Shudder has ordered a new documentary that will explore the history of queer horror cinema.
Earlier this year, the subscription streaming service premiered Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror, to widespread acclaim. The documentary shed new light on how African American characters and creators were used – and misused- across a century of genre cinema. Now, Shudder is reteaming Horror Noire executive producers Phil Nobile Jr. (Fangoria’s Editor-in-Chief) and Kelly Ryan of Stage 3 Productions for its new film. Writer/director Sam Wineman (whose award-winning short, The Quiet Room, is coming to Shudder this summer) is also on board, along with consulting producer Michael Varrrati (Dead for Filth) to explore the complex story of queer horror on film.
The new documentary explores the works of pioneering queer creators such as James Whale and Clive Barker and examines the coded, sometimes problematic, depiction of LGBTQ+ characters in films such as Sleepaway Camp, High Tension and Jennifer’s Body. It will chart the course of queer subjects and creators in the horror genre from the silent era through the present day.
“Growing up I loved watching Andy, a kid like me, outsmart a killer doll in Child’s Play,” says Wineman. “When I was older, I found strength in fierce and feminist final girls like Sidney Prescott in Scream. I was seeing so many parts of myself in these stories, but it wasn’t until I taught a slasher film course that I realized these and so many of the films I connected to were written by members of my own community.
“While watching Horror Noire, I identified deeply with the discussion of loving a genre and having that love be unrequited. Horror has spent a great deal of time telling our stories undercover, both intentionally and unintentionally. To fully understand the depth of how and why, you have to unpack the social context of what it is to be queer at the moment in history that coincides with the films themselves. That story is one that is long overdue, and I am honored to have the chance to share it.”
Phil Nobile Jr. adds: “When Ashlee Blackwell and I were pitching Horror Noire, we felt a strange sense of urgency – like the story was on the tip of everyone’s tongue and had to be told right then. We’d wake up every day and wonder why someone else wasn’t already doing it. I have that same feeling again with this documentary. This year feels like that moment for queer horror. Something’s in the air right now, and I deeply believe that Sam Wineman is the right voice to tell this story, and Shudder – who understood the importance of Horror Noire and continue to be fantastic allies – is the perfect platform for this story to be told.”