Book Review: “Out in the Dark,” Sean Abley

Sean Abley‘s Out in the Dark: Interviews with Gay Horror Filmmakers, Actors and Authors is a complete education. It’s both for those who know a bit about queer horror and those looking to get informed. Talking to Hollywood queer genre royalty and underrated fringe contributors alike, Fangoria’s Abley (of the newly resuscitated Gay Of The Dead!) manages to pack dollups of camp – and much research! – into this new, delightful resource.

For reasons other than great entertainment value, you should pick it up because the marketplace needs gay horror. A collection of interviews (equal parts casual fun and passion/anger) from the present and near past with working creatives that overall gives hardworking authors, actors, writers, and directors a hub, when they would otherwise be marginalized, ignored, killed, etc. DON’T WE LOVE THAT?

DELIGHTFUL HIGHLIGHTS:

  • There are some WONderfully deranged, totally passionate, underpaid authors who get a spotlight here, guys who will shock you, then delight you, then prompt hours of researching and reading. Take note of Robert Dunbar and Alan Kelly, who in America and Ireland have been spreading violent plagues of fiction and delighting readers – and themselves (it’s lots of fun). You may have never heard of them, so sit back and be inducted.
  • There’s delirious fun to be had in chats with drag-performer-directors Alan Rowe Kelly and Josh Grannell/Peaches Christ. It becomes clear that a modern queer horror entertainer can be a godly entity making hate-crime splatter-dramas out of sheer angry necessity, or a San Francisco camp punk with a love for spectacles and homage. Independent filmmaking for them is a refreshing, radical and politically charged extravaganza in a unique, untouchable world of its own.

  • Big hitters Don Mancini and Jeffrey Reddick chime in, raving over items like Brian De Palma’s significance for gay kids, not unlike the fanboys who worship their work. Mancini wrote every Chucky sequel and increasingly queered the SHIT out of them, especially with Seed; Reddick made it his firm goal to avoid homophobia even in the ‘90s teen horror stampede. Here they discuss their tribulations with and triumphs over studio conservatism, and it’s gratifying.

“Out in the Dark” essentially brands 2005-2009 as the New Queer Horror Wave and calls upon the era’s breakout independent directors and actors to answer, “WHY?” and “HOW?” did this burgeoning of content happen. Festival favorites and virtual content factories Bruce LaBruce, Tim Sullivan, Glenn McQuaid, Richard Marr Griffin and more (MAH BOSS Jeffrey Schwarz!) support, cheerlead, and dissect.

Quite excellently, Abley also includes choice upcoming filmmakers, leveling the playing field, giving us guys like (CAMPBLOOD CONTRIBUTOR!) Armando Munoz to watch and seriously look forward to, as gay horror media branches out into its unpredictable chaos of 2014 and beyond, kinda really blurring that mainstream/fringe border more each week…

Now – someone needs to compile a book on gay women in horror, a much needed analysis and nice companion piece to Abley’s epic assortment, awaiting its sister. ARE YOU THERE, GUIN TURNER? IT’S ME, MARGARET.

Get the book here!

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About Ross

Ross studied film at Emerson while working for indie producers, and he critiques shit from a queer POV here and @GingerBredhaus. He also produced 2015 gay horror slasher comedy YOU'RE KILLING ME and creates immersive theater in NYC.