It’s almost Halloween you guys (YAY!), a time when we carve pumpkins, goblins and ghouls come out to play, people dress up and everyone’s gay… Well not everyone, but some people are.
And since tradition demands you watch as many horror films as you possibly can in the weeks leading to the spooky holiday, we thought we’d put together a list of the best LGBT+ characters in horror movies for you.
It wasn’t easy.
Despite LGBT+ characters being portrayed increasingly in mainstream TV series (from True Blood, American Horror Story to The Walking Dead… the list goes on), when it comes to movies there are not many horrors with explicitly relevant LGBT+ characters.
In some cases their sexuality is barely hinted at or omitted altogether, like for Lestat in Interview With The Vampire – who is bisexual in the books but not in the movies. But mostly they are either not out or merely bait for the resident serial killer/monster. Really Hollywood? It’s 2017!
But since we love our readers so much we made an extra effort to put this list together.
We hope you enjoy it.
Be warned though, some of the characters bios may contain spoilers.
7. May Dove Canady – May (2002)
Actress: Angela Bettis
“If you can’t find a friend, make one.”
May is a movie that didn’t do too well at the box office but was critically acclaimed and in time became a cult classic for the lovers of the genre.
May is a lonely, socially awkward woman. A doll named Suzie is her only “friend”.
Marked by a difficult childhood because of her lazy eye, we see her desperately trying to connect with the people around her and trying to find comfort in anyone who will show her any affection.
When the short relationship with a mechanic named Adam ends abruptly because he finds May too weird, she begins an affair with her lesbian co-worker Polly.
After May finds Polly in bed with another girl and her doll Suzie is broken after a fall (seriously, the poor girl has no luck!), she reaches the breaking point and things turn very dark when she embarks on her mission make to “her new best friend” out of pieces of people she likes. Eeek!
The haunting, heart-wrenching ending would have probably looked ridiculous in any other kind of film, but it works perfectly for May and it leaves you feeling oddly conflicted.
Although May is certainly disturbed and she evolves into a Frankenstein-like-villain in the end, you can’t help but feel oddly sorry for her and wonder whether things would have played out differently if she had any friends, which is one of the many interesting things about this dark indie flick.
6. Eddie – Hellbent (2004)
Actor: Dylan Fergus
“Hey. I saw you today. At the tattoo shop? We talked about the murders? Do you remember?”
Hellbent was the first horror movie featuring queer characters and made for a queer audience to be given a wide theatrical release in the United States.
The movie follows a group of gay friends as they’re stalked and killed on Halloween night by a hunky killer wearing only a mask and workout tights – because if you’re gonna kill people you might as well look hot while doing it, right?
Police technician Eddie is the lead character and the one who has to ultimately face the devil mask. Eddie is not immediately likeable and he comes across a bit bland, insecure and prudish (he keeps telling his friends not to have sex through the entire movie… talk about a buzzkill!).
The scene where he tries to pick up Jake at a bar is quite possibly one of the most awkward attempts of flirting in any movie ever. Like, seriously. Cringe.
As the movie progresses however Eddie proves to be a loyal, caring friend and has to overcome his insecurities and physical issues involving a glass eye (again! What’s up with LGBT characters in horrors and their eyes?) in order to survive. He even gets the bad-boy biker in the end. Well almost.
5.Miriam Blaylock – The Hunger (1983)
Actress: Catherine Deneuve
“You’ll be back. When the hunger hurts so much it knows no reason! Then you’ll need to feed. And then you need me to to show you how.”
The Hunger tells the story of a love triangle between a doctor who specialises in rapid ageing research and a vampire couple.
John (David Bowie) and Miriam live as a “normal” wealthy couple who teach classical music in an elegant New York townhouse.
When they are not busy partying and living a glamorous life, the longtime bloodthirsty vampire couple spend their time finding victims to feed upon.
When John, who had been turned by Miriam a couple of centuries before, starts ageing inexplicably he seeks the help of Dr. Sarah Roberts (Susan Sarandon) who will soon become the focus of Miriam’s attention.
Miriam Blaylock is an ancient, beautiful vampire who promises selected humans eternal life as her vampire lovers.
As it turns out, however, there is a major catch: the immortality deal doesn’t include eternal youth, so all her lovers, male and female, will eventually start turning real old, real fast.
And once they become too decrepit, instead of putting them out of their misery, she simply boxes them in coffins in her attic. Her former lovers will suffer a fate much worse than death: they will be forced into an eternal living death status, helplessly trapped in their coffins. Pretty grim, huh?
Miriam is the ultimate femme-fatale: beautiful, forever looking for someone to love and to share eternity with, but ultimately extremely selfish and heartless. She can’t bare to be alone so she’d rather pick a companion for a few centuries although she is aware they will end up buried “alive” in a coffin. What a bitch.
But her selfish behaviour eventually will be the cause of her demise as Sarah, who refuses to live the undead life and tries to kill herself, will cause the mummies of Miriam’s ex lovers to revolt and she will eventually pay the ultimate price. Seems only fair.
4. Louise – Wir Sind Die Nacht (We Are The Night) (2010)
Actress: Nina Hoss
“If you knew deep within your soul that there was only one person in the world meant just for you, the only person who could make you happy, what would you give up? Wouldn’t you grab onto them with both arms… and never… never let them go?”
Despite not being very well known, this critically acclaimed low-budget German vampire movie is definitely worth checking out.
Wir Sind Die Nacht follows the story of an all-female vampire trio from Berlin, Louise, Charlotte and Nora, taking in a fourth member.
When small-time criminal Lena gets bitten by the leader of the trio, Louise, she gets pulled in into the vampire world.
While Lena is terrified of what is happening at first and tries to resist her mutation, she is soon introduced to all the positive aspects of her new status: supernatural powers, endless parties and every luxury she can dream of. As Nora candidly puts it: “We eat, drink, snort cocaine and fuck as much as we want, and we don’t get fat, pregnant, or addicted.” Not bad, eh?
Everything is fun for a while (parties, fast cars, sex and blood type of fun) until a cop who is investigating on a series of murders recognises Lena. Lena also happens to fancy him, which doesn’t go down very well with Louise when she notices. Awkward.
Louise is the 300-year old leader of the vampire trio. She is beautiful, seductive, used to getting what she wants and doesn’t really feel too bad about killing innocent people (usually men). But underneath this strong, cold surface, she is ultimately desperately lonely.
She has been looking for centuries for the love of her (after)life since her vampire lover and maker was killed.
In her attempt at finding a companion and banishing her loneliness she turns the other two members of the group, but she eventually gets tired of them. Charlotte is too depressed (her backstory is amazing) and Nora is too frivolous. When she meets Lena she is convinced she is the one she has been searching for.
But when Lena doesn’t seem to reciprocate her feelings and starts having second thoughts about being a vampire (why though? It was pretty amazing up to that point!), she refuses to “let her go”.
The movie also manages to touch on themes of love, depression, immortality and the idea of an all-female society (all vampires are female since the male ones “got too greedy” and they decided to kill them all) which gives this fast-paced modern vampire tale a bit of depth, making it more interesting compared to your average horror and definitely one not to miss.
3. Mitch Downe – Paranorman (2012)
Voiceover: Casey Affleck
“You’re gonna love my boyfriend. He’s like a total chick-flick nut!”
Norman is a misunderstood boy with a special gift: he can see and talk to ghosts. When a centuries-old curse is unleashed on his sleepy town he will have to step up and side with a bunch of kids to save the day.
Amongst his unlikely – and mostly reluctant – allies we find Mitch, the local gym-freak jock.
But little do we know, it turns out that the hunky Mitch is gay and has a boyfriend.
Mitch is the first openly gay character in a mainstream animated movie.
What makes his character so interesting (aside from the previous point which is, you know, kinda of a huge deal) is the way the creators dealt with him being gay.
First off, he is your traditional dumb “straight-looking” jock. But unlike many other movies that have similar “you would have never guessed he’s gay” characters, where there is a big moment “reveal” and the closeted gay jock comes out (and usually gets killed right after, if it’s a horror), Mitch never comes out.
He was out all along but it’s only when he tells Paranorman’s big sis, who has a major crush on him, “You’re gonna love my boyfriend.” the audience find out he’s gay.
This is in keeping with one of the main themes in the movie which is playing with preconceptions: you think zombies are the baddies, you think “the witch” is evil, you think the dumb average jock is straight.
Mitch’s character also fits perfectly in a story which is mainly about intolerance and how people can act around someone who is different. If you haven’t watched this gem yet, do it. You won’t regret it.
2. Marie – Haute Tension (High Tension) (2003)
Actress: Cécile De France
“I won’t let anyone come between us anymore.”
Best friends Marie and Alexia decide to spend a weekend at Alexia’s parents’ farmhouse in the countryside.
But what was meant to be a quiet getaway, turns into an endless nightmare, when a truck-driver breaks into the house, kills Alex’s family and kidnaps the two friends.
From that moment on, it becomes a game of cat-and-mouse with the two friends trying to escape the killer.
There is almost no let-up in this insanely fast-paced, extremely gory and unpredictable horror that will keep you glued to the edge of your seat the entire time.
The girls go through Hell and back trying to escape the relentless (and resourceful) killer, until the shocking twist at the end ***MASSIVE SPOILER*** when we realise the truck-driver is actually the product of Marie’s sick mind. She has been killing everyone and imagined the whole thing because she is obsessed with Alex who was actually trying to escape from her this whole time.
Throughout the whole movie, we see Marie morphing from the shy, slightly awkward girl with a crush on her best friend, to a survivor fighting for her and her friend’s life, to the ultimate psychopath.
Marie suffers from multiple personality disorder, and this, mixed with her closeted sexuality and her obsession with Alex contributes in developing her alter ego called “The Killer”.
Although Alex is unaware of Marie’s feeling, it’s not exactly a mystery to the viewer, especially when she masturbates directly after “catching” her friend having a shower.
But nobody could anticipate the big reveal in the end.
1. Frank-N-Furter – Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Actor: Tim Curry
“Don’t dream it, be it.”
Ok, technically this is not a horror in the classic sense.
But it has blood, an axe murder performed in stilettos and possibly one of the most iconic and outrageous queer characters in movie history.
When newly-engaged couple Brad and Janet’s car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, they find shelter in the bizarre residence of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. What seems to be a good idea, however, turns into something completely unexpected when they find themselves caught in the middle of an alien plot, murder and much more they bargained for.
Dr. Frank-N-Furter from transexual Transylvania is without any doubts the absolute star of the movie.
He is selfish, spoiled, petty, ruthless, shameless, a wickedly charming sexual deviant hedonist who lives only to search for pleasure.
He constantly needs to be the centre of attention, whether he is making a real diva entrance or murdering someone in a rage attack while people watch in horror.
He has no qualms seducing both Janet and Brad for his own amusement, creating a “perfect man” purely to serve his personal pleasure or kill someone because they simply annoyed him.
Despite all this we can’t help but fall for his devilish charm and feel for him when his loyal servants betray him and eventually kill him.
Surprisingly however, his life motto “don’t dream it, be it” turns out to be a pretty good advice that has resonated with the film’s cult following over the years and one that most people should apply to their own lives.
Every male character in A Nightmare On Elm Street 2 (1985)
Although technically it has no openly gay characters, the whole movie is packed with bizarre homoerotic references.
From the suggestive tagline (“The Man of Your Dreams is Back”) to the infamous shower scene where the naked gym teacher is killed after being brutally spanked with a towel (seriously).
Ray Wilkins – Scary Movie (2000)
Not a real horror but a parody of the whole genre.
Ray is the stereotypical closeted gay/bisexual jock. Despite being in a relationship with Brenda Meeks (hey baby girl!) he finds it very hard to play it straight.
Whether he is tying up his shirt to make it look like a crop-top, making Brenda dress up like a footballer during sex, spanking his football team mates as they come out of the shower: his sexuality always comes out (pun intended) one way or another.
The Babadook – The Babadook (2014)
We couldn’t close our list without including the Babadook.
Since Netflix accidentally listed the movie in the LGBTQ section, the internet has claimed the Babadook as an LGBT icon. The latest update we have on the Babadook is his alleged relationship with Pennywise. They make quite the horror power-couple.
And this concludes our horror movie characters list.
Which one was your favourite character? Did we miss any?
Let us know in the comments.
© 2017 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBT+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBT+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBT+ media.