4 Extreme Queer Horror Films To Start Off Your Spooky Season

knife + heart queer horror

With every day bringing us close to Halloween time (or we are currently awash in it, depending on your viewpoint) I know that a lot of us are marathoning the genre we love in preparation (or celebration). While there is always a good time to be had with any horror movie, whether it be good, bad, or somewhere in between, I tend to enjoy organizing my watches based on shared concepts, creatures, themes, or whatever strikes the mood on a given day. Bad shark movies were recently on the menu, with the double-feature of Virus Shark and Sharks of the Corn sending the camp value high and the expectations low.

But, those aren’t the films we’ll be looking at today. The column has been around for almost a year now, and I’ve missed a couple of months due to a busy schedule. But I thought it would be nice to share a quadra-feature for the spooky season that centers around queer horror films. Some tend more towards gore and nastiness, while others are lighter with a more celebratory or optimistic air. A good marathon has balance throughout since it allows breaks and breathers for the audience. Pushing too far in one direction tends to wear out the viewer quicker, and these films run the gamut of the horror genre and the queer experience as a whole.

So please enjoy, and I hope that this sparks some marathon ideas for yourself. It’s one of the best parts of the season, after all.

Death Drop Gorgeous

A low-budget horror delight from the trio of Michael J. Ahern, Christopher Dalpe, and Brandon Perras, this film follows the splattery trail of violence that seems to wrap around a drag bar. The performances are campy but contain a surprising amount of depth for each character. Major props go to Michael McAdam for giving a by-turns venomous, hilarious, and sympathetic turn as the aging drag queen, Gloria Hole. The whole cast does a remarkable job, and the film rockets between gore, humor, and pathos in a way that keeps them all balanced for an enjoyable experience.

What the film does a lot better than a lot of other films today is it manages to have the low-budget, seedy vibe that seemed to accompany a lot of the SoV (Shot-on-Video) films that I love. There’s a tone here that stands above the budget of the film and creates an incredible sense of place and atmosphere, which is something that has to be seen to be believed. Imagine if  John Waters remade Hollywood Boulevard using effects from Marcus Koch and you have an idea of the style that you’re getting into. There’s a decaying, gory elegance to a lot of the scenery and set-pieces that hits a vein that I don’t think has been mined nearly enough.

This film leads the horror marathon because of its effective balance of multiple tones. This could also allow it to sit anywhere in the viewing experience. But I feel like it provides a mixture and summation of the styles and types we will see later, without being an instant bummer. Definitely give this movie a watch.

Venus Flytrap

This is a film that I always struggle to describe to people. It follows a group of punks that insert themselves into a preppy party through the threat of violence. We then follow as the night fractures further and further apart through depravity and tension. It can feel like a SoV take on The House on the Edge of the Park, which it shares a similar setup with. However, there seems to be much more going on than initially assumed, and the way the different elements of the film come together is what makes it stand out. This may seem an odd inclusion, but bear with me as we’ll get there.

The film is directed by T. Michael, who I cannot find a whole lot of information on. However, it’s written by Marvin Jones, who is noted for writing the next film on our list as well as a decent amount of gay pornography. The film retains the sickly, scuzzy atmosphere of the previous film but the sets are bare and the budget is even more visible. The acting alternates between effective and weak. But it feels in tune with the changing power and sexual dynamics within the group at the party. This is a movie that I don’t especially want to spoil, so please seek it out if any of this interests you.

But why is it on this list, in particular? Well, the answer is that this film creates an interesting dichotomy between the way the characters talk and the way the camera and, in turn, the characters perceive them. There is a lot of homophobic language throughout, but the camera and the characters leer at the male form in a way that sexualizes it in a surprising manner. The manner of speech could be said to be of the time for the film. But it seems purposeful in the way that these characters’ speech is disconnected from their thoughts and attentions. They are attempting to hide the homoerotic in the homophobic, thinking it negates the thought. However, it casts it in starker relief, as the camera forces our gaze over the male bodies present.

Love Bites

The writer of Venus Flytrap, Marvin Jones, directed this queer vampire horror tale that was written by Kevin M. Glover, who also stars as the vampire (and starred in the previous film, as well). While it is also a SoV film like Venus Flytrap, Love Bites takes an entirely different approach. The film has the vibe of a softcore film that forgot to include the porn, instead tiptoeing around it to present a look at queer life filtered through the eyes of a vampire hunter and his prey. There’s a soft-focus charm to the aesthetic of the film that really lends credence to this tone while also casting a woozy romanticism over every frame.

The film also isn’t afraid to touch on darker topics, with explicit reference to the AIDs epidemic and the story’s inclusion of homophobic violence. The film remains optimistic toward our star-crossed lovers, but it doesn’t shy away from the harsh reality of living in a world that is openly hostile to their existence. This is a tough balance since it could seem maudlin or too dark for such a story, but the actors and crew balance it so effectively that it feels weirdly realistic. It is romantic, but it is also pragmatic about the reality of the situation. It makes for compelling and comfy viewing.

Love Bites and Venus Flytrap serve as the center of this marathon due to containing similar crews, but also we lead from the dark homoerotic nihilism of the former to the sparkling soft-focus romanticism of the latter. A little tonal roller-coaster before we hit our last stop, which brings everything to a fitting climax, both in themes and extravagance.


There are certain films that jump out and demand your attention, and this is one of them. Ever since I first threw this on Shudder one day, I fell in love with the film and have watched it way too many times. It’s a film that I’m loath to analyze due to the emotional power and beauty on display. If you aren’t familiar with the film, go in blind. The film is in turn surprising, effective, funny, and beautiful.

The (spoiler-free) setup for the film is that it follows a gay porn company that begins to have a series of murders occur around it. This is a similar setup to the first film in this list, but the tone and execution mark them as very different experiences. Knife+Heart is awash in neon colors and giallo influence. The killer is a menacing figure who eventually becomes something much more, subverting our expectations while giving the audience more than they anticipated. The twisty plot also serves to meet the notion of a neo-giallo. But, the film differs from its predecessors in a way that makes it stand out: the characters.

What is most striking about the film is how it deals with its characters. They are all afforded dignity and humanity, down to the smallest character that first appears to be a cast-off joke. They find sex, love, and connection while also making mistakes and generally being human. No one seems to be fully free of guilt, but they also aren’t shown to be undeserving of love or compassion. The film emanates this in the final segments, drawing a line where our empathy, horror, and love are all intertwined together in a delicate balance that the film never breaks. It is one of my favorite films of the 2010s, and it pulls everything from the previous films in the marathon together into an emotional outburst of love and sadness.

My best advice for this movie? Go in blind, sit along for the ride and let it take you on the journey. It covers the gamut of emotion while also staying an effective horror movie that contains transcendent emotional catharsis. There’s nothing quite like it, and it makes for the perfect ending to our marathon.


And that wraps up this particular column! I’ll be back to the regular monthly schedule after this, and I’m looking forward to sharing some more films and ideas with all of you. It’s been a crazy year, and one of the busiest of my life. But I did miss this more than I’d care to admit. I hope everyone is having a great year. As always, stay safe and love yourself.



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