In honour of Halloween coming up this week, I wanted to talk about why queer folks love the horror genre.
Now, this definitely isn’t universal, but speaking as a queer person who loves horror and knows many, many other queer people in my circle who also love it, why is this the case?
Having done some research to see if others have noticed this phenomenon, I found several, really interesting posts on the subject. I mean, there’s also even a whole Wikipedia article about queer themes in horror! While these articles primarily focus on queer themes, subtext, and coding in horror, as well as horror created by queer people, I’m more interested in the villainous aspect of horror stories, and the fear itself. (I mean, really don’t get my started on queer coding and subtext in horror characters because I chose a still from the It: Chapter Two film for a reason, and could probably write a whole dissertation on queerness in Stephen King’s It and Carrie alone, but that’s for another day).
In the Western patriarchy, LGBTQ+ folks – especially those of colour – have faced, and still are facing, violent discrimination. Most queer people still live their lives in fear, even if they’re living in an accepting environment. Being able to shift our attention from the horrors in our real lives to ones in a piece of fiction creates a space to breathe for a moment and not have to be on high alert for simply existing. Plus, it’s much more fun being afraid of a fictional monster than the ones who make themselves known in real life.
It’s also easier to sympathize with the character who is being ostracized, who may have a tragic backstory, who is alone because of who they are because, well, almost every queer person has been there before. And honestly, to be a bit cheeky about it, the villains in these stories are often just cooler to look at! They usually get the cooler outfits, the sicker powers, and the centre of the story. Who wouldn’t want that?!
And of course, just like in the articles I mentioned at the beginning, queer coding and subtext, along with supporting queer creators, makes these stories so much more appealing and relatable to consume.
Needless to say, I’ll be spending my Halloween night watching my favourite horror movies, and keeping up my tradition of watching the classic Rocky Horror Picture Show.