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 on his favorite horror films. 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.
The lesbian vampire, first introduced in the 19th century Gothic novella “Carmilla,” led to an explosion of lesbian vampire movies in the 1970s. While some earlier films do include overt queer themes, everything went underground beginning with the Hays code, and continuing even long after. For so long, queer themes had to linger just beneath the surface, often hiding in plain sight. Being daring in other ways, horror filmmakers were some of the best at folding queer themes into their work.
To create the most exhaustive list, IndieWire consulted horror screenwriter Michael Varrati, who is working in a documentary about queer horror for Shudder, as well IFC publicist Kate McEdwards, host of the hilarious feminist horror podcast “Ladies Horror Night.”
Here are 15 of the most famously homoerotic horror films.