The category of queer horror includes a few characteristics, and these traits differ from person to person. Sometimes the films rely on queer subtext, but more and more horror fans are seeing the genre include main characters identifying as queer with LGBTQIA-focused storylines. Having premiered on February 5th as a part of the Final Girls Berlin Film Festival, the QUEER HORROR shorts provide some scares for all and range from camp to terrifying, but more importantly, these stories show a variety of queer characters with a representation of different ages, races, cultures, and body types.
GAY TEEN WEREWOLF
Being a high school student is rough. Being a gay high school student is even harder. Being a gay werewolf high school student is near impossible. The LGBTQWW club at school offers a safe place for a newly outed werewolf, but this young lycanthrope falls for a vampire. However, she can’t tell her friends or her parents about the secret relationship. Director Andy Rose Fidoten covers topics of acceptance, broken hearts, and transformation in their film, and in the end, GTW offers queer teens a horror-themed love story.
In a nun-themed anxiety-ridden body horror, director Susannah Farrugia asks the question, “How do you solve a problem like itchiness?” Shot in black and white, a young nun finds herself distracted with thoughts of another nun. She labels the thoughts as sinful and tries to hide her feelings, but these buried emotions soon manifest as horrible rashes all over the nun’s body. These rashes create an overpowering itch, leading the young woman to take extreme and ‘grating’ measures to relieve the discomfort. The head nun discourages the sister from scratching, claiming it disturbs the priest and other nuns, and she needs to simply ignore the urge to scratch and it will go away. ITCH looks at the Catholic church’s inability to accept gay people or even make an effort to talk to them. As well as how dismissing people from the LGBTQ community can lead to self-harm.
The subtitle of Maren Moreno’s short probably best describes this strange film: “A Tale of the Curious Maiden and the Juicy Hag.” In the story, a young witch wakes one day to find something has gone horribly wrong with her vagina. Strange green liquids and what appear to be bloody hamburger meat comes eeking out. The visuals and the sounds of licking condoms create hints of nausea and powerful feelings of discomfort. An outlandish and unsettling combination of humor and gross-outs, PROTECTION SPELL will leave a weird taste in a lot of mouths.
The term ‘sundown town’ refers to all white areas that violently persecute people of color who do not leave their town by sunset. In this powerful short, Mylo Butler combines tragic reality with some horror elements. In the film, Bryce and Mitchell take an innocent trip through America, but as they stop for gas in White Township, Bryce becomes haunted by ghostly apparitions of murdered African-Americans. As the sun sets, the police target Bryce because “his kind isn’t wanted here.” Butler puts a whole lot of heart into this short as he tackles an already brutal and terrifying topic, but he weaves in horror in an attempt to create the unease and fear black people encounter every day.
NEW FLESH FOR THE OLD CEREMONY
Set in the backwoods of New England, a lesbian couple lives an idyllic life until one of them is killed by their dogs. Already living an isolated existence, the surviving wife does not so much slip but absolutely collapses into grief. Not only loneliness, but extreme levels of betrayal occur because the pets they loved and cared for violently ripped them apart. Director Elizabeth Rakhilkina starts her film with a passionate bout of lovemaking and then the blissful happiness disappears as the couple becomes destroyed. The change from such joy to extreme anguish creates a jarring transformation in the tone and atmosphere of the film and quickly leads to a shocking and grotesque ending.
If the opening tagline “There are only two genders: monster fuckers and cowards” does not intrigue you, then this film is not for you. Kaye Adelaide and Mariel Scammel tell the story of a trans lesbian sculptress who has a hot and heavy roll in the hay with her monster sculpture. Shot in 16mm, the scene opens on our hero growing exasperated with the dating scene and instead finds comfort and sexual pleasure in her clay creation. Never has a sex scene between a human and a statue offered so much heart and humor.
All the shorts featured in the QUEER HORROR Shorts Block played at the 2022 Final Girls Berlin Film Festival!