Now then, take my hand as I sit on my Wayback Couch and travel to the mysterious and exotic year known as “1985.” Before Married With Children, before The Big Gay Sketch Show and before she was out, actress/director Amanda Bearse starred in the cult fave horror comedy Fright Night. Amy Peterson (Bearse) might be sweethearts with nice guy Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale), but before long she finds herself on the dance floor being seduced by charismatic vampire Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon).
IS THAT A THREE-FOOT POWER DRILL, OR ARE YOU JUST HAPPY TO SEE ME?
Guinevere Turner isn’t the only lesbian/bisexual woman to work behind the scenes of horror films. Before she began writing mystery novels with her cat, noted feminist and lesbian Rita Mae Brown penned the screenplay for The Slumber Party Massacre (1982), a slasher film that both satirizes and typifies the subgenre.
The film, also known as How Many Vaguely Lesbian Handywomen and Utility Workers Can One Town Possibly Have?, walks the line (or rather, leaps back and forth across the line) between exploitation and social commentary as a sweaty male killer brandishes a massive power drill against a house full of teenage girls. He mutters date-rape speak as he faces off with the Final Girl (“C’mon baby, you know you want it”), but she manages to save herself by turning the tables and castrating an inch or two from his drill.
For all the girl power subtext, however, there are also plenty of horror film stereotypes (your average nudity, lengthy shower scenes and the like). In all honesty, Slumber Party Massacre features more bare breasts than any other slasher film that comes to my mind, and it’s written and directed by women. So does the movie play into male fantasy, or is it all “feminist” somehow because it’s created by women? Check out the trailer (Warning: NSFW!) and decide for yourself. Ultimately, Slumber Party Massacre proves that there’s nothing inherently wrong with mixing sex and horror.
NOTHING SAYS LESBIAN HORROR LIKE CAMPING
Out director Sharon Ferranti has called her lesbian slasher flick Make A Wish (2002) “quintessentially lesbo,” and that’s absolutely appropriate, right down to the fashion. Birthday girl Susan (Moynan King), who’s slightly cranky, sporting a straw hat and definitely the outdoorsy type, has invited a bevy of ex-girlfriends along for a weekend of camping, hiking, tent-hopping and bickering.
Among her exes, there’s the one who’s “straight” now; there’s the one who chants, casts spells and most likely smells of patchouli; there’s the rich bitch femme who thinks camping is stupid; there’s the athletic, butchy one who makes out with everybody; there’s the “aggressive vegetarian” who laments the lack of soy milk and wheat germ before she meets the pointy end of the killer’s knife.
This blend of Friday the 13th and Go Fish is refreshing in that the lesbians in the film look like, well, lesbians — not the silicon-enhanced kind that one often finds in horror films. Make a Wish is definitely for lesbians, by lesbians. The bad news, however, is that this flick isn’t nearly as scary as either Friday the 13th or Go Fish.
Though it’s dazzlingly inept as a horror film, Make a Wish is worth seeing strictly for the novelty factor, kind of like paying to see a three-headed goat. It’s not life-changing, necessarily, but it’s something to talk about with your friends (I mean, it is a lesbian slasher movie, after all). Your conversation might go something like this:
You: So last night I watched this lesbian slasher flick.
Your Friend: Oh yeah?
You: Yeah. Hey, do you have any gum?