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Queer For Fear’s Filmmakers On The Queerness Of Stephen King’s Work, Specifically Carrie

The horror genre has been a tried and true part of the film industry for years, thanks to the movies’ ability to make money on a small budget. Historically members of the LGBTQ+ community have felt a strong connection to the genre, and all of its bloody spectacle. In fact, that connection is the subject of a new documentary series titled Queer for Fear, with the filmmakers recently speaking to CinemaBlend about the queerness of Stephen King’s work, specifically Carrie.

Queer for Fear is an upcoming documentary series that comes from Shudder (opens in new tab), which examines LGBTQ+ themes throughout horror history. This includes actual queer characters, as well as those that have managed to resonate with queer audiences over the years. As you can see in the video above, three of the filmmakers behind the doc spoke to CinemaBlend during San Diego Comic-Con, where they did a deep dive on Stephen King’s work in particular. Kimberly Peirce, who directed the 2013 Carrie remake, spoke to the queer themes running throughout that beloved story. As she put it,

I would think the relationship with the mother. The relationship with how the mother got pregnant, the relationship of how she looked at that child as this thing that she was terrified of that could kill her in childbirth. Then the child that she imposes all that fear onto, and that become part of how the child lives, but then she has to find herself. I mean, she’s othered, they’re two women living together. It’s a very lesbionic domestic situation.

Points were made. While Carrie is known as the telekinetic prom queen who murdered her clasmates after being doused with pig’s blood, there’s a deeper story happening within the White household. Carrie’s mother sees her daughter as an abomination, with the title character eventually finding her own power and sense of self throughout the novel/movies. And for many LBGTQ+ folks in the audience, that’s a story that’s all too familiar.

Of course, Kimberly Peirce is someone who knows the story of Carrie more than most of us. She had the difficult task of adapting the beloved Stephen King story for the big screen. Peirce had some big shoes to fill considering how iconic the 1976 original movie is. And in the end she found a way to bring the story into the current day, with actress Chloë Grace Moretz playing the title character.

Chloe Grace Moretz covered in blood as Carrie

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Bryan Fuller is another one of the filmmakers behind Queer for Fear, who further explained why Carrie and other Stephen King stories often resonate with LGBTQ+ moviegoers. Namely because they so often are focused on an underdog, who has been bullied in one way or another. He explained,

One of the things that Kim says in her interview on the documentary is that King’s protagonists are often bullied, and coming from a place of being bullied. So that is so relatable to queer people or any marginalized person who doesn’t feel like you belong. You can look at Carrie as a simply pray the gay away narrative. And any other kind of external force that’s seen as evil, that’s occupying a child that you have to pray to remove: that’s a queer narrative.

Like Kimberly Peirce, Bryan Fuller is another person who knows the story of Carrie intimately: he wrote the teleplay for the 2022 made for TV adaptation of the story. While each version of Stephen King’s story were told a bit differently, they all feature a protagonist who is othered by society and tasked with praying away what makes her special. It’s no wonder that so many queer folks have felt a kinship with Carrie White.

Queer for Fear will premiere on Shudder September 29th. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.