Stage Fright Festival
Queer. Horror. Theatre.
Horror has long had a special connection to queer culture. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, many male writers of the Gothic novels popular at the time were homosexuals, and used their stories to express forbidden and even unnamable desires. The monster or antagonist of a horror story can represent being “other” in the status quo world. Many horror storytellers—out or otherwise—have used the genre to express their own queerness, and to illustrate the fear of going against what society thought was permissible. For several decades in the 20th century, the Motion Picture Production Code made portraying gay relationships and themes illegal. Horror filmmakers would often code their stories so that queers could recognize themselves within, but the rest of the audience could choose to ignore the flags. Today, we may more openly tell LGBTQ+ stories, but the horror genre still appeals to people who feel like outsiders, iconoclasts, trailblazers, and boundary pushers.