Pride Month is rapidly winding down, but that doesn’t mean the celebration needs to end. Today, we’re turning the spotlight on an oft-forgotten segment of horror: the bi+ characters. Bisexual heroes and villains have long been part of the genre, even if they’re frequently overlooked or mislabeled in critical reviews as not really being bisexual. But these days, we’re eschewing bi-erasure in favor of proper representation. So in honor of Pride Month, here are seven fabulous bisexual characters in horror.
Theodora in The Haunting
I’ve long contended that Theodora in the original novel, The Haunting of Hill House, is clearly coded as bisexual. She shows obvious interest in Eleanor through the book while also flirting openly with Luke on several occasions. The book was released at the tail end of the deeply conservative 1950s, so unfortunately, Theo’s sexuality is never openly discussed.
Flash forward forty years, and the 1999 film adaptation makes her bisexuality overt. Catherine Zeta-Jones chews the scenery as Theo with Lili Taylor at her side as Eleanor. This particular version, of course, pales in comparison to the previous Robert Wise adaptation, but if you want some campy fun and a very flirtatious version of Theo, then this film is most definitely for you.
Miriam Blaylock in The Hunger
At the moment I’m writing this article, StokerCon was just last weekend. While I was there, I presented on bisexual vampires at the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference, so needless to say, I’ve got beautiful bloodsuckers on the brain. It practically goes without saying that one of the best queer vampire films of all time is The Hunger, and it should therefore also go without saying that the undead heart of that film is Catherine Deneuve’s Miriam Blaylock.
Miriam’s bisexuality has long been erased in critical discussions of the film, despite the fact that she’s alternated between male and female companions for literally centuries, culminating in David Bowie and Susan Sarandon. And who can blame them? After all, if you’re going to spend eternity with anyone, Miriam Blaylock certainly isn’t a terrible choice.
Needy and Jennifer in Jennifer’s Body
Needy and Jennifer’s relationship is among the most toxic female friendships in the horror canon. The rapid and brutal unraveling of their bond is undeniably the central emotional conflict of Jennifer’s Body, and all the best moments involve the two of them together, fighting in ways only lifelong friends can.
Their bedroom kiss and obvious affection for each other are perhaps the most cited aspects of the film, and since they both have relationships with men as well, they undoubtedly belong in the Bisexual Hall of Fame of Horror—which isn’t a real thing but should be.
Queen Katrina in Vamp
First of all, allow me to sing the praises of the 1986 vampire film, Vamp, yet again because it most certainly deserves it. Grace Jones as Queen Katrina is worth the price of admission alone. Now granted, there’s nothing overt to indicate Queen Katrina’s bisexuality, but if you look at the film through a queer-coded lens, then the signals are all there: a close relationship with the dancers at her club, including one particularly seductive and violent encounter with an employee who made a literally fatal error, as well as Katrina’s undeniable bloodlust for the beefy male patrons that come through the door of her club.
And of course, you’ve got the fabulous Grace Jones, a celebrated queer icon, which automatically makes the film feel more welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community. Either way, if you haven’t seen Vamp yet, run, don’t walk, to your streaming queue and remedy that immediately.
Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct
All right, let’s get this out of the way up front: yes, Sharon Stone’s character in Basic Instinct is undeniably problematic in terms of bisexual representation. The role absolutely plays into many stereotypes about bisexuals: namely, that we’re untrustworthy, greedy, and outright dangerous. However, even with all those asterisks next to her inclusion on this list, Catherine remains one of the coolest villains ever in the horror and thriller genres.
And yes, I’m counting Basic Instinct as part of the horror canon: there’s a serial killer wielding an icepick, and an eyeball gets gouged out during the opening scene in a shot that would make the giallo filmmakers proud. While we need to progress past the evil bisexual trope in cinema and literature, Catherine remains an impressive touchstone of sleazy 90s cinema and a diabolical character that spawned dozens of imitations and parodies. A bisexual icon for the ages.
David in The Lost Boys
Let’s do one more vampire, shall we? The Lost Boys doesn’t always immediately come to mind when people think of queer horror films, but all the cues are there—from the close male bonding to the subtle queer touches by openly gay filmmaker Joel Schumacher. Again, like Queen Katrina, David’s bisexuality is queer-coded and therefore not entirely overt—I only vaguely picked up on the hints as a kid watching the movie—but the love triangle between Star, Michael, and David is truly one of the centerpieces of the film. And honestly, Michael and David’s chemistry puts both their chemistry with Star to shame.
At any rate, take this article as an excuse for a foray back to Santa Carla where the vampires and amusement parks are plentiful, and the blood flows long after midnight.