Tonight, while watching The Axe Murders of Villisca (2016), I realized that this was the first time I could recall a main character in a horror movie being openly gay.
Diversity in horror films is often a joke. Minority characters are often considered expendable and not given any character development, even if they aren’t actually the first to die. Handicaps only exist as a way to make a common trope different, like the blind character in Wait Until Dark (1967) and the deaf character in Hush (2016) putting a spin in the home invasion plot.
It makes sense that horror movies would also suffer from lack of LGBTQ diversity.
Or does it?
Now, there are tons of lesbians in horror movies, because nothing sells a horror movie better than female sexuality. Even then, it’s rare to find a lesbian protagonist.
But a gay man? One who actually kisses someone? One who isn’t the villain?
It’s pretty bad when I can think of three major horror movies with villainous trans/gender dysphoric characters (Psycho, Sleepaway Camp and Silence of the Lambs; obviously more if you consider the Sleepaway Camp sequels. Oh, and Let the Right One In. This is crazy.) and none that are explicitly homosexual males.
Not to say that there aren’t horror movies that aren’t explicitly gay. According to Vulture’s list of 55 Essential Queer Horror Films, there are plenty of horror movies with gay subtext. For example, the vampires in Interview with the Vampire are never explicitly shown to be lovers, but the way Lestat turns Louis because he’s beautiful, the way the vampire bite resembles kissing, and the nuclear family of Lestat and Louis and Claudia looks gay to pretty much everyone. And there was that guy-on-guy kiss during the witch fight in The Covenant.
I suppose I should be thrilled that there is one horror movie with a gay protagonist out there, given that gay protagonists in other movie genres are still quite rare. But come on. We can do better!