Scream Queens

Sometimes real life is scarier than the movies for gays and lesbians, so it’s no surprise that many find solace and escape in horror films & thrillers. Classics like A Nightmare on Elm Street or Carrie resonate with the coming of age angst that many gay folks feel when coming out of the closet, feeling set apart. These movies often reveal dark humor that helps people learn to laugh at the world, even when it isn’t so pretty.

Often times, society finds it a lot easier to deal with lesbian characters in mainstream media, but now that times are changing, hopefully it will open up the doors for more fullyrealized gay characters in the film genre. Even so, there are many examples throughout cinematic history of gay characters or subtext.

This list of movies will feature some old and some new. Most have gay characters, gay themes, or are just plain gay-friendly. This Halloween, go to Amazon, eBay or iTunes to collect these scary films. Here they are in no particular order… Give them a try, if you haven’t already.

10. CRUISING (1980)

Al Pacino stars as a police detective who goes undercover as a gay man to catch an S&M serial killer in NYC.


Lauren Ambrose, of Six Feet Under fame, stars in this spoof of 1960’s beach party movies with a killer twist.


Leapin’ lesbians! This sequel may have not faired well in the box office, but it features a stunningly beautiful lesbian character (played by Eva Mendes). Spoiler alert: people are killed off in the manner of urban legends, much like the first movie, but this time it takes place at a film school. Starring Jennifer Morrison of Once Upon a Time and House.


This psychological thriller may not have any gay characters, but two icons like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford stuck together in a big house, with one wheelchair-bound, can only spell G-A-Y.


Eliza Dushku and company are in a car accident that kills one of their friends. They are then haunted by his ghost, but it relents long enough for Eliza and a female costar to get hot and heavy.

5. THE HUNGER (1983)

Photo Credit: MGM

Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon star in this cult classic about a very old lesbian vampire who keeps searching for love, as she constantly is outliving the ones she keeps in her basement.

4. HELLBENT (2004)

West Hollywood has never been scarier then when there’s a serial killer loose on Halloween night. This is probably the best example of the blossoming “gayhorror” genre, to date


When three gay friends wander into redneck country, the culture clash ends with deadly results. It’s a bit heavyhanded, but overt nudity is always a fan favorite with horror films, and this film has some to spare.

2. THE DEEP END (2001)

Two words: TILDA SWINTON. Our favorite androgo-lady stars in this thriller about a mother who spirals out of control while trying to keep her gay son from being implicated in a murder.

1. ROPE (1948)

James Stewart stars in this Alfred Hitchcock film about two men who murder a classmate and invite his friends and family to dinner to challenge the perfection of their crime. The gay subtext is very hidden, due the controversy of the time period, but it’s there.

You may have gotten your fill of gay characters, but here are some campy Halloween classics that no self-respecting gay should be caught dead without in his/her collection.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show
“Let’s do the Time Warp again…”

Hocus Pocus

Death Becomes Her
“You’re a walking lie, and I can see – right – through you!”

“Let’s turn on the juice and see what shakes loose.”

“I hated her, so much… it- it- the flame– flames. Flames. Flames, on the side of my face, breathing- breath- heaving breaths.”

The Witches of Eastwick
“Well, if that’s how you feel about it, then that’s how you feel about it. Is that how you feel about it?”

Scary Movie
“Does this shirt make me look gay?”

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark
“Oh well, there’s nothing wrong with G-rated movies, as long as there’s lots of sex and violence.”

The Stepford Wives

Ernest Scared Stupid
“How about a bumper sandwich, booger-lips?!”

QBurgh is your source for LGBTQ news and community resources in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Want to write for us?