by DAVE FUMAROLA
Gays and Halloween have always gone together like chocolate and peanut butter. It’s the one day of the year that everyone can express themselves without fear of being ridiculed. As costumes continue to get sexier, it can be quite difficult to tell the difference between Halloween and a Pride parade.
Homoerotic horror has been around for ages and there are countless lists ranking gay horror classics like The Haunting and The Hunger. We thought we would do something a little different to celebrate many a queer’s favorite holiday. Since most quality entertainment can be found on television these days, we decided to give you a list of spooky television shows with LGBTQ characters.
To qualify for the list, a show had to have at least one queer character and also feature a predominant element of horror.
10. The Lair (2007)
The Lair is actually a spinoff of supernatural soap, Dante’s Cove. Like its predecessor, it mostly comes off as Dark Shadows meets Skinemax. The acting isn’t great and neither is the writing, but it stands out on our list as being the only entry almost entirely comprised of gay characters. The plot is simple – a local journalist chases a lead to a private gay club run by vampires. He catches the eye of the head vampire, who believes him to be the reincarnation of his dead lover. It’s not likely to scare you, but it’s worth checking out if you’re into vampires and nearly naked men.
9. Pretty Little Liars (2010)
I know what you’re thinking: “But PLL isn’t a horror show!” No, in the traditional sense of the word, PLL doesn’t usually fall into the horror category, but bear with me for a moment. The show depicts four teenagers being tormented by an unknown stalker who may or may not be their dead friend. Numerous friends and parents have turned up dead while they live in constant fear. Some of the Halloween specials have even crossed over into teen slasher territory. I hesitate to bring up the cringe-worthy spinoff Ravenswood, but now there are even ghosts in the PLL universe. For anyone who thinks PLL isn’t scary, just ask Aria how much fun it was sharing a coffin with Garrett’s dead body.
8. Hemlock Grove (2013)
One of Netflix’s first original series, Hemlock Grove has stumbled its way through two seasons, with a third and final season due out next year. With vampires, werewolves and an assortment of other supernatural oddities, Hemlock Grove is primarily a show about outsiders. However, it was actually the “normal” Dr. Clementine Chasseur who had an affinity for the same sex and we were treated to one steamy bedroom scene before the character’s run came to an end. The second season is lacking a queer character, but there is a threesome with Peter, Roman and Miranda. Maybe Peter and Roman can finally get it on alone next season and put an end to all that tension.
7. Hannibal (2013)
With its beautiful cinematography and constant suspense, Hannibal would rank higher if it had a queer character with a more integral role. In season 2, we were introduced to lesbian Margot Verger, portrayed by horror favorite Katharine Isabelle. Having been tortured her entire life by her psychotic brother, she sought to take control of her life with the help of therapy. Unfortunately for Margot, things don’t go exactly as she hoped. We do feel real terror for her when we see exactly what her brother is capable of. Hopefully, Hannibal will continue to bring the horror and add a few more queer characters.
6. Hex (2004)
Hex was a British series about Cassie, a young outcast who discovers that she’s a witch. Right from the start of the series, we know Cassie’s best friend, Thelma, is in love with her. Thelma is sacrificed as part of a ritual in the first episode and spends the remainder of the series as a gay ghost. She even gets a ghost girlfriend at one point in the series. Since Cassie left the show halfway through its run, Thelma became the one character that held the show together. She provided depth to a show that was overloaded with supernatural mythology. Another reason to check out Hex is to see Michael Fassbender in an early and deliciously evil role.
5. Teen Wolf (2011)
Who knew a television adaptation of a 1980s teen comedy could actually find its own voice? Like another entry on our list, Teen Wolf managed to use its source material as a jumping off point for its own mythology. More serious in tone than the Michael J. Fox movie, Teen Wolf has been leaking homoerotic tension since its premiere. At first it was just a vibe, then they went and added gay characters. It started with Danny. Then came Ethan. Then came Danny and Ethan. Whether just seemingly gay or actually gay, Teen Wolf isn’t short on the eye candy.
4. True Blood (2008)
True Blood has to win the award for the most naked vampires…ever. With a cast comprised of nearly perfect specimens, it would have been a sin to keep them clothed. Sexuality was always very fluid on the series, particularly for the vampire characters. With Lafayette, Pam, Tara and Russell (just to name a few), there was no shortage of queer characters. What’s great about True Blood is that the characters were never defined by their sexuality. The show even began as a thinly veiled metaphor for discrimination, but quickly lost its depth in favor of naked bodies.
3. Penny Dreadful (2014)
The newest entry on our list is also set the earliest. Showtime’s Penny Dreadful weaves together various figures of Victorian horror into one gothic tapestry. Naturally, Dorian Gray is portrayed as conceited and omnisexual. What makes Penny Dreadful stand out on our list is it’s actually the show’s leading man who engages in same-sex escapades with Mr. Gray. Josh Hartnett’s Ethan Chandler isn’t gay, but that doesn’t mean he’s irresistible to the charms of the young man who doesn’t age. Penny Dreadful isn’t heavy on the homoeroticism, but it doesn’t shy away from it either. With just one season under its belt, it will be interesting to see how the characters develop.
2. American Horror Story (2011)
What’s more American than red-blooded homosexuals? Ryan Murphy’s return to darker themes has been met with overwhelming enthusiasm. The anthology series has always been a home for LGBTQ characters and actors. In the first season, there was the gay couple that previously resided in the Murder House. The second season’s protagonist (played by GTSA favorite and real-life lady lover Sarah Paulson) was a lesbian on a mission to expose the “truth”. Having an openly gay man as a creator definitely helps steer a series in an LGBT-friendly direction, but Murphy seems to have a lot of fun with it. Besides, gay or not, you can’t not watch Jessica Lange chew through the scenery.
1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)
Right from the beginning, there was always something a little queer about BTVS. Show creator Joss Whedon wasn’t sure which character he wanted to be gay, so he left clues about both Willow and Xander’s sexuality. Four seasons in and Willow is meeting her first girlfriend at a Wicca group. Not only was BTVS slightly ahead of its time, but it is still one of the best depictions of a homosexual character on primetime TV to date. Being a lesbian is just a tiny part of what makes Willow an interesting character. The series ended in 2003, but the character has continued to grow in the BTVS comic books. Buffy herself has even dabbled in girl on girl fun in the comics. And while she may not have been gay on the show, Buffy’s secret identity was a constant metaphor for homosexuality. Buffy’s “coming out” scene to her mother is still classic.