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Spooky, Scary, and Supernatural, oh my!

Amy Leibowitz horror media

Ghosts in graveyards. Vampires and were-beasts. Creepy killer clowns. Demons in disguise. Zombies after your brains. Witches, wizards, and warlocks. Unexplained noises and things that go bump in the night.

This was always my favorite time of year. When my kids were younger, we tried to keep Halloween on the lighter side. Not so much now that they’re teenagers. My daughter loves horror, and she reminded me how much I enjoy a good scare.

This past weekend has been a fun one, in terms of the ooky-spooky. We finally went to see IT Chapter 2 in the theater (loved it; highly recommend) and then took a trip to an amusement park for the Fright Fest with kiddo #2’s Girl Scout troop. (She and I had a hard time choosing whether we liked the haunted camp or the demonic hotel better. Both were awesome.)

Horror is sometimes a maligned genre, associated mainly with gore or plain old evil. But it’s complex with a rich history, especially when it comes to LGBTQ+ themes. In fact, The Advocate even compiled a list of horror films popular with LGBTQ+ people. If you have cable, you can watch a documentary on Shudder (the horror channel) about queer history in horror film.

I won’t offer any significant spoilers, but I would now add IT Chapter 2 to the list of good LGBTQ+ horror films. (There is a gay-bashing incident at the beginning of the film, and I’m only mentioning it because it’s graphic, it’s in the opening scene, and some viewers may be sensitive. It’s also in the book and was inspired by a real-life incident. But that isn’t the only way LGBTQ+ themes and issues are worked into the story.)

Horror can be a place to examine, express, and face our fears. And it doesn’t have to be gory or grotesque or full of chainsaw murderers. A lot of horror media is more psychological or suspenseful in nature, relying on what isn’t spoken or written or shown on screen. And like with any genre, the end can be ambiguous, bittersweet, joyful, sad, or chilling. The possibilities for exploration are endless.

What do you think? Do you enjoy the spooky and scary? What’s your favorite horror novel or film?

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