Five queer moments in the history of horror

To mark Halloween, here are five popular tales where queerness and horror meet

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  • ‘The Haunting’

     

    ‘The Haunting’
  • 'The Lost Boys'

     

    'The Lost Boys'
  • ‘The Silence of the Lambs’

    ‘The Silence of the Lambs’

‘The Haunting’

 

With his acclaimed debut novel, 'The Ghost Hunters', riding high in the horror chart, gay author Neil Spring picks five popular films where homosexuality and horror collide.

1. ‘The Haunting’ - 1963

Based on a novel by Shirley Jackson, this classic 1963 British film follows a team of investigators as they spend the night in a haunted house. Theodora, a fashionable clairvoyant, is an explicitly (and refreshingly) feminine lesbian character, played by Claire Bloom.

2. ‘Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad’ - 1968

Mr James, the author of this much-loved ghost story was himself homosexual. And the clues are in the story, which has been adapted for film and television. ‘I expect a friend of mine soon, by the way – a gentleman from Cambridge – to come for a night or two,’ our protagonist remarks. ‘That will be all right, I suppose, won’t it?’

3. ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 2’ - 1985

The repressed bisexuality of the male lead character, Jesse, is the driving theme of the second film in the franchise, which also features a gay leather bar and naked male showering scenes. According to Krueger actor Robert Englund, the film is symbolic of Aids paranoia, with the lead character’s sexual desires and internal struggle manifested in the danger posed by Freddy.

4. ‘The Lost Boys’ - 1987

The modern vampires of ‘True Blood’ and ‘Twilight’ have built a solid gay fan base with their buff bodies and frequent gay references. But nowhere is the homoerotic threat of vampire sexuality more evident than in the ’80s classic, ‘The Lost Boys’. Directed by Joel Schumacher, (the man who gave Batman nipples and a codpiece), the film features Corey Haim wearing a ‘Born to Shop’ T-shirt and singing falsetto in the bath, ‘Ain’t got a man!’.

5. ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ - 1991

The serial killer Buffalo Bill caused outrage in the gay community in 1991, with many criticising the character as negative and homophobic. Not only does the film give us a ‘monster queer’ character, but like Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ and Brian De Palma’s ‘Dressed to Kill’, it treads the well-worn path of using transgender people to terrify audiences.

'The Ghost Hunters' by Neil Spring is published by Quercus

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