Whatever mood you’re in, we’ve got you covered with five diverse, queer-friendly genre films guaranteed to ignite your date night.
It’s been a while since I’ve shared with you new recommendations for my ongoing Date Night column, where I help you plan the perfect stay-at-home cuddlefest with your significant other or for a unique first date. And honestly, these movies are great for you single folks as well. But I firmly believe that great horror is even better when shared, and I believe watching horror together can bring two people closer.
And if you are in the early stages of dating, you’ll want to weed out those non-horror lovers early so you can move on to a more compatible match!
The last Date Night article I wrote centered around LGBTQ+ horror. But, of course, I only scratched the surface with that article. And with our friends across the pond preparing to celebrate LGBT+ History Month in February (the U.K.’s annual month-long observation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history), this seemed like a great time to go back to a deep well of exceptional genre content.
So, without further adieu, below are five more fabulously queer-friendly horror films to slay your next date night.
And if you need someone special to share it with, there are a ton of great queer and bisexual dating sites where you can hopefully find your horror-loving soulmate. The software will help you track down prospective bi-partners who also love horror. And with the help of secure communication channels, you could exchange flirty messages and hopefully find your horror-loving soulmate.
1. Bride of Chucky (1998)
As M3gan proved, you don’t have to have overtly queer themes — or even deep and meaningful subtext about acceptance — to be proudly embraced as part of queer culture. In fact, queer people, like the rest of the horror community, don’t always sit down to watch a film that’s going to elevate the conversation in some way (not that there’s anything wrong with that) or resonate on a profound level. Sometimes, we just want to be entertained. We want to laugh, we want to scream, and we want to have an unapologetically good time. The titular M3gan is a fierce, campy queen who makes being bad look so damn good.
At the time of this writing, M3gan is still making bank at the box office, so you’ll have to head to the theater to enjoy this wildly fun romp. Thus, if you’re planning a night in but want that same ‘slay queen’ energy, may I humbly suggest another iconic killer doll? No, not Chucky. That pint-size psychopath is indeed a legend. But it wasn’t until Chucky took a Bride that the Child’s Play franchise fully embraced its glorious camp appeal.
Chuck’s lady killer, Tiffany Valentine, was first introduced in 1998’s Bride of Chucky — a title that pays homage to one of the most influential Pre-Code, queer-coded horror films of all time, Bride of Frankenstein (by queer filmmaker James Whale). Tiff is a killer queen who is tough-as-nails but fully embraces her femininity and softer side. To enhance her appeal, she’s voiced by the gay-adored icon Jennifer Tilly (star of the 1996 landmark movie in LGBT cinema, Bound).
From this point forward, the Chucky franchise would get considerably more queer, thanks to gay creator Don Mancini who gave us the gender-fluid offspring of Chucky and Tiffany in 2004’s Seed of Chucky.
But it was Tiffany who helped usher in the new age of Chucky and breathed new life into a franchise that is still going strong and creating buzz more than thirty years later.
2. RRR (2022)
Continuing this theme, I’m about to recommend a movie that is neither overtly queer nor a horror film. Stick with me, though. There’s a good reason for the epic adventure-drama film out of India, RRR, to make my must-watch queer horror list.
So, let’s get this out of the way first. As I mentioned, it’s not a horror film. But it is a sprawling, spectacular film that captivates you with visual effects, stunts, over-the-top violence, and lots of blood. Even at over three hours (yeah, I know) and subtitled, there’s not a moment of this film that won’t delight your senses and keep you on the edge of your seat. I doubt you’ll be checking your watch at any point during this wild ride.
Now that we’re over the first hurdle, this is also not (exactly) a queer love story. But that didn’t stop Western audiences from touting the film’s gay romance on social media and commenting on its homoerotic undertones. At a minimum, it involves a very serious ‘bromance’ between the two lead actors, who essentially spend every waking minute together, much of it topless.
Loosely inspired by the stories of real-life freedom fighters Komaram Bheem and Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram) and starring two of India’s biggest stars, Director S.S. Rajamouli mixes history with considerable fantasy elements to tell the story of the duo’s rebellion against the British Raj in India.
It’s important to note that India is plagued with rampant homophobia and a lack of legal protection for the LGBTQ+ community. So, even a film such as this which portrays a close male friendship (while still being very much heteronormative), received criticism and backlash. Whether or not the gay undertones were intentional or just something the queer community latched on to as a result of India’s woeful lack of gay representation in media is unclear.
But genre films in the U.S. have a long history of telling queer stories without being explicitly queer (during a time when being explicit wasn’t an option), and a film can absolutely be claimed by the gay community regardless of a filmmaker’s intentions.
3. Titane (2021)
The provocative Titane is the celebrated but controversial film from Julia Ducournau (Raw) that made a significant splash on the festival circuit and generated a great deal of buzz — winning the coveted Palme d’Or at Cannes.
Alexia (played by newcomer Agathe Rousselle in a breathtaking breakout performance) is a dancer who grinds on cars for the male gaze. She represents the idealized feminine, an object of desire. One night after a show, an admirer follows her to her car and attempts to get uncomfortably close to her. She kills him in self-defense, triggering an intoxicating lust for violence and a new twist on auto(mobile) erotica. She soon meets a fellow dancer, and the two become intimate.
But this isn’t quite the lesbian love story and revenge thriller we expect. Alexia is soon revealed to be a serial killer whose bloodlust extends beyond that vigilante shit. After setting her parents’ house on fire, with them locked inside, she becomes a fugitive. On the run, she alters her appearance to look like a boy named Adrien, who has been missing for ten years. Adrien’s father, Vincent, a fire captain, accepts Alexia as his missing son and refuses a DNA test.
This is not a trans film, but it is a film that explores concepts of gender / sexual identity and fluidity. It uses body horror to reflect the trans experience. It’s a film that aims to tear down binaries: male and female, straight and gay, trans and cis, authenticity and illusion, flesh and metal.
As a thriller, it is unflinchingly ferocious, but the beauty of this film — exploring a fantastical convergence of human flesh with metal hardware — is that it also has its fair share of tender moments. The struggle between the main protagonist and a father searching for his son is unexpectedly beautiful.
Deeply allegorical, it makes you think about and question your ideas about masculinity, femininity, body image, families, violence, motherhood and fatherhood, queerness, relationships, and the very nature of life itself.
4. Freaky (2020)
Many films have used the trope of a misunderstood outsider who gets bullied at high school as a pivotal plot point and basis for horror — most notably, we immediately think of the iconic Stephen King adaptation, Carrie.
Freaky is a modern-day slasher film with an entertaining LGBT twist.
Inspired by iconic body-swapping films like the seminal 2003 classic Freaky Friday (starring Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis), Freaky delivers an unexpected storyline involving gender bending and body-swapping between a tortured high school girl named Millie (Kathryn Newton) and a serial killer dubbed the Butcher (Vince Vaughn). With the help of her two friends Nyla (Celeste O’Connor) and Josh (a gay character played by Misha Osherovich), Millie has to reverse the curse, get back into her body, and save the town from the Butcher’s carnage.
An intentionally hilarious romp, Freaky never takes itself too seriously. It balances the unnerving action with a healthy dose of cinematic fun. At the same time, it’s not afraid to confront some of the more conventional stereotypes where gender is involved in teen movies.
Plus, Vince Vaughan’s performance as a teenage girl is so spot-on and entertaining as hell to watch.
Subverting the slasher subgenre while reinvigorating it, Freaky features progressive humor and killer performances while being wonderfully inclusive and surprisingly heartfelt.
5. Climax (2018)
Written and directed by provocative Argentine filmmaker Gaspar Noé (Irreversible), Climax is a visually arresting, immersively psychedelic experience. Though billed as a psychological horror film, it is far from conventional genre fare, which is also why it is particularly satisfying. At times hypnotic and seductive but horrifying and repellent, this is one movie guaranteed to keep you hooked for its entirety.
The film features an ensemble cast of twenty-four actors led by the incredible Sofia Boutella. Set in 1996, it follows a French dancing troupe — a mix of straight, gay, and lesbian dancers — holding a days-long rehearsal in an abandoned school. During the final night of rehearsing at the celebratory after-party, some unknown assailant spikes the group’s sangria bowl with LSD. What follows is a hallucinogenic nightmare, a descent into madness that takes a tragic turn into debauchery and extreme violence.
Even more surprising, it’s all based on an actual event.
Noé is a filmmaker known for his unique and distinctive visual style. And for fans of the enfant terrible, Climax does not disappoint. It features unusual editing and cinematography choices, upside-down perspective shots, displaced credit sequences, and several swoon-worthy long takes — including one lasting over 42 minutes. It also features some of the most spectacular dance sequences ever caught on film, representing both ecstasy and hysteria.
The film was conceived and pre-produced in only four weeks. It was shot in chronological order in only 15 days. Much of it was unrehearsed and involved on-the-spot improvisation by the cast of professional dancers, most of whom had no previous acting experience. The actors were not given any lines of dialogue beforehand and were given extensive liberty with where to take the story and characters.
Although it’s not a traditional horror film, it does feature many horrific scenes and is not for the faint of heart.
A captivating and unsettling vision of hell, it’s an intoxicating sensory experience about animalistic instinct and the collapse of society.