There are plenty of homoerotic horror films—there are even documentaries about homoerotic horror films. But when it comes to actually canon queer stories told via that beloved genre, there aren’t a lot. Sure, there’s Hellbent, and Hulu’s recent Midnight Kiss. But when it comes to actually telling a queer narrative within the confines of horror, the offerings are few and far between.
That’s why Shudder’s Spiral immediately sounded promising. Not only does it center on new-in-town gay couple Aaron and Malik, but the crux of the film rests on them being gay in the mid 1990s. A movie about gay characters where their sexuality is actually integral to the plot, and the writer didn’t simply swap in another man for a woman in a relationship? That’s progress!
So the fact that Spiral is actually a smart, incisive, genuinely frightening movie with something to get off its chest about the American way of life is just gravy. Horror fans know all too well the kind of bargains we strike with the films we love: Give us enough to enjoy, and we’ll forgive the botched landing or confused finale every time. Spiral manages to mostly stick the landing, itself a rare enough phenomenon within the genre that it bears mentioning.
So if you’re tired of Nightmare on Elm Street 2 or Sleepaway Camp or even Stranger by the Lake, give Spiral a whirl. It may make you think twice about 80s hits CDs.