The movies on this list are each here for a unique reason. Some of the Queer content or themes may be subtle, or perhaps even ascribed to the films by their audience/fandoms, but they’re all here because they add something to the conversation around LGBTQ+ topics.
It is worth noting that some films on this list such as “Sleepaway Camp” have been controversial in the Queer community for their potentially damaging homophobic and transphobic perspectives. Others are clear examples of the common “Queer coding Villains” gag that many would like to see done away with. Although we have made a lot of headway since the release of some of these films as far as respectful, inclusive Queer representation is concerned there is still a lot more work to be done. That being said, some choose to reclaim the movies or their characters as Queer Icons. Others choose to include them as examples for how we can grow into a more inclusive society, and what we can do better. No matter how you slice and dice it, these films wield a lot of power in their own way.
Viewers should use caution when watching the movies on this list,
as many may contain significantly triggering content.
Many of the films on this list include homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexism, abuse, sexual violence, extreme gore, and other difficult topics.
Scream, Queen! (2020)
“Freddy’s Revenge” actor Mark Patton details the events of filming his role as Jesse Walsh, the subsequent homophobia he faced, and other details about his life story. This honest and raw documentary will give you a new perspective on NoES2, for sure.
Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
In the second installment of Freddy Kreuger’s nightmare world, Final Girl Nancy Thompson is replaced by a new character, Jesse Walsh, played by “Scream Queen” Mark Patton. There is a lot of controversy and discussion to be had around this film. We recommend making this a double feature with Patton’s documentary for some extra insight.
Sleepaway Camp (1983)
A classic-yet-controversial entry into coming-of-age and summer-camp horror. Shy orphaned teenager Angela is shipped off to summer camp with her cousin. Amidst the usual terrors of teenage angst and puberty, there’s also serial killer loose at Camp Arawak!
Note: contains child abuse, homophobia, transphobia, and queer coding villains.
Is there anything campier than a Tim Burton movie? We think not! Singing! Dancing! Comedy! Horror! This one is especially flamboyant and spectacular, and has continued to inspire generations of goth kids and drag queens alike!
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
The first on-screen adaptation of Thomas Harris’s book series, and an addition to this list that truly that needs no introduction.
Note: it’s gross, fatphobia, transphobia, etc.
This sexy thriller makes the list as an early installment into the Wachowski Siblings catalogue. Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly sizzle on screen in this neo-noir, crime-caper thriller. Plenty of tension and queer af steamy romance!
Elvira Mistress of the Dark (1998)
The QUEEN of Halloween and all of the spoopy campy glory you could EVER hope for. Elvira is $50k short in funding to run her new Las Vegas showcase. Good news for her: Wealthy Aunt Morgana has just kicked it and left a last will and testament. Wacky hijinks ensue when she returns to the straightlaced community of Falwell Massachusetts to collect her inheritance.
High Tension (2003)
Two friends set out to have a nice weekend together, but a brutal killer has other plans for their little getaway… Very violent, graphic, brutal, grindhouse style thriller-horror with a “twist.”
Note: contains extreme violence.
This is a satirical tongue-in-cheek and teeth-in….well…you know…sort of horror film. Ladies, this one is the perfect movie to watch with all your dudebro buddies. Trust us.
Note: contains a lot of sexual content and sexual abuse.
The Descent (2006)
A claustrophobic, anxiety-inducing tale about a group of kickass gal pals that go spelunking. They drop into uncharted territory only to find their darkest fears and more lie deep below the surface as they fight back against the patriarchy and some seriously sinister baddies! It’s gross, gory, emotional, and totally brutal.
The Babadook (2014)
This psychological horror film delves into the dark parts of the human condition such as grief, death, loss, longing, loneliness, and the ongoing difficulties of parenthood, especially as a single mother. Thanks to an error on Netflix’s part and the viral power of social media, the Babadook monster itself also became an iconic mascot of the LGBTQ+ community.
This art-house horror offering covers themes like feminism, womanhood, body image, societal and peer pressure, and a dash of ….well you’ll see! Justine the very strict vegan begins her first semester at veterinarian school. Just like any college freshman, she begins a journey of self-exploration, and discovers a new side of herself she never thought possible.
This very slow-burn, artistic interpretation of the Lizzie Borden story benefits from two strong performances by its iconic feminist leading ladies, and their steamy sexual tension and torrid romance breaks up the cold monotony of the setting. Though not the strongest or scariest take on the Borden murders, it does have wonderful of atmosphere as well as plenty of blood splatters to satisfy its target audience.
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
This one really needs no introduction, but it’s here because we know you’ve all been waiting to see it included on this list with great antici—
Best viewed in a live theatre with “Shadow Cast”; available to Rent or Own on Amazon.
What do you think? Is there a movie we left off this list that should be included? Let us know your picks in the comments below.