When I was in 8th grade I organized a horror movie night the week before Halloween. Well — actually a horror movie day. Well, actually a horror miniseries day. I had a fantasy of my crush curled up next to me under a blanket, all the lights off, using each jump scare as an excuse to get closer to me.
But my crush was too scared to watch a horror movie at night. And the new girl in our friend group wasn’t allowed to watch R-rated movies. I think that’s why we chose the Stephen King-approved TV adaptation of The Shining despite its 4.5 hour runtime.
Only three people showed up: my crush, the new girl, and a guy friend of ours. By hour two, my crush and the guy had lost interest. They were sitting on the other side of the room giggling to each other. It was daytime, I was watching a TV show, all the lights were on, and my crush was talking to a boy. Goodbye fantasy.
But then: a jump scare! The new girl dramatically moved herself towards me with a scream. I was very aware that our legs were now touching. My crush and the guy left the room, their boredom a cover for fear. The new girl and I watched the second half of the series alone, laughing and screaming, her hand gripping my leg whenever she was scared.
And that’s how I got a new crush for the rest of 8th grade.
This story is proof it doesn’t really matter what you watch as long as it has a few good scares. But why not bond with your crush over some very pointed queer horror? Here’s a list of ten films to watch this Halloween based specifically on what type of crush is currently haunting you.
We’ve also introduced a scale of 1 to 4 Mrs. Danvers to denote the levels of scares. Just because you can’t handle intensity or gore doesn’t mean you should be left out!
Raw (dir. Julia Ducournau) – Gay Male Bestie
While Raw may not be explicitly queer, there will always be something that feels queer about a girl becoming totally consumed with her burgeoning sexuality. Also not explicitly queer? Baby dykes still in the closet. And if I’ve learned anything from my cis friends A LOT of you dated gay boys before coming out. It makes sense. There’s something safe about experimenting with a boy who’s only mildly interested in you sexually. Maybe that’s why the newly cannibalistic Justine is drawn to her friend Adrien in this gory and beautiful masterpiece. Poor guy.
This movie is perfect if you’re a baby dyke still trying things out with your gay male best friend. Or if you’re a bi girl getting creative with the whole in love with an unattainable friend trope.
3 Mrs. Danvers
Lyle (dir. Stewart Thorndike) – Married Friend
This frightening little gem asks the question: What would Rosemary’s Baby be like if the untrustworthy partner was a butch woman instead of a man? It’s a fascinating experiment with a ferocious performance from Gaby Hoffmann. And it really does make you question how well you know your partner no matter their gender. So if you happen to be crushing on a married friend and are desperate for them to doubt their beloved, this might just do the trick.
Look, am I actually suggesting you try and break up your friend’s marriage? No, I suppose not. But am I suggesting you watch Lyle? Yes absolutely.
3 Mrs. Danvers
The Perfection (dir. Richard Shepard) – Celebrity Crush
This recent Netflix horror movie would be offensive for a multitude of reasons if it wasn’t so incoherent. Instead it’s just an absolutely wild, incredibly shallow thrill ride with a queer woman romance(??) at its center. Who among us hasn’t had a crush on someone we looked up to, someone our teachers praised or someone we watched thrive in our chosen field. And who among us hasn’t had sex with that person only for them to convince us to chop off our arm?
What I’m saying is if you’ve managed to have a movie night with your idol, your accomplished cello-playing, whatever happened to that person idol, why not continue to push the boundaries of belief with this bonkers, and probably bad, definitely fun, absolutely disgusting movie.
4 Mrs. Danvers
Slumber Party Massacre (dir. Amy Holden Jones) – School Crush
Depending on where you go to school it can be a pretty heteronormative space, especially high school. But is there anything gayer than heteronormative spaces? Hear me out. Hot teachers, post phys-ed showers, weekend slumber parties?? Gay, gayer, gayest. And even gayer than your average heteronormative high school or your average heteronormative slasher flick is a horror movie written by Rita Mae Brown. That’s right! The author of Rubyfruit Jungle wrote the screenplay to a film called Slumber Party Massacre. And it’s amazing.
So invite your school crush over for a slumber party of your own. Just maybe skip the pizza delivery.
2 Mrs. Danvers
Jennifer’s Body (dir. Karyn Kusama) – Frenemy
We’ve all had that one friend. The one who we’re not sure if we love or hate. The one who always sort of seems on the verge of kissing you or killing you. Oh we haven’t all had a friend like that? You’re worried about me? Well, some of you know what I’m talking about. Whether or not she turned out to be actually evil or just high school evil.
And if that’s what you’re dealing with right now, why not set the mood with this Megan Fox-starring feminist classic? Maybe your frenemy isn’t so bad after all. Maybe she’s just the snowflake queen and you’re lime-green jello.
2 Mrs. Danvers
Kitchen Sink (dir. Alison Maclean) – Public Transit Crush
Crushes are sometimes just about the fantasy. You don’t even have to know a person’s name or have any intention of talking to them. They can just be a way to pass the time on a boring commute. Why not pick some cute stranger to steal an occasional glance at while you mentally plan your lives together? And while you’re doing that, queue up Alison Maclean’s masterful short film Kitchen Sink on your phone. Your public transit crush doesn’t need to know you’re thinking about them and they don’t need to know that technically you’re watching a horror movie with them.
If we learn anything from this heterosexual horrorshow it’s that sometimes it’s best to leave things alone. Don’t pull at the thread of your fantasy. Let the cutie go to work and leave your garbage disposal of feelings unexplored. Especially if they’re wearing headphones.
3 Mrs. Danvers
Mulholland Drive (dir. David Lynch) – Your Ex
I’m not here to judge. We’ve all had crushes on exes. We’ve all had that misguided desire to give things another shot. And if that’s where you’re at then that’s where you’re at. It’s worked like once, maybe it’ll work for you too. Maybe the secret is forgetting the past, throwing in a little amnesia, and reinventing your entire identities. You used to be Diane dating Camilla. But maybe now you’re Betty dating Rita. So much can change when you spend a little time apart.
This suggestion must come with a warning. Getting back with your ex may seem like a great idea for the first two hours, but devolve into a Lynchian nightmare in the last thirty minutes. Things are complicated, and, again, I’m not here to judge. Just promise me you won’t hire a hitman, and promise me you won’t look for the man behind Winkie’s.
3 Mrs. Danvers
Vampyros Lesbos (dir. Jésus Franco) – Work Crush
Work crushes are unadvisable, but we all have them. If you spend enough time with a group of people, you’re bound to develop feelings for someone. But falling for your coworker is so 2005. Instead why not fall for your new client? You know the one. The mysterious countess who appears in your dreams calling you to the Kadidados Islands. The woman with the soft face and sharp teeth who needs your help settling Count Dracula’s estate.
This movie is ultimately a warning against following your impulses. But it’s also a softcore sexploitation flick. So whether you’re watching with your coworker or your vampiric new legal client, you can choose which lesson to learn. Do you want to resist your impulses (smart) or do you want to give into your horniness and go skinny-dipping (not smart, but who am I to judge)?
2 Mrs. Danvers
Women Who Kill (dir. Ingrid Jungermann) – New Girlfriend
Happy cuffing season! There’s nothing quite like a new fall romance. Just when you thought your only hope for love was getting back with your ex, a mysterious new cutie appears at the co-op. Exciting, sure, but also a little nerve-wracking? While not totally lacking in thrills or violence, Ingrid Jungermann’s horror comedy reveals the scariest thing of all may just be commitment.
But hey you’re pushing past your issues this time around. You really like this new person and you think they might be worth it. Let this movie be a catalyst for a conversation about trust and vulnerability. Just remember: You’re not in danger, you’re just in love.
1 Mrs. Danvers
High Tension (dir. Alexandre Aja) – Straight Friend
This movie is brutal and deeply disappointing. But so is having a crush on your straight friend. You knew it was a bad idea, but then maybe you get sucked into the thrill of it all. It might almost feel like it’s worth the gore. Or maybe the gore is part of its charm. You’re a baby butch and you’re determined to save your friend from the horror of heterosexuality. If only it didn’t end with such a miserable, nonsensical, and flat-out homophobic twist.
This is all to say you should absolutely NOT watch this movie with a crush. But you also shouldn’t be crushing on straight people, so consider this a perfect fit.
4 Mrs. Danvers
You can also watch any of these movies with a crush you met at a party, who knows your friends, and who has explicitly expressed interest in you. Feel free to keep the danger on screen and out of your personal life. None of these movies are as scary as poor romantic choices.
Haute Tension is a great piece of cinema from the New French Extremity Movement. It’s right up there with Martyrs and Frontiers and I rewatch all three every year in October for my annual Horrorthon
Also, no 5ive Girls on this list? There’s a queer character who fallls for a straight character, Catholic school uniforms, demons and blood and…yeah okay it’s so bad it’s good.
The only New French Extremity filmmaker that consistently works for me is Catherine Breillat, but to each their own!
I haven’t seen 5ive Girls, but I’ll definitely check it out. Thanks!
I love parts of Haute Tension so much (Cécile de France, the soundtrack, Cécile de France, the concept which 90% identical to that of the Dean Koontz novel ‘Intensity’, Cécile de France) but yeah the twist is homophobic and bad and also…doesn’t make sense?? Specifically the car chase scene!
the perfection is perfection
p e r f e c t i o n
That moment you realise you never had a friend like that in high school because YOU were that friend while in the middle of lil break from making offerings for a ritual.
“Just remember: You’re not in danger, you’re just in love.”
Read this piece only now and it was so much fun! Thank you Drew for another gem of queer horror writing!
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