In a recent profile with The New York Times, Jason Blum — the producer behind Get Out, Jordan Peele’s massively popular 2017 thriller about a young black man who faces a terrifying form of racism in a predominantly white suburb — announced that one of his followup projects will be a horror film about black lesbians living in the ‘burbs, directed by Dee Rees.
Rees, an openly lesbian black woman, would do great with queer material. After all, she directed two parts of Dustin Lance Black’s LGBTQ rights mini-series When We Rise as well as the black lesbian dramas Bessie starring Queen Latifah and Pariah.
Here’s how Dees pitched her lesbian horror concept to Blum:
“You’ve got me and my wife, two black lesbians, and when we first moved in, we fought every day over all these little things: ‘Why is this over there? Did you move that?’ Maybe it was a ghost. Or maybe it was some other force—like us not wanting to be there or fitting in.”
She added that her film would be low-budget with a tiny cast and one location (a small town similar to the one where she has lived for the last year). Blum agreed to take on the project. He excels at turning low-budget horror film into cash cows. For example, Get Out had a production budget of $4.8 million and has made nearly $200 million so far.
So we’re excited about the project for several reasons
Here are the top 5 things we’re looking forward to…
1. A horror film finally led by a lesbian woman of color
For a genre that tends to quickly kill off its characters of color and overly sexualize its female leads for heterosexual male viewers, it’ll be nice to see a queer black woman leading an entire feature-length film alongside her romantic partner, something we’ve honestly never seen in a horror or thriller.
2. A new entry in the lesbian horror cannon
Right now, horror and thriller genres only have a few long-lasting entries with lesbian themes: There are Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1950) in which a housekeeper psychologically torments a young newlywed; Les Diaboliques (1954) where two women plan a murder gone wrong; Single White Female (1992) which follows the descent of an obsessed roommate; Heavenly Creatures (1994), Peter Jackson’s fantastical recreation of a real-life 1950s murderess couple; The Addiction (1995), a dark satire that uses female vampires to illustrate the necessity of modern-day slaughter; Mulholland Drive (2001), a neo-noir involving an amnesiac and her not-so-innocent blonde lover; and Black Swan (2010) a shadowy psychodrama about an infantilized ballerina getting in touch with her dark sexual side.
Dees’ new film could well prove a modern day classic for the lesbian thriller genre.
3. Even more cutting-edge racial politics
Get Out managed to allude to white-washing, cultural appropriation, racial fetishization, slavery, micro-aggressions and police violence all within an entertaining 104-minute movie without any heavy-handed moralizing.
A lesbian of color horror film could handily tackle any of those topics as well as misogynoir, lesbophobia, gender stereotypes, the male gaze, reproductive rights, bodily autonomy and any other number of “women’s issues” that affect us all.
It may be too much to expect a single film to address all those, but at the very least we’d love to see Dees’ film skewer the all-too-common trope of the helpless damsel who needs a male knight in shining armor to save her.
4. More queer horror projects for mainstream audiences
We’ve heard anecdotes from several aspiring writers and directors that producers will often shy away from overtly LGBTQ stories because they think such projects will be controversial or perform poorly among mostly straight audiences.
But if Dee’s movie hits big (with Blum’s help), it could prove that there’s a real hunger for LGBTQ horror projects and possibly help elevate other aspiring queer horror films.
There’s actually lots of gay horror movies, but we rarely hear about them because their low production values or small-scale releases keep them unknown by all but the biggest queer horror fans.
5. It’s not just another boring reboot
It’ll be refreshing to see an original horror film onscreen. I mean, how many Spider-Man reboots do we need, really?