Shudder’s Queer for Fear Looks Thoughtful and Wildly Entertaining

Shudder’s Queer for Fear Looks Thoughtful and Wildly Entertaining

You can’t be too surprised, considering the fact that Shudder previously made the excellent Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror, but the streamer’s latest documentary series looks like it’ll be a must-watch. Executive produced by Bryan Fuller (Hannibal), Queer for Fear examines the horror genre through an LGBTQ+ lens. After the series’ San Diego Comic-Con panel, Shudder released a lengthy clip from the first episode, which you can watch here!

“The documentary, when it was initiated, was a movie,” Fuller told the SDCC audience. “As we got further into the interviews and all of these different people’s points of view on horror stories and how they saw themselves in different ways represented by monsters and psychopaths, we realised that 90 minutes was just not enough to cover all of the material. So Shudder, in support of us, said that we should become a [multi-episode] series. Every episode has a thematic unifying idea. The first episode is about queer storytellers… the foundational queer storytellers that created the horror genre,” including the screenwriters who penned Hitchcock films and Frankenstein director James Whale, as well as figures in literature like Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, and Oscar Wilde. “The second episode is exploring the queer thematics that we all relate to, whether it’s werewolves, or cat people, or body snatchers, or zombies … it starts to build a vocabulary for the audience of, yes we’ve all looked at these movies as scary films, but there’s something much deeper and personal and queer about the impact they’ve had.”

Beyond that, the four-part series will dig into “the ‘lavender scare’ alien invasion films of the mid-20th century to the AIDS obsessed bloodletting of 80s vampire films; through genre-bending horrors from a new generation of queer creators; Queer for Fear re-examines genre stories through a queer lens, seeing them not as violent, murderous narratives, but as tales of survival that resonate thematically with queer audiences everywhere,” according to a Shudder press release.

Fuller is well aware, now and while it was being made, that Queer for Fear is treading new territory in the documentary world. “I think we all took it very seriously,” he said. “I recognised that if there was a version of this documentary that wasn’t up to snuff, it would hurt future documentaries, or it would limit perception because that’s where we are with any sort of story that’s marginalised. You don’t get the chances that perhaps more normative storytellers do if you fail … Shudder knew they had to back this project in a way that allowed greater access and a higher calibre of story being told, because if you tell this story right, it helps other queer storytellers … So everybody was cognisant of ‘We have to do this right.’ And that’s why it’s been taking so long!”

The wait’s almost over: Queer for Fear arrives September 29 on Shudder.

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