’ to ‘Hellraiser’

Everyone knows about "A Nightmare on Elm Street 2," but queer desire and horror have gone hand in hand since the beginning of the genre.

Nightmare on Elm Street 2

Mark Patton in “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge”

New Line

Like its genre cousin, science fiction, horror films have long used supernatural terrors as stand-ins for real-life fears. When Jordan Peele used the genre to show white supremacy as the ultimate terror in “Get Out,” he was inspired by years of socio-political readings of his favorite horror films. Even though openly LGBTQ characters in horror were rare until recently, when it comes to queer subtext, the genre is ripe for exploring themes such as possession, body transformation, fear of the other, uncontrollable desire, and hidden identities.

As explored in Shudder’s exhaustive docuseries “Queer For Fear: The History of Queer Horror,” the history of horror aligns pretty significantly with the history of queer film. The series traces the genre’s origins, beginning with a reclamation of Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker as queer writers, through Alfred Hitchcock’s many queer-coded films, and runs all the way to Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story” empire.

As just one example, the lesbian vampire, first introduced in the 19th-century Gothic novella “Carmilla,” led to an explosion of movies in the 1970s. While some earlier films do include overtly gay themes, things went underground during the Hays Code era, and the reverberations of that subversive queerness remain fruitful to this day. For so long, LGBTQ characters had to linger just beneath the surface, often hiding in plain sight. By daring in other ways, horror filmmakers were some of the best at folding queerness into their work.

Here are 24 of the most famously queer and homoerotic horror films.

Ryan Lattanzio and Christian Blauvelt also contributed to this list. 

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