We’re blessed with another long weekend and this time it’s for the Queen’s birthday, which means it’s time for a movie and TV show marathon.
As an Indigenous person, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of celebrating colonial monarchies, so instead I’m going to celebrate this long weekend with my favourite on-screen queens. Minus the colonisation.
I like to make Gizmodo Movie Night different from the expected movie round-ups that you normally see around, so I wanted to take this opportunity to make this a list of TV shows and movies with different types of queens.
To me, a queen is someone who makes a mark and leaves a legacy. In history, Kings often were given titles and were expected to rule, whereas Queens had to fight their way there, and had to continue to fight to stay on the throne. That’s inspiring to me. So I want to bring this concept to on-screen queens who have had to persevere through a lot of shit to leave their legacy.
Let’s dive in.
RuPaul’s Drag Race
I mean, c’mon. What else would you expect from me?
If we are talking about queens in TV shows and movies, I have to include this one.
RuPaul is the self proclaimed Queen of Drag whose legacy will live on forever. It’s not hard to imagine how hard a young queer person of colour had to fight to make it out of their small town and create a name for themselves.
For those of you who don’t know, RuPaul’s Drag Race is a reality competition series where drag queens compete to win the coveted title of the World’s Next Drag Race Superstar. It’s the perfect show.
Having queer talent and stories be showcased at such a global level is something that took a lot of trailblazing to get to and the show is still breaking barriers. Especially given we are living in a world where it seems like we are going backwards in inclusivity for LGBTQIA+ people. We can’t ignore the legacy that RuPaul has created and is largely responsible for giving a platform to the drag queens who have found global fame.
Check this out if you want to know which seasons you should start with. There’s even an Aussie season.
Every single season of RuPaul’s Drag Race on Stan.
Queen Of The Damned (2000)
I actually haven’t seen Queen Of The Damned so I asked Gizmodo Australia Editor, Asha, to share her thoughts:
Aaliyah ran so Kristen Stewart could walk. Before Twilight, vampire flicks weren’t as mainstream and Queen Of the Damned filled that void for many a millennial.
This 2002 vampire film is loosely based on the third novel of Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles (side shoutout for Anne Rice being a gothic queen herself). It wasn’t the most well-received movie, but Queen Of the Damned actually came out after Aaliyah’s passing, with all of her scenes shot prior to the tragedy.
The plot is pretty…let’s just say it’s interesting.
Vampire Lestat is awakened from decades of slumber by the music of a heavy band then decides to take over as the band’s singer. Lestat reveals to the world that vampires exist and he is later saved by Akasha (Aaliyah). Lestat becomes spellbound by Akasha and is forced to obey her (queen behaviour). Oh, she also has a plan to take over the world and kill the queen, by drinking from her and draining her of her blood.
Slay, Aaliyah. You’re the real on-screen queen in Queen Of the Damned.
Queen Of The Damned is currently streaming on Prime Video.
The Queens Gambit (2020)
If you’ve seen The Queen’s Gambit you’d know that Beth Harmon goes through a lot to leave her legacy as one of the greatest chess players of all time.
You’d also know that she is more than deserving to be on our list of queens in TV shows and movies.
From birth, Beth has had to navigate intense trauma that no child should ever have to go through. On top of that, she has to navigate being a woman in the male dominated world of chess.
Throughout The Queen’s Gambit, we see how Beth is haunted by her past and her present but still fights to survive because that’s all she’s ever known how to do. That makes a pretty strong queen in my opinion.
Not only do we get to see the iconic o- screen queen, Beth, but we actually get to see the physical Queen chess piece. So isn’t that fun for us?
The Queen’s Gambit is currently streaming on Netflix.
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
How could I not put Queen in a list about queens in movies and TV shows?
Bohemian Rhapsody follows the life of the musical powerhouse that is Freddie Mercury and his iconic band Queen. As a band, Queen broke a lot of stereotypes when it came to how men should be presented and how they should perform.
From music videos to live performances, Queen quickly became a global household name not only because of their incredible talent and mesmerising songs, but mostly because Freddie Mercury was a rarity.
What was refreshing about Queen was that Freddie was just being Freddie. There was no PR stunts, no trying to fit into a mould. Whatever Freddie wanted to wear, sing, say or do, he did. Like the others on this list, Freddie went through a great deal as he grappled with his upbringing, ego, sexuality and his tragic HIV/AIDS illness.
Freddie means a great deal to the queer community so a movie about his life is more than deserving to be on this list amongst other powerful queens.
Bohemian Rhapsody is currently streaming on Disney+.
The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert (1994)
It’s easy to forget (if you aren’t part of the LGBTQIA+ community) that Australia has a very dark past with queer acceptance, so having this movie be made and be so widely successful is a miracle in of itself.
This movie is stacked up with queens. We’ve got two travelling drag queens, one iconic trans queen and queen Priscilla, the bus.
Just like the other queens from movies and TV shows we’ve mentioned on this list, each one of the characters in Priscilla has gone through a fuck tonne of trauma, abuse, homophobia and transphobia.
Yet, they all leave the most iconic legacy. Being three drag legends who drove from Sydney to central Australia in a pink RV.
And it’s so special because it’s Aussie. It’s our story and it’s our history. I think that’s something we can all be very proud of.
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is streaming on Prime Video.
Gizmodo Movie Night is our fortnightly roundup of movie and TV recommendations for the weekend. If you’re ever stuck and looking for inspiration, check out our list and see what’s in store.
Stay tuned for the next edition of the column and check out our last one which was dedicated to ranking all of the James Bond movies.