8 contemporary queer horror movies to watch during Pride Month

The film, \"Let the Right One In,\" is based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

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The film, \"Let the Right One In,\" is based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Xxx Let Right One In Mov 1142 Jpg A Ent / Magnolia Pictures, USA TODAY via Imagn

Horror has a long relationship with queer identity, going back to 19th Century Gothic literature and some of the early Universal Monster films, especially Bride of Frankenstein and Dracula's Daughter. While it's true that the genre has also fallen into negative depictions of queer people, such as Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs, and even the horrid "bury your gays" trope, the genre has included more and more positive depictions of LGBTQ characters in the 21st Century. In honor of Pride Month, here's some of our favorite contemporary queer horror movies.

Freaky (2020)

Directed by Christopher Landon, of Happy Death Day fame, Freaky is a heck of a lot of fun, a slasher that's an entertaining ride and bloody romp. It takes the general Freaky Friday premise but swaps gender identities. Vince Vaughn plays a serial killer called The Butcher, while Kathryn Newton stars as Millie. When their identities are exchanged, Newton becomes the killer, and Vaughn a high school girl with plenty of laugh out loud moments. Don't be fooled, though. This movie still contains plenty of gnarly kills. It also features a strong gay character, Josh (Misha Osherovich), Millie's best friend, who certainly subverts the "bury your gays" trope.

Freaky is currently streaming on Peacock.

Jennifer's Body (2009)

It took a long time for Jennifer's Body to obtain its cult status. Upon its release, the movie bombed. Part of this had to do with the marketing and the focus on Megan Fox as a sex icon. I also suspect Diablo Cody's script and Karyn Kusama's direction were ahead of their time. Maybe this film would have done much better released ten years later, after #MeToo. Fox plays Jennifer, a popular girl at high school who's sexually assaulted by a hipster band who needs a sacrifice in the name of Satan. After that unnerving sequence, Jennifer transforms into a succubus and eats men. This causes her friendship with Needy (Amanda Seyfried) to strain even more.

Jennifer's Body isn't without its complications. The relationship between Needy and Jennifer is toxic and not the best depiction of bisexuality and sapphic desire. That said, this film totally reverses the male gaze and empowers Jennifer after a brutal sexual assault sequence. Years later, the film finally found its audience.

Jennifer's Body is available to rent on most major streaming platforms.

Femme (2023)

Femme - Courtesy Brigade Marketing /

Femme is one of my favorite films of the last year. It's an erotic queer thriller starring Nathan Stewart-Jarrett as Jules, a drag artist who's happiest when on stage, performing. Within the first 15 minutes, Jules is assaulted by Preston (George MacKay), a petty criminal uber offended by a dude in a dress. For much of the runtime, Jules plots how best to enact revenge upon his assailant, including outing him by uploading videos online. This becomes more complicated after Jules and Preston hook up and their feelings for each other grow well, messy, especially because Preston's desires are closeted.

This film is tense, gripping, and highly erotic. It's also incredibly painful to watch Preston refuse to accept who he really is. I'll continue to sing this film's praises. Viewer beware, though. Some of the scenes are a tough watch, especially the early assault against Jules.

Femme is available to rent on Prime Video, Apple TV, and Fandango at home.

Knife+Heart (2018)

Knife+Heart is one of the most stylish horror films of the last few years. It's a neo-Giallo set in Paris in 1979. A masked serial killer, who wears the trademark black gloves, picks off nearly everyone involved with a third-rate gay porn production. Some of the kills are shocking. One even features a knife hidden within a dildo. Yes, you read that correctly.

The film also centers around a queer relationship between Anne (Vanessa Paradis) and Lois (Kate Moran), who both work in the gay porn industry. Their relationship is complicated, sometimes very ugly, and even a little endearing. The killer also has quite a sympathetic backstory.

Knife+Heart is currently streaming on Shudder, Tubi, and Prime Video.

Let the Right One In (2008)

Let the Right One In just may be my favorite vampire movie. It's simply a beautiful story about two outcasts, the bullied Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) and the 12-year-old, gender-fluid vampire Eli (Lina Leandersson). From the moment the two meet on a snowy playground, they seem destined to become friends or even something more.

Eventually, Eli teaches Oskar to fight back against the classmates who relentlessly torment and pummel him. Eli also rescues him from a near-death experience at the hands of his bullies. It's a potent and powerful sequence. Yes, I'm referring to that pool scene. Unlike the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, when Eli confesses to Oskar that she doesn't identity as female, Oskar accepts the fact. It's a great and important change from the text.

Let the Right One In is streaming for free on Fubo, Kanopy, and Plex. It's available to rent on other streaming platforms.

The Fear Street Trilogy (2021)

FEAR STREET PART 2: 1978 - Cr: Netflix © 2021 /

Netflix's Fear Street trilogy is a goldmine for horror fans, with nods to several different subgenres, including slashers and folk horror. It's also centered around a queer relationship, especially in Part 1, between Deena (Kiana Madeira) and Sam (Olivia Scott Welch). They have a rift in their relationship. Sam is closeted and moves to the pristine and very white Sunnyvale with her mom. The town is adjacent to Shadyside, where Deena still resides.

Fear Street Pt. 1 takes place in 1994, while Pt. 2 takes place in the 70s and is a fine homage to classic slashers. The final chapter, set in the 17th Century, is a nod to folk horror and witches, another staple of queer horror, female power, and Otherness. The Fear Street trilogy is an absolute blast with some awesome needle drops and a complex and nuanced queer relationship at its core.

The Fear Street trilogy is available on Netflix.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge has a long, ugly history. To learn the full extent of it, I recommend watching Scream, Queen: My Nightmare on Elm Street. In that documentary, Mark Patton, who plays Jesse, details how the film and its not-so-subtle queer overtones killed his career. Mind you, Patton was closeted at the time. Since then, Patton has embraced his role as the Final Boy, appearing at conventions and talking more and more about the role and the film's legacy as the gayest horror movie ever made.

The film is much more of a possession film and a stark contrast to Wes Craven's original masterpiece. Here, Freddy and Robert Englund's terrifying performance serve as a metaphor for Jesse's likely homosexuality that he tries to bury. This is probably clearest when he spends the night at his friend Ron's (Robert Rusler) house. The homoerotic tension is obvious, and suddenly, Freddy takes over Jesse's body, killing Ron. It's one heck of a transformation scene. Overall, this film is certainly imperfect and somewhat problematic. There's an argument to be made that Jesse ultimately represses his true identity to surrender to a heteronormativity, especially considering the role of his girlfriend Lisa (Kim Myers). Still, this film has been reevaluated through a queer lens and Patton is a big reason why.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge is available to rent on most major streaming platforms.

I Saw the TV Glow (2024)

I Saw the TV Glow 2
I Saw the TV Glow - Courtesy A24 /

I know that I didn't understand every single metaphor and allegory in non-binary writer/director Jane Schoenbrun's moving and visually haunting I Saw the TV Glow. That's totally okay. This movie is certainly about trans identity, but i suspect it'll resonate with anyone who feels different. The visuals are a sight to behold, and while there's still time, I encourage folks to see this one on a big screen before it leaves theaters.

The film stars Justice Smith as Owen and Brigette Lundy-Paine as Maddy, whose angsty characters bond over a late-night supernatural TV show. The show itself represents escapism and friendship. I'm sure there's a lot more to unpack here, but I'm still thinking about this film and will be for the weeks to come. I Saw the TV Glow will likely be one of my favorite films of the year. Schoenbrun's vision is bold, arresting, and totally engrossing.

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