In the 1980s, sex was the quickest way to an early death in the cycle of slasher films that dominated the horror offerings of the decade. Just ask Kevin Bacon, who left the original Friday the 13th under those exact circumstances. “I had sex before marriage and smoked a joint,” the actor tells Yahoo Entertainment of his early role in the well-known 1980s horror favorite. “Once those two things happen, you’re dead!” (Watch our video interview above.)
Flash forward to 2022, and society is collectively more informed about the “Sex = death” metaphor that underlies so many vintage slasher photos. But we still struggle with what movies look like A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge and sleeping camp represented LGBTQ stories in ways that have been variously described as homophobic or secretly progressive. With his new slasher homage, she she – which will premiere on August 5 on Peacock and star Bacon brutally in a key role – writer/director John Logan says he specifically seeks such ambiguity.
“We have a long cinematic tradition of celebrating and enjoying every aspect of heterosexual sex,” says the Oscar-nominated writer of gladiator and the kite say. “It’s still so far away from the mainstream to have queer sex. One of the things that” she she tries to do is celebrate gay life in all its exuberant romance, eroticism and passion. There’s sex everywhere in the cycle of ’80s slasher films, and to reclaim some of that for the queer audience was certainly one of the motives behind this film.”
Logan is a gay man himself who says he “slowly” revealed his sexuality during his college days in the early 1980s, around the same time he Friday the 13th premiere in theaters. “It wasn’t cool to come out back then,” he recalls. “It was dangerous and scary for me. But after I went to college and then into the theater community, I realized, ‘Oh my god – there are other gay people in the world!’ After that I felt more comfortable but it’s still a challenge and one of the reasons I wanted to make this movie is that gay and trans kids today can see it and know that there are other people like she.”
she she certainly groundbreaking as it is the first Blumhouse-produced slasher film to feature an almost entirely LGBTQ cast, led by its non-binary star, Theo Germaine. The actor plays Jordan, one of several teenage campers whose parents sent them to Whistler Camp – a gay conversion camp overseen by Owen Whistler (Bacon). Of course, Jordan and their newfound friends aren’t forced to change their authentic selves at all, but surviving a week in the camp proves harder than expected when a lurking killer begins to claim trophies.
Germaine calls their presence in the film a “huge win” that they would like to see act as a “gateway” for other non-binary and trans performers. “That’s very important to me,” they say. “I hope the stories in this film inspire people to write different and better characters who also fall under the transparent umbrella.”
Logan, for his part, says finding Germaine was a happy ending to a difficult casting quest. “The movie starts and ends on Jordan’s face, and from the moment I found Theo, I knew I had found the actor for the part. They have such sensitivity, openness and intelligence, and they remained my human measure. while filming.”
While Whistler Camp may be a fictional destination, there are a number of real-life gay conversion camps in the American wilderness, and their presence is a harsh reminder of the prejudice and bigotry that the country’s LGBTQ population continues to face. Logan says the reality of conversion therapy is almost scarier than anything he could imagine for the movie. “We’re doing an extreme horror version of it, but it doesn’t go much further than the things I’ve heard happening, which is blood-curdling. But one of the things we do in the cinema and especially in horror movies is we provoke ideas .”
As a father, Bacon says he struggles with the idea of other parents rejecting their children for expressing their sexual identity. (Bacon has two grown children with his wife, Kyra Sedgwick.) “There’s a long history of forcing kids into boxes, whether it’s based on something cultural or religious,” he notes. “I think you have to hope that as a society we grow and learn from that. With our kids, we’ve really tried our best to say, ‘Okay, you can do your own thing and find out. “It worked for our kids, but it’s tough.”
Some of the film’s young cast had first-hand experience with the religious boxes Bacon describes. Growing up, Austin Crute recalls being subjected to Christian media such as Psalty the Singing Song Book and VeggieTales who left ‘afraid of everything’. Compared to those horrific creations, the actor thought it was making she she to be an almost PG-rated experience. “When I saw that there was LGBTQ representation in a movie and in a genre that I had never seen before…I was here for the ride.”
she she premieres on Peacock in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to undo it Roe v. Wade, which put a renewed spotlight on how the conservative majority of the court — as well as the more extreme wing of the Republican Party — might try to change hard-won LGBTQ rights, including same-sex marriage. “I can’t think of a better time to release this film because gay rights are being challenged in ways that were unimaginable to me five years ago,” Logan says. “To tell a story about empowerment and celebrating difference seems like a worthwhile endeavor and very timely.”
she shethe young cast similarly sees the film as an answer to the call to face potential oppression. “Complacency is death, so we have to recognize what’s going on,” notes Monique Kim. “People say, ‘Oh, it’s never going to happen,’ but look what just happened to the… [Roe v. Wade] pronunciation. It’s a precedent that’s been around for decades, and if that can be turned around, what’s next? We need to take this very seriously and nip it in the bud while we still can.”
When asked if they’re concerned about the future of LGBTQ rights, Germaine admits it’s a constant concern. “There are a lot of bad guys who don’t like us and don’t want us to have rights,” they say. “I have stronger words that I won’t say because it’s foul language! But that also makes me all the more excited and inspired to work on something like this. It’s a project that takes away the terror and fear that queer people experience very seriously… and you see that these are real people with real hearts and souls who need to be protected, I hope someone who doesn’t support us will see the film and say, “You know what? I need to change my ways.” ‘”
— Video produced by Kat Vasquez and edited by
she she premieres on August 5 on Peacock