Bryan Fuller, Steak House, and Kimberly Peirce of 'Queer for Fear' Discuss LGBTQ+ Voices in Horror

Bryan Fuller, Steak House, and Kimberly Peirce of 'Queer for Fear' Discuss LGBTQ+ Voices in Horror ...

Queer for Fear, a new horror series from Shudder, is ready to show you how deeply embedded LGBTQ+ people have been in the genre since its inception. Kimberly Peirce, a former queer horror consultant who wrote and directed Boys Don't Cry and the 2013 remake of Carrie, was fantastic to meet with the producers.

Since its inception, Shudder has expanded to include marginalized voices within the genre. In 2021, Shudder brought us Horror Noire, which examines the history of Black people in horror films, to queer actors and creatives who continue to influence the genre today.

We discussed the importance of LGBTQ+ voices in media and some of the interviews featured in Queer for Fear, including commentary from Peirce, Oz Perkins, the cast of Yellowjackets, and others. We also discussed why horror, in particular, is so often queer, their favorite queer experiences in horror, and their favorite horror films.

COLLIDER: This is a fantastic documentary. It's a film that was written for me as a queer person who got married on Halloween last year. So what motivated you to bring this guy to life, so to speak?

BRYAN FULLER: Well, the monster was created out of Shudder's desire to illustrate the horror genre from the viewpoints of marginalized individuals. They had this incredible documentary called Horror Noire, which is a collection of short stories about the history of Black people in horror films. And they knew they wanted to do a sequel about the queer community.

Queer for Fear has so many exciting interviews, from Alaska's drag queen on the cover, to Jennifer's Body director, Karyn Kusama. What are you most excited about in the series?

STEAK HOUSE: Kim Peirce was fantastic.

Yes, of course!

KIMBERLY PEIRCE: I am standing here. What are you going to say?

HOUSE: I mean, there are so many people out there. It's difficult to narrow it down. I think we had the cast of Yellowjackets. A bunch of them came in and it was super fun. And I really enjoyed... Oh, shoot. My brain's blanking out on the name. James was a great interview. He's like he's really fought back the new queer cinema movement.

FULLER: I think one of the greatest surprises we got from interviewees was Oz Perkins talking about his father's legacy and how he handled Hollywood and his family in a very intimate way. I've never seen anything like it before. We were so blessed to be able to have that conversation with Anthony Perkins in a way that really gave dimension to his experience as a closeted actor in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.

We're often drawn to genre fiction, sci-fi, horror, etc., so what do you think makes horror so universally queer?

PEIRCE: Well, all being monsters, I don't know if I speak for them. However, I think when you do not fit naturally into that normativity, particularly in previous generations, when you're young, and you don't see a reflection of yourself, you become very adept at looking between the lines and figuring out, "Oh, I think that might be me."

So I can just say for myself, I'm trans, butch, genderqueer, homosexual, or anything. And so I've discovered that by talking to these guys who've done this fantastic documentary and seeing all these incredible interviews, I'm discovering my tribe. That all these layers of being able to see ourselves in ourselves and to read ourselves into existence are going to make you a legend. And then we can all learn about the horrors that we all face.

We look for representation where it isn't or where it's hidden between the lines, as you have mentioned. Was there a particular moment in pop culture, a movie, television series, or even a character that helped you realize your own queerness along the way?

HOUSE: I don't know if watching Scream helped me realize my own queerness, but I feel like this is something different from all of the other films I've seen. And Kevin Williamson, who is a gay writer, is involved in it. So the gayness is there even though it's not necessarily part of the narrative. I was like, "Oh, I like horror again."

PEIRCE: Jekyll and Hyde, if you're what I was, which is a young, bisexual lesbian who was genderqueer, trans, butch, and the idea that I'm going to dress up one way and I'm going to be a successful doctor, but then I'll go out at night. Frankenstein is a completely queer experience, but it's a beautiful monster and a vulnerable monster at the same time. That's why we love these films so

FULLER: In one of our interviews with a trans woman who talked about the first time she saw herself in horror was The Exorcist, because she was a young girl whose body was taken over by a male presence in the form of puberty. She had to wrestle with that identity for 20 years until she recovered her true gender.

When people finally see it, would you say you're most excited for them to take away from this documentary?

HOUSE: I want people to think about what it is to have queer community and community that surrounds you and people that you can relate to, and also to have this out there for people who are experiencing difficulties in the world who don't have a community or a place to live, and to enthuse everybody.

Yes, it is!

PEIRCE: I think it's really important to imagine yourself into existence. I think go ahead and project yourself onto those texts, which was what we all had to do. And then I think it's just like find your tribe because your tribe's all gone. I've known [Bryan] forever. And it's just like, oh my God, this is so fun. You keep bringing up Scream because that was not my experience.

FULLER: I think our main aim with this is to provide a way for the audience to express what they were feeling that might not be verbal, and to allow the genre to be owned in a way that's sometimes very horror bro-y and very heteronormative in a sense, whether it's Mary Shelley, or Oscar Wilde, or James Whale, or any of the many other writers who collaborated with [Alfred] Hitchcock. There were always people who were obli

Yes, I find myself saying all the time that horror belongs to gay people. I'm really looking forward to this docuseries. Let's just say we've all had a great time.

FULLER: I'm a fan of The Shining and Alien. Both films have some coding. There's definitely something very relatable for a lot of people who identify as queer or special or abnormal, and Danny's experience dealing with an abusive father who wants to hide what is special or unique about Danny has always resonated with me.

PEIRCE: Yeah, for me, it's definitely The Shining and Scatman Crothers and Danny finding... [Peirce is interrupted by a gust of wind]. Whoa, that's a terrible thing. We know that we're here, and something's happening.

There are definitely ghosts under the table.

PEIRCE: I don't know. Scatman Crothers when he discusses the shine. It's just this notion of these two people who seem very different, but nevertheless have this special ability and it's a perception. Again, you have to discover your tribe. And that's what he's doing.

HOUSE: And I think I'm really excited about now, where we're getting to see series that are made by women, with women in it, and clearly queer, like Yellowjackets and Killing Eve things that I didn't get to see as a young person. But for me, in the last five years, they're suddenly becoming more relevant because it's actually made by women.

Thank you so much for coming to us and chatting to us. I cannot wait to see the Shudder docuseries this fall.

On September 29, Queer for Fear will launch on Shudder. You can see a sneak peek clip down below: