The inherent boundary-pushing horror genre has become a safe harbor for exploring LGBTQ+ themes, and now there is a West Coast Festival that celebrates and provides an avenue for Queer Horror. Come to Portland’s Clinton Street Theater, from August 18-20 for Queer Screams, the inaugural festival from J.T. Seaton, director of the recent laugh-tastic “The Haunted Baby Carriage from Hell” and the former festival director of the New Orleans Horror Film Festival.
The festival comprises three feature films, twenty-eight short films, live drag performances, question and answer sessions with filmmakers in attendance, and live drag shows. In other words, it’s Ron Desantis’ worst nightmare on stage, and The Scariest Things is totally down with that! Scream Queen Lynn Lowry will be in attendance for showings of two important horror movies in which she starred: David Cronenberg’s first feature film, Shivers (1974), and George Romero’s cautionary tale about the military-industrial complex, The Crazies (1973). If you’ve never had a chance to see these on the big screen, now’s your chance! Plus, you can get to meet Lynn Lowry in person. Win-win!
On hand to receive a special award will be director Sam Irvin who will be in attendance to showcase his campy classic Elvira’s Haunted Hills with a percentage of the gate receipts for this showing being donated to local LGBTQ+ charitable causes, which was Elvira’s (Cassandra Petersen) request. So, not only is this entertaining, but it’s for a good cause! And, as is true for most horror film festivals, short films are what really sets the theme for a film festival. These shorts highlight up-and-coming filmmakers (nine of whom are going to be at the theater) and each film is designed to convey a singular condensed concept for your consumption.
J.T. was generous enough to spend some of his time talking with Eric about the festival, his thoughts about what it’s like to produce a start-up film festival, his friendship with Lynn Lowry, what makes a film festival unique and different from just another night at the movies, and what he thinks of the state of Queer Horror in contemporary cinema.
You can get tickets now for the upcoming festival either through the Queer Screams website or the Clinton Street Theater. We hope to see some Scariest Things fans there, and look forward to the latest addition to the Portland Horror Festival scene.