SHUDDER AND SHRIEK: something queer is going on

It’s a trio of films that veer away from the usual cis straight path. Let’s get right into them.


If you’re triggered by movies that make lesbians and trans women out to be a bunch of mentally unstable messes who do “bad things”, this might not be the movie for you…if any of what is happening is even real. I’ll give the movie this—it keeps you wondering and sets some sort of a tone. Nothing is concrete here, and by the end we don’t know if there are ghosts, if there’s a killer, if it’s all in the mind of the main girl, if it’s PTSD due to her mother neglecting her as a child, or if it’s all of the above.

A lesbian tramp brings her friends—all of whom she has basically fucked at one point or another—to an empty hotel she’s about to either inherit or sell. It’s just them and some dude who used to bang her mother (played by a mostly MIA Molly Ringwald, who shows up at the end…or does she?).

There are elements of The Shining here…if it took place in the kind of cheap hotel the hubby and I used to visit for 3 hours at a time when we had no place else to screw in our 20s. For instance, there’s snow outside, there are long, empty corridors, and one of the girls keeps seeing two women jogging in place and staring at her. Guess those twins from The Shining grew up and got physical.

There’s plenty of lesbian melodrama, lots of talk of ghosts, hallways with pink walls and baby blue floors (allusions to gender norms perhaps?), and what look like huge puddles of cum on the floors (more memories of my days in cheap hotels).

Suddenly, 55 minutes in, a killer in a hoodie and mask wielding a chainsaw appears.

Bad Things will keep you entertained, and it is refreshing to have an all queer cast of characters, but it won’t satisfy you if you’re hoping for a cohesive story.


I love how this film captures the sexy sleazy vibe of 1980s Lovecraft adaptations like Re-Animator and From Beyond, which makes sense since it’s written by the same screenwriter of both of those films, which both starred Barbara Crampton, who is also in this film.

Crampton plays a doctor whose psychiatrist friend Heather Graham is now a patient in her institution. Heather begins to recount what led to her landing in the psych ward.

A young, paranoid man comes to Heather with a problem—it seems his dying father, played by Bruce Davison, is using magic to swap bodies with his son so that he can remain alive.

Heather gets sucked into the son’s story, and soon they’re having a sexual relationship…which is hard to fathom considering her husband Johnathon Schaech is waiting at home. Yummy.

Heather eventually discovers the sexual interludes allow the father to get inside her (in more ways than one). This leads to classic, trippy 80s Lovecraft adaptation situations.

It also becomes a very gender-bending scenario, with the father totally getting off on having a woman’s body and riding Schaech. And the exploration of sexuality and gender identity plays out right up to the end, when Crampton and Graham get into it. Awesome.

The performances of the actresses are the icing on the cake in this old school occult tale that delivers on the sex and gore as if it’s 1985 all over again.


Although it could be labeled as an all-encompassing queer horror, this one deserves credit for essentially being a trans horror flick. There are a lot of theys and thems being thrown around, but little in the way of he/she or gay/lesbian.

These kids even show the killer’s pronouns respect, correcting themselves whenever they refer to the killer as a he (although they do settle on calling the killer “it” rather than they). That being said, you have to wonder why such a they-positive flick would specifically call itself Bad GIRL Boogey.

On the surface, this is a slasher in which a killer targets queer kids. Intentional or not, it borrows from the classic Demons—anyone who puts on a possessed mask goes on a killing spree. However, if you look deeper, this isn’t just another masked boogeyman movie. It’s a story about how queer kids are treated—they are misunderstood, they are bullied, the adults around them ignore what they are going through when not rejecting them, and most tragically, they are being murdered by hate.

It is the queer concept—which might make straight and cis viewers groan and cry “woke”—that elevates the typical slasher aspects, which aren’t half bad on their own. The film is quirky and has a distinct visual style, with lots of choppy editing and neon lighting set to alternative music, making it feel like an artsy music video at times. Plus there are some good practical gore effects.

Also of note is that it is very clearly stated that the events are taking place on Halloween, yet there’s little in the way of Halloween atmosphere. You’d think a bunch of queer kids would make Halloween something extra special. Either way, it earns a spot on the complete holiday horror page.

And finally, although some might find the low budget indie vibe not to their liking in these days of sleek CGI horror flicks, I think this will be a pretty cathartic film for some queer kids.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at
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