In the Queers in Horror series, I will highlight genre films that feature prominent queer characters or themes. Some of these films will be wildly popular while others may not have as big of a spotlight on them as other films. So brace yourself… for the Queers in Horror.
Film: THE QUIET ROOM
Release Year: 2019
Who’s In It: Jamal Douglass, Lisa Wilcox, Chris Salvatore, Alaska Thunderfuck, Barkley Harper and Kit Williamson
What’s It About: After a failed suicide attempt, Michael (Jamal Douglass) reluctantly begins to make friends in the psych ward where he wakes up. Fellow patients Hunter (Kit Williamson), Joe (Chris Salvatore), and Rachel (Barkley Harper) explain the hospital’s urban legend – a malevolent entity named Hattie haunts their halls, latching herself to patients who attempt suicide but don’t leave a note. When Michael becomes Hattie’s next target, he must stop her before she kills everyone he makes a connection with.
What Makes This Movie So Gay? Queer representation in horror is still a rare thing. While the genre has always had coded queer characters or straight characters engaging in a cat and mouse scenario manifesting itself as homoeroticsm (I’m looking directly at you HITCHER) having a horror movie center around an openly gay or queer character is still a rarity. It’s especially a great find when that character’s sexuality isn’t the base of the film’s horror. THE QUIET ROOM’s main character is a gay man suffering from survivor’s guilt after the death of his boyfriend. He engages in a cautiously flirtatious relationship with a fellow patient while being stalked by Hanna, played by Rupaul’s Drag Race All-Stars winner, Alaska Thunderfuck. The rest of the film is filled out with mostly (but not all) queer performers, including fellow Drag Race alum, Katya.
Is This Movie Any Good? With a run time of 28 minutes what’s not to love? The acting was pretty solid, the characters were likable, the film was never dull and there were moments of genuine terror. The last third of the film shifted gears and became more suspenseful than the first part of the film would suggest. Also, it’s incredibly refreshing to see the lead character as a gay black man and again, his sexuality nor his race being the source of horror. Writer-Director Sam Wineman’s THE QUIET ROOM was an enjoyable and at times touching horror film that I would like to see expanded to a feature film.
THE QUIET ROOM is currently streaming on Shudder.