When Joshua Cross emerged from his closet, he came with a grisly swarm of serial killers, ghosts, witches, trolls and demons. Now he’s bent on introducing the rest of us to his gruesome gang.
Cross has been watching horror films nonstop since he was 13 years old, well before he knew he was gay. Years later, when he came out of the closet, he was able to draw a connection between his homosexuality and his longstanding enthusiasm for spooky movies. “In the world of film, horror is very on the outside and controversial. The queer community is the same sort of thing, where you’re on the outside, and people are interested but unsure whether they enjoy or are repulsed by you,” he says.
More recently, when he discovered that many of his queer friends enjoy the same movies, Cross decided to rewatch them and try to understand what the queer appeal is in such movies. The connection is often clear. “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge is completely about coming to terms with your sexuality. But apparently when they filmed it, nobody had any idea. The writer apparently did it as subtext, but when you watch it, there’s nothing subtext about it,” he says.
He was inspired to organize Queer Fear, a recurring event dedicated to screening horror movies with queer appeal. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 was the first movie screened. To celebrate the first anniversary of Queer Fear, Cross will show the 1988 comedy horror film Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. The film is about Elvira, a TV horror hostess who moves to a conservative town, where her sex appeal and good nature make her popular among the local teenagers, resulting in a “To Wong Foo thing, which flips everything upside down, and the kids rebel.”
The evening’s celebrations will also include performances by Igby Lizzard and Judy Virago.