Valentine’s Day has come and gone in a flash, but that does not mean that love is no longer in the air. In media, especially movies and television, romance is such a huge element. It is nearly unthinkable to have a piece of media with absolutely no hints of romance or love within it. Surprisingly enough, horror movies are no exception to this notion.
The last thing that people think of when it comes to horror movies is the concept of romance, but it is a shockingly prevalent component of many films of this genre. Gender and sexuality, to be more specific.
Queer people all throughout history have tended to latch onto the weird, the uncanny or the monstrous. Facing rejection from society, we have no choice but to embrace weirdness or anything strange.
In addition to this, the LGBTQ community has always had to look for subtext within media for the longest time. The lack of representation in movies, television and frankly every other aspect of life caused us to find our own representation; this is something that many others such as POC, the disabled community and any other disenfranchised group can most likely relate to.
Horror is one particular genre where this idea shines. It is all about the grotesque and odd, as well as playing with your expectations of what is normal. One of the most famous horror films of all time, “Scream,” is a perfect example.
Of course, it isn’t blatantly spelled out, but that’s the point. Many people believe that the villains, Billy and Stu, are gay or in some sort of relationship. Heck, there is even a quote from Matthew Lillard (the actor that portrayed Stu in the original 1996 film) that states, “By the way, Billy and Stu fall in love. They adopt many stray dogs from Costa Rica and they rehabilitate small dogs. And then they slaughter people on the weekends.”
It is unclear if that is supposed to be “canon” or not, as it is only a quote from an actor and not from the mouth of Wes Craven himself, but it confirms what many fans believe. Again, it really does not matter whether these facts are true or not.
While having explicit LGBTQ representation is extremely important in the media, the power of critical thinking as well as reading subtext is equally as useful. Sometimes a creator doesn’t want to spell things out, so people must engage themselves and try to find the deeper, hidden meanings within their works.
As mentioned earlier, gender is also something that tons of horror movies play with, monster movies especially. Creatures such as werewolves have often been used as allegories for a multitude of ideas, but puberty and being dealing with confusion surrounding gender have been popular topics.
“Ginger Snaps” is a movie that portrays that idea spectacularly. It tells the tale of two sisters that are turned into werewolves, and how horrific that puberty can feel, especially as a woman. It is not explicitly queer, but it is certainly a cult classic within the community.
Queer romance and the concept of gender in horror is something that has been around for ages. It provides the opportunity for closeness and community for those who feel outcasted or alone. If horror is not your thing, I still recommend these films if you are in need of feeling understood and taking catharsis in the disturbing aspect of life.