Queer For Fear Episodes 3 & 4 Review: Horror Will Always Be Queer
Shudder's Queer for Fear gave excellent clarity and insight into the depth of queer experiences in monster, vampire, and femme fatale horror films. The last two episodes of the docuseries had two clear goals for the last two episodes of the docuseries examining the hidden parts of your queer identity and perspectives when looking at yourself represented on screen, whether good or bad.
Queer for Fear walked the path of classic monsters from the early days of horror but specifically focused on films such as The Wolf Man and Cat People. Having love and deep respect for the foundational films of horror, this third episode brought out some truly unique points of view regarding the alienation felt by these characters when hiding what waited inside them. The recognition of parallel historical and social events alongside the horror industry was greatly important to recognize and showed just how much McCarthyism of the 1950s had impacted the queer community. The terror of judgment, isolation, and potential physical harm reflected itself on screen.
The inclusion of werewolf films like Ginger Snaps in the discussion was great to see included. The story being able to be looked at through the lenses of trans experiences, puberty, and other aspects of change in both queer and gendered lives, became a fantastic talking point. The other aspect of the third episode included the topic of aliens and one film, in particular, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Queer for Fear was amazing for discussing another fantastic and intriguing film that combined horror and sci-fi in such intricate ways. My personal favorite amongst the remakes of the film will always be from 1978. The fear of conformity or being outed continues to show itself in horror today, and it can be seen so clearly in films like Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
There's a continued invitation of voices and experiences in those interviewed for Queer for Fear in pretty much every episode, but I found myself loving the final episode's set of interviewees. That focus on Carmilla and the origin of the lesbian vampire in horror was profound and so important to discuss. These are often topics lost in the dialogue surrounding horror or film history. I would have loved this episode to include films like Jennifer's Body or Teeth, but there's so much in the horror genre that can make examining its queer history so daunting. It was absolutely fascinating listening to the history of lesbian vampires in horror. It's definitely a topic so important not only to horror but to the depiction of queer women in media.
Another important aspect of the last episode included the discussion of the villainization of queer women in horror that develops complicated feelings. The joy in knowing you're represented on screen versus the horror of being the villain or monster needing to be killed is a grueling intersection to address. This episode did a good job of recognizing the ups and downs of seeing yourself in these stories. It felt as if there was much more to discuss at the end of the episode, which wasn't a fault with the episode itself but instead with the lack of time given to expanding upon such a large history in horror.
Queer for Fear truly should have received more episodes than these four. The history they wish to examine is so extensive that it makes containing it a very difficult task. For the amount of time given to look at the queer history in horror, the series did a fantastic job overall. There's evident love and admiration for the genre and community in these last two episodes. The series brings up the need for more content just like this on Shudder and other networks. I'm hopeful for other dives into the experiences of other parts of the LGBTQIA community in horror after this docuseries. These last two episodes excellently capture the complexities of horror's absolutely innate queerness.