Category Archives: Movie Review

I “Dare” You to Watch This

In the early 2000s when I first came out, I read every gay book and watched every gay movie I could get my hands on. I think I watched every gay movie that Netflix (back when they sent you a DVD instead of streaming) had in its library. I will admit, most of the movies were independent movies and were decidedly bad. The production value was low, and the acting wasn’t great, or even good in some cases. The books I read fared better than the movies, but there were a few duds there too. However, gay literature has always been a step above the gay movie genre.

I did have a few favorite movies. For comedy, my favorite is probably the 2003 movie Mambo Italiano, a movie about the son of Italian immigrants to Canada who struggles to find the best way to reveal to his parents that he’s gay. While this is probably going to get me some comments from my Canadian readers, one of the lines that always makes me laugh comes from Paul Sorvino’s character, Gino Barberini, the family patriarch. At one point, he describes how his family came to live in Montreal, “Nobody told us there was two Americas: the real one, United States, and the fake one, Canada. Then, to make matters even worse, there’s two Canadas: the real one, Ontario, and the fake one, Quebec.” It’s a cute movie, but not great cinema. Few of these movies were.

In drama, my hands down favorite is Latter Days, a 2003 movie about a gay relationship between a closeted Mormon missionary and his openly gay neighbor. While many might point to Brokeback Mountain as a pivotal moment in gay cinema, I will always believe that Latter Days was a much better movie. While not great cinema in any regard, my other favorite is the 1997 movie Defying Gravity. In the movie, two fraternity brothers have a secret affair. One wants to maintain just a superficial relationship with his all-gay boyfriend, but his feelings begin to change when his boyfriend gets seriously wounded in a gay bashing. It is a heart wrenching movie, but there is one scene where one of the characters says, “Oh, man.” That little line gets me every time.

Because gay movies have never gotten the budget of more mainstream movies, there were also a lot of gay short films made. In 2005, I came across a short film that was getting a lot of attention in gay media called Dare. In the 16-minute-long movie, a high school senior, Ben, secretly lusts after bad boy classmate Johnny. After Ben gives Johnny a ride home one night, the boys end up in Johnny’s swimming pool and have an encounter that is filled with a lustful teen crush and forbidden gay love in high school. Dare played at over 50 film fests and was released as the lead film on gay short DVD compilations and eventually became a Sundance feature. I either watched it on my computer screen or I got one of those DVD compilations from Netflix. The short film has always kept a special place in my heart. You can watch it here:

Saturday night as I was winding down and getting ready for bed, I was watching some TikToks, which is how I often wind down at the end of the day. I came across a clip from this short film, and I looked it up intending to watch it again. What came as a surprise is that writer and producer David Brind and director Adam Salky have done something unprecedented. They’ve brought back the very same cast and creative team from the original short film 15 years later for The Dare Project, a continuation of Ben and Johnny’s story. Yes, I am behind the times on this, since The Dare Projectwas released in 2018. I’m not sure how I missed this news. Once I saw that there was a sequel, I knew I had to watch it, and I did. Usually, sequels come far short of the original, this is not the case. It was just as good as the original.

Writer and producer David Brind describes best why this movie made such an impression on most people who saw it. “When I first wrote the Dare short in film school in 2003, I had no fucking clue what I was doing,” said Brind. “My professor told me to write from the heart and the gut. So, I wrote about ‘Johnny.’ Everyone in the world has their own ‘Johnny,’ the elusive one that seemed untouchable, that made you feel so intensely you thought you would die. ‘Johnny’ existed for me.” There is more to that quote, but it gives too much away of the original short film, and I think would ruin it if you haven’t seen Dare yet. Like Brind, I had my “Johnny,” but we never had an experience anything like in the film.

Brind said that after understanding the fan base that the original Dare had developed over the years, he decided to try and continue the story he had begun. “Fifteen years later, I decided to revisit this world with The Dare Project,” Brind added. “Our legions of fans—13.5M views on YouTube while being suppressed from search by them, but that’s another story—demanded a sequel. They wrote Instagram messages. Like Jack from a small village in Ireland. Jack is 17. He’s gay. He’s suicidal. He wrote to tell me that he watches Dare over and over when he’s feeling like he doesn’t want to live. Because it brings him hope. And that’s more worthwhile than any Netflix or HBO deal could ever bring me.”

After fifteen years, Brind made the decision to try and put together a sequel. In The Dare Project, Ben and Johnny, now in their early 30s fortuitously run into each other at a party in Los Angeles after not seeing each other since high school.  Of the sequel, Brind added, “Ben isn’t 17 anymore. And he’s a lot more like me now. He’s good at what he does. He’s successful in his way. He’s more confident. He’s out. But he’s still been unable to find intimacy in a real way. A real and constant struggle for LGBTQ people, especially in the age of Grindr (which is in the new film) and Instagram ‘influencers’ aka hot guys in underwear.”

“Johnny isn’t 17 either,” Brind continued. “And he’s no longer the arrogant bad boy of high school hallways. Life has gotten more complex. And when Ben and Johnny meet for the first time since high school, they talk about it all. And of course, they get back in the pool…”

There also seems to be an expanded full length 2009 version of the original short film. The feature-length version, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, stars Emmy Rossum in a story about how “three very different teenagers discover that, even in the safe world of a suburban prep school, no one is who she or he appears to be.” The film has been described as a cross between Pretty in Pink and Cruel Intentions. While I have always liked Cruel Intentions, possibly only for the pool scene with Ryan Phillippe, I watched the trailer for the feature length version of Dare, and I have no interest in seeing it. However, to add a little to The Dare Project’s ending, there was a “video call” between Ben and Johnny at the beginning of the pandemic, that is, in its own way, just as sweet as the previous versions:

To watch The Dare Project, it is available on Vimeo on Demand. There is the option to rent The Dare Project at a cost of $2.99 for 48-hour streaming period or buy it for $5.99 to stream and download to watch anytime. The $2.99 was worth every penny. I think Dare will always hold a special place in my wide variety of gay cinematic experiences. It is thirty-four minutes I will never forget, and I hope you will enjoy it as well.

Clair de lune

Clair de lune (English “Moonlight”)
By Paul Verlaine

Votre âme est un paysage choisi
Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques
Jouant du luth et dansant et quasi
Tristes sous leurs déguisements fantasques.

Tout en chantant sur le mode mineur
L’amour vainqueur et la vie opportune
Ils n’ont pas l’air de croire à leur bonheur
Et leur chanson se mêle au clair de lune,

Au calme clair de lune triste et beau,
Qui fait rêver les oiseaux dans les arbres
Et sangloter d’extase les jets d’eau,
Les grands jets d’eau sveltes parmi les marbres.


(English Translation)

Your soul is a chosen landscape
Where charming masquerades and dancers are promenading,
Playing the lute and dancing, and almost
Sad beneath their fantastic disguises.

While singing in a minor key
Of victorious love, and the pleasant life
They seem not to believe in their own happiness
And their song blends with the light of the moon,

With the sad and beautiful light of the moon,
Which sets the birds in the trees dreaming,
And makes the fountains sob with ecstasy,
The slender water streams among the marble statues.


“Clair de lune” (English “Moonlight”) is a poem written by French poet Paul Verlaine in 1869. It is the inspiration for the third and most famous movement of Claude Debussy’s 1890 Suite bergamasque. Debussy also made two settings of the poem for voice and piano accompaniment. The poem has also been set to music by Gabriel Fauré, Louis Vierne and Josef Szulc.

Paul-Marie Verlaine (30 March 1844 – 8 January 1896) was a French poet associated with the Symbolist movement and the Decadent movement. He is considered one of the greatest representatives of the fin de siècle (“end of century”) in international and French poetry.

Paul Verlaine was born in a town called Metz in northeastern France in 1844. He received his formal education from what is now the Lycee Condorcet and originally found a job in France’s civil service, despite the fact that he had been writing poetry from an early age; he published his first poem before his twentieth birthday.

Poet Charles Marie Rene Leconte de Lisle, who led the Parnassian movement, heavily influenced Verlaine in the beginning. The Parnassian movement was a style of poetry which utilized emotional detachment and a strict adherence to form. Verlaine was also influenced by the many people he socialized with, most of whom made up the intellectual and artistic elite of the day.

His first book of poetry, Poemes saturniens, was published in 1866. Four years later, Verlaine’s life underwent massive changes; he got married to Mathilde Maute de Fleurville and joined the French equivalent of the National Guard, though he later became a supporter of the Paris Commune, a group of anarchists and Marxists that took control of Paris from March to May. When a large number of Commune members (called Communards) were killed and imprisoned after the fall of their government, Verlaine escaped to Pas-de-Calais, returning in 1871.

In 1872, Verlaine began his first homosexual affair, though he had probably had homosexual experiences before then. He received a letter from the younger poet Arthur Rimbaud, and Verlaine’s reply was, “Come, dear great soul. We await you; we desire you.” Though Verlaine’s wife was pregnant at the time, Rimbaud came to stay with the older poet and his seventeen-year-old wife. Later that year, Verlaine and Rimbaud lived together in London, having abandoned Mathilde. Both poets frequently drank absinthe and used hashish, living in poverty and making a living by teaching and getting an allowance from Verlaine’s mother. The relationship grew very strained, and Verlaine shot his lover in the wrist during an alcoholic furor just days after the pair had split and subsequently reunited in Brussels.

Rimbaud originally refused to press charges, but Verlaine’s increasingly violent and odd behavior forced the younger man to seek protection. A judge sentenced Verlaine to two years in prison following testimony from Mathilde. Not even a last-second change of heart from Rimbaud could save Verlaine; the Symbolist poet spent two years in prison in the Belgian city of Mons. While there, Verlaine converted to Roman Catholicism, which spurred him to write further poems. Rimbaud mocked Verlaine’s conversion to Catholicism. Verlaine also managed to release another collection of poems while imprisoned, Romances sans paroles. Upon his release, Verlaine worked as a teacher in various cities in England. He returned once more to France to teach and fell in love with one of his students, Lucien Letinois. When Letinois died of typhus in the 1880’s, Verlaine was devastated and spiraled into drug and alcohol abuse.

Verlaine spent the rest of his days drinking absinthe in Parisian cafes and using drugs, though by this time the public’s love of his work allowed him to draw an income. His peers even voted to bestow the title “France’s Prince of Poets” upon Verlaine in 1894. two years later, Verlaine died from drugs and alcohol on 8 January 1896. He was 51. He was buried in the Cimetière des Batignolles.

Verlaine’s poetry was admired and recognized as ground-breaking and served as a source of inspiration to composers. Gabriel Fauré composed many mélodies, such as the song cycles Cinq mélodies “de Venise” and La bonne chanson, which were settings of Verlaine’s poems. As mentioned above, Claude Debussy set to music Clair de lune and six of the Fêtes galantes poems, forming part of the mélodie collection known as the Recueil Vasnier; he also made another setting ofClair de lune, and the poem inspired his Suite bergamasque. Reynaldo Hahn set several of Verlaine’s poems as did the Belgian-British composer Poldowski.Verlaine’s work was characterized by lurid content and common themes including sex, urban life, and fatality. He often used repeated sounds to evoke certain moods and emotions. Verlaine’s poem “Chanson d’Automne” was used during World War II by the BBC to signal to the French resistance that Operation Overlord was to begin. The 1995 film Total Eclipse was based on Verlaine’s relationship with Rimbaud; David Thewlis and Leonardo DiCaprio played Verlaine and Rimbaud, respectively.

This video of Clair de Lune contains moonlight paintings by the Victorian painter John Atkinson Grimshaw. In this recording, Stanley Black conducts his arrangement of Clair de Lune with the London Symphony. 

Caligula: The Worst Movie Ever Made?

Esquire Magazine recently published an article, “Caligula Wasn’t Supposed to Be a Porno.” In the article, critic Chris Nashawaty discusses how the movie was so bad that Roger Ebert walked out two hours into the movie and did not stay for the rest of the 156-minute film. Nashawaty describes Caligula as, “A film that was so inept and god-awful he (Ebert) had to get up and walk out of the theater.” In Ebert’s review of the film, he said:

‘Caligula’ is sickening, utterly worthless, shameful trash. If it is not the worst film I have ever seen, that makes it all the more shameful: People with talent allowed themselves to participate in this travesty. Disgusted and unspeakably depressed, I walked out of the film after two hours of its 170-minute length. That was on a Saturday night, as a line of hundreds of people stretched down Lincoln Ave., waiting to pay $7.50 apiece to become eyewitnesses to shame. I wanted to tell them…what did I want to tell them? What I’m telling you now. That this film is not only garbage on an artistic level, but that it is also garbage on the crude and base level where it no doubt hopes to find its audience. ‘Caligula’ is not good art, it is not good cinema, and it is not good porn.

If you are not familiar with the 1979 movie, Caligula is an erotic historical drama film focusing on the eponymous Roman Emperor Caligula’s rise and fall. The film starred Malcolm McDowell in the title role, alongside great actors like Helen Mirren, Peter O’Toole, and John Gielgud. It is the only feature film produced by the men’s magazine Penthouse. Producer Bob Guccione, Penthouse magazine’s founder, intended to make an explicit pornographic film with a feature film narrative and high production values. Guccione signed Gore Vidal to write the screenplay. Vidal was paid $200,000 and wrote the script as a debauched and homoerotic allegory about how absolute power corrupts absolutely. Vidal naively believed that his screenplay about the mad, monstrous emperor who became synonymous with cruelty, insanity, and megalomania would be a relatively classy affair. There was no initial indication that the film would become a pornographic monstrosity. 

While Vidal was naïve to think this would be a reputable movie, he had reason to believe that Guccione did want to make something respectable. After all, Caligula was not Guccione’s first foray into filmmaking; he had already helped finance a handful of major-studio productions such as Chinatown (1974), The Longest Yard (1974), and The Day of the Locust (1975). As Nashawaty points out:

Caligula wasn’t supposed to be a porno movie. Not exactly. Yes, there would be ample nudity of both the male and female variety. And sure, Guccione had personally flown a bevy of his magazine’s voluptuous Penthouse Pets to Italy to appear as horny extras. But it didn’t start out as the hardcore film that would end up playing in theaters.

However, when the movie’s budget grew to over $17 million, Guccione became a little nervous. Guccione sensed he would not be able to recoup the film’s costs; so, he decided (unbeknownst to anyone involved with the project) that he needed to take control of the film back from director Tinto Brass. Guccione snuck onto the set late at night and secretly shot hours of graphic pornographic inserts to splice into the film. The result was an odd jumble of scenes of unsimulated sex scenes and orgies.

I always loved teaching Ancient Rome, especially the mad emperors Tiberius (Reigned 14–37 CE), Caligula (Reigned 37–41 CE), Claudius (Reigned 41–54 CE), and Nero (Reigned 54–68 CE). It was always one of my most popular lectures. I read a lot about the emperors, especially Suetonius’s The Twelve Caesars. So, back when Netflix still mailed out DVDs, I requested Caligula to see what all the talk was about. While it’s a terrible movie, it is by far not the worst that I have ever seen. I have seen many independent gay movies that were atrocious and barely watchable. However, I used to (with a disclaimer) allow my college students to watch and review Caligula for extra credit, along with dozens of other much better historical movies. Only a few took me up on the offer to watch Caligula, and those who did were all shocked. It is a shocking movie; how shocking depends on whether you watch the 1981 105-minute R-rated version without the explicit sexual material or the original 1979 156-minute version.

If you’ve never watched the original version of Caligula, you might think Guccione’s post-production edits and additions might have turned the film into the sexy, high-quality pornographic film Guccione intended, but you’d be sadly disappointed. The spliced scenes of endless orgies and graphic close-ups, complete with a graphic castration sequence, fisting, and oral sex, are so strange and out of place in this strange attempt to portray Caligula’s debauchery. Honestly, most of the film is just boring. Although contemporary reviews were overwhelmingly negative, Caligula is now often considered a cult classic by some, and its political content is deemed to have some merit. I think we have all seen cult classics that are so bad that they are good. Nashawaty Esquire article states that Caligula is not in this category. Amazingly, McDowell, O’Toole, Gielgud, and Mirren emerged from the ignominy unscathed, considering how bad the film was. As for Vidal, he cashed his six-figure check and told Caligula war stories for years.

Have you ever seen Caligula? Did you see the full version or the edited version? What was your opinion of the movie? If you haven’t seen it, are you tempted to watch it? Warning: It is graphic!

Some Favorite Gay Movies

On Thursday, Miss Coco Peru will be hosting her Christmas special, “Very Merry Casa Coco.” I’m not sure I will tune into it, even though I love Coco Peru, and she’s been around for nearly 30 years. I was telling a straight female friend of mine who loves drag queens about the Christmas special, and I was also telling her that I first saw Peru her role in the 1999 independent film Trick, a movie I particularly enjoy. It is one of my top five gay independent films of all time. Trickstarred Christian Campbell, John Paul Pitoc, Steve Hayes, and Tori Spelling. Tori Spelling is probably the most familiar name, but even her bad acting couldn’t ruin this movie for me.

Back when I was coming to terms with my sexuality, I would go to the Blockbuster in Montgomery and rent any gay film I could get my hands on. Most of them were foreign films, such as Beautiful Thing (1996—British), Come Undone,aka Presque Rien,(2000—French-Belgian), and Wild Reeds, aka Les Roseaux Sauvages, (French —1995). I enjoyed all of these movies, but I wanted to see more. In 2000, I moved to Mississippi, and while I continued to rent from Blockbuster’s lackluster selection of gay movies, I discovered Netflix. With them sending a DVD each time you sent one back (and they had a much more extensive selection), I watched many more gay movies. I was finally able to get my hands on some American films, mostly independent films.

Independent gay movies have always been hit or miss. If they’d been a genuinely great movie, they might have been picked up by a major studio and had the money for production and casting, but as independent movies, filmmakers made do with what they had. Some were bad; some made it to the list of my favorite movies. One of those movies was, of course, Trick. The acting is not always great in these movies, but sometimes the stories made them worth the mediocre acting. Occasionally, the acting was pretty good. But if you watched many independent gay films in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, you watched a lot of terrible movies. But like I said, there were some gems.

I remember seeing Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss and wondering how Sean Hayes continued to refuse to say publicly that he was gay when it was so incredibly obvious. Also, I fell in love with Brad Rowe. Besides Trick, the movie that I have watched numerous times because I love it is the 1997 movie Defying Gravity. This movie’s love story was so sweet, even if the film did not include the best acting. However, there was a hospital scene when Griff says, “Oh, man,” to Pete that I just can’t describe the feeling of what it’s like for me hearing this line. It’s not a great line; it’s almost corny, but it gets me every time. My heart breaks, and it soars at the same time. I can still hear that line in my head as I am writing this. I also enjoyed the 2000 film The Broken Hearts Club. Since he played Superman, I have had a thing for Dean Cain, too bad his politics are so fucked up.

In 2003, Latter Days was released, and it became one of my all-time favorite gay movies. As some of my friends can attest to, I have made them watch this movie with me. I love the two main characters, and while there are parts of the story that could have been done better, the airport scene is magical. Speaking of magical, I also loved the gay take on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In 2008, Were the World Mine was released, and I just loved it. There have been other movies, and I am sure I am forgetting some of the foreign gay films that I loved and some independent films, but these are just some of them.

I also have a few honorable mentions that were more mainstream films. I think the first gay film I ever saw was either The Birdcage (1996) or In & Out (1997). More recently, I enjoyed the movie Love, Simon. I have refused to watch Call Me by Your Name because I know how it ends. Then there were a few movies that were less apparent as gay films, such as Fried Green Tomatoes and Midnight in the Garden of Good and EvilFried Green Tomatoes ranks up there with Casablanca and Auntie Mame as movies in my top three favorites. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched those three movies.

By the way, I did not include Brokeback Mountain in this list of favorite movies. Although, in my opinion, it is responsible for allowing more gay mainstream movies to be made, it is just not one of my favorites. To be honest, I don’t like movies without a happy ending. The same is true of the books I read. I have enough in my life to make me sad; I don’t need someone else making me sadder with a movie or a novel. I read and watch movies to escape not to fall deeper into depression.

So, these are a few of my favorite gay movies. What are your favorites? What have I missed? Is there a movie you think I should watch (I may have seen it, but tell me anyway)?

Love, Simon

I have been wanting to see this movie since it came out. I finally got to see it on the plane from Chicago to Burlington. I happen to love romantic comedies, and I love gay movies. This is the perfect combination. The Hollywood Reporter said, “Love, Simon, a sweet, slick, broadly appealing YA adaptation (Becky Albertalli’s 2015 novel was called Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda) touted as the first major-studio-backed romantic comedy with a gay teen protagonist.”

There are two things in the movie that I loved. One is the process of coming out. It is different for everyone. For some it is easy, others it’s hard. For some it’s accepted, for some it’s not. The coming out process in this movie is not one of the easiest ones, but it’s not so difficult either. It definitely pulls at the heart strings.

The other thing is the love affair over the internet. You can get to know the most intimate things about a person online when it’s anonymous than you often can in person. Some people feel freer to talk online with someone than in person. It can bring two people very close. The internet can surprisingly bring an honestly that is amazing. I know sometimes it’s the opposite, but when you truly find a good person, the honesty can be so rewarding.

Star Wars

I’m going to see the new Star Wars movie today. I’m more of a Star Trek fan than a Star Wars fan, but I still enjoy seeing the Star Wars movies. I’m hoping that this one will be good. I haven’t heard much about it, so I’ll form my own opinion after I see it. At least it gets me away from family for a couple of hours.

Rogue One

I went to see Rogue One yesterday. My first impression was that it was good, but not great. Honestly, the more I watch Star Wars movies, I am convinced that the original three were by far the best and all the others just can’t compare.

The more I thought about the movie, the more disappointed I was in Rogue One. The ending was dissatisfying. Such a disappointment. I like a movie with a happy ending.  Not to give this one away but it has a happy ending and at the same time doesn’t. This movie leads up to right before Episode IV begins, so you know ultimately good comes from it, but it was still disappointing and overall depressing.


I had put off watching the new Ghostbusters movie for quite a while because I was such a fan of the original when I was a kid. I’ve seen movies with Melissa McCarthy in them and she can be quite foul mouthed at times and I was afraid she might be in this movie as well, but she was a delight. I enjoyed seeing the cameos from the original cast as well. That was a real treat. Overall, I really liked the movie, maybe not as much as the original, but the original is such a classic. There are a lot of references to the original which I found funny and nostalgic. One other thing, Chris Hemsworth is sexy as hell in this movie. He doesn’t need to take off his shirt, but he’s got this whole Clark Kent look going that is just adorable. I loved when he’s in that white t-shirt and dancing. He could dance like that for me any day.


The other night, I watched the movie Stonewall, a completely fictionalized account of the Stonewall Riots. While there is very little historical facts in the movie, I found it quite enjoyable to watch. The best part of the movie is the gorgeous Jeremy Irvine. Stonewall is a drama about a young man caught up during the 1969 Stonewall riots. Danny Winters (Jeremy Irvine) is forced to leave behind friends and loved ones when he is kicked out of his parent’s home and flees to New York. Alone in Greenwich Village, homeless and destitute, he befriends Ray (Jonny Beauchamp) and a group of street kids who soon introduce him to the local watering hole The Stonewall Inn; however, this shady, mafia-run club is far from a safe-haven. As Danny and his friends experience discrimination, endure atrocities and are repeatedly harassed by the police, we see a rage begin to build. This emotion runs through the entire community of young gays, lesbians, drag queens and trans people who populate the Stonewall Inn and erupts in a storm of anger. With the toss of a single brick, a riot ensues and a crusade for equality is born.

If you haven’t seen it, it is currently available on Amazon Prime  Video. It may also be on Netflix, but I watched it on Amazon Video. It’s well worth watching.

Happy Halloween Movie Review


Dark, twisted tales that feed our need for revenge. Sexy scenes with hunky young bucks all desperately yearning to get laid. Gory sights and demented deeds that are so over-the-top they border on camp.
These are the staples of fright flicks, and though society may suspect that gays shy away from horror and violence, the truth is that we love it in films that speak to our unique sensibilities. So in honor of Halloween I compiled a list of our 13 favorites.
So sit back, cuddle closely with your man (or bestest girlfriends) and enjoy the show.


Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
It’s the weird and wonderful as newly engaged couple Brad and Janet encounter a problem when they car halts in the rain. They both look for contact only to find themselves at the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter a transvestite. A place to stay is offered, but will Brad and Janet want to remain there? Especially when a large group of Transylvanians dance to the ‘Time Warp’, Dr. Frank-N-Furter builds his own man and a whole host of participation for the audience to enjoy. This movie is high camp horror at its best.


Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Mortimer Brewster is a newspaperman and author known for his diatribes against marriage. We watch him being married at city hall in the opening scene. Now all that is required is a quick trip home to tell Mortimer’s two maiden aunts. While trying to break the news, he finds out his aunts’ hobby; killing lonely old men and burying them in the cellar. It gets worse.  Who could not love this movie?


Rope (1948)
Inspired by real-life convicted killers (and lovers) Leopold and Loeb, Rope is Alfred Hitchcock’s gayest film ever. It features a gay couple (played by John Dall, and bisexual Farley Granger at his most luminous), a dinner party, witty repartee, and a body hidden in a stylish piece of furniture. Sounds like summers in Fire Island to me.


What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
Cast two gay icons—Bette Davis and Joan Crawford—as crazy / tragic protagonists, then have them abuse one another while performing at level 10, and you’ve got one of the most camptastic movies ever made. The dialogue is deliciously mean, the hatred between these two actresses leaks off the screen, and because the characters’ bitter back-story creates a strong foundation you have a solid film rather than one of those “so-bad-it’s-good” features gays love so much.
Best served in a crowd of drunk gays who can truly appreciate the dark humor.


Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)
If Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? makes the list, this movie is also a must.  Charlotte Hollis, an aging recluse deluded into a state of dementia by horrible memories and hallucinations, lives in a secluded house where, thirty-seven years before, John Mayhew her married lover, was beheaded and mutilated by an unknown assailant.  Plus, there is always the back story behind why Joan Crawford refused to make this “sequel” and the why Vivian Leigh refused the role (Leigh famously said “I can just about stand to look at Joan Crawford at six in the morning on a southern plantation, but I couldn’t possibly look at Bette Davis.”)  Also, Agnes Moorehead is in this movie, not only was she the mother on Bewitched, but she was also a well-known lesbian.


Carrie (1976)
Along with Baby JaneMommie Dearest and Showgirls, Carrie is one of the films with dialogue most quoted by gay men. Gems like “I can see your dirty pillows,” to a screeching “They’re all gonna laugh at you!” and “They’re called breasts, and every woman has them…” have become part of the secret language of gays. And Carrie’s prom night-mare has become pop culture shorthand on TV shows from Ugly Betty to RuPaul’s Drag Race.


Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
New Line Cinema’s second schlep up to Elm Street is bursting at the seams with homoerotic imagery and undertones. It features openly gay actor Mark Patton as Jesse, a teenage boy Freddy Krueger tries to possess in order to leave dreamland and continue his killing spree in the real world.
Even before the film’s writer, David Chaskin, admitted to including the screenplay’s gay subtext in the 2010 documentary Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street LegacyNightmare 2 had been herald as the ultimate homo-horror flick for years by countless fans.
A film about a boy struggling to repress “something” inside of him would have been enough to brand Nightmare 2 as an obvious gay allegory. However, it’s the moments following Jessie’s trek into a gay leather bar—where he discovers his P.E. coach—that rank this film among the gayest of all time. After all, tying up your coach in the locker-room showers and snapping his bare ass with a towel before you kill him from behind will earn you that kind of reputation.


Beetlejuice (1988)
Aside from featuring Alec Baldwin at the height of hotness, Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice has enough camp to be welcome at any homo-Halloween haunt. The film’s quirky style has held up amazingly well since it debuted over 23 years ago, and Winona Ryder’s Lydia Deetz is a queer cinema classic. From the interior decorator played by the late openly-gay actor Glenn Shadix to outrageous musical numbers, there isn’t much about this film that isn’t gay.


Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988)
The Queen of Halloween’s first feature film has become a gay camp-classic for all the reasons that made Elvira one of the biggest gay icons of all time. Over-the-top in every way possible, from the costumes and sassy one-liners to the big musical number ending stuffed with hunky shirtless male dancers, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is the Showgirls of Halloween movies.
Check it out.


Hocus Pocus (1993)
This poor film has a bad reputation, and some of it is deserved. The movie is about time-displaced witches who fly on vacuums and sing songs, and the kids who must set things right. But it’s also a delightfully fun bad movie, comes from Disney and director Kenny Ortega (famous for the High School Musical franchise), and stars gay faves Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy (fresh of her stint in Sister Act). No, it’s not brilliant filmmaking, however it works for babysitting, if you’re in the mood for something light, and if you can mix a potion of vodka and… well… anything… to go along with your screening.


The Covenant (2006)
Abercrombie & Fitch goes supernatural in this good warlock vs. bad warlock fantasy/horror flick starring models-turned-actors Steven Straight (10,000 B.C.) and Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights), as well as a pre-shag Chace Crawford. Between that and this picture, do you need any further explanation on why you should rent it?


Hellbent (2004)
Two gay men on a date are murdered the night before Halloween in West Hollywood, California. Eddie and his friends Joey, Chaz and Tobey are going out the following night to the West Hollywood Halloween festival when they encounter the psycho, who sets his eye on them. The killer stalks them through the festival as Chaz parties, Joey chases his jock crush, Tobey tries dressing in drag, and Eddie pursues Jake, the bad boy he wants to get to know better. Not until the very end do you find out who dies and who survives their night of terror.