Shudder’s Queer for Fear takes on Hitchcock’s gayest movie ever

By | September 27, 2022

Farley Granger, James Stewart and John Dall in Rope.

Farley Granger, James Stewart and John Dall in String.

Mark Blankenship, editor of Primetimer’s Opinions, is not only a TV fan: he is additionally a film buff. Each occasionally, one thing on the small display will encourage him to jot down a couple of film, which is why Shudder’s Queer for worry impressed this deep dive into String.

Bryan Fuller’s new documentary sequence Queer for worry, premiering Sept. 30 on Shudder, is not only a considerate evaluation of how horror motion pictures embrace queer characters and themes. It is also a treasure hunt that takes us again to the movies themselves. Whether or not we’re seeing a scary basic for the primary time or the tenth, we will use the present’s sharp and infrequently witty concepts to boost the viewing expertise.

The second episode, for instance, satisfied me to stream Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller String. I as soon as reviewed an Off-Broadway manufacturing of the play, however had by no means seen the movie, partly as a result of I assumed the movie would eradicate homosexual edges.

However in Queer for worry, movie pundits focus on the movie’s flamboyant homosexuality. Even when straight folks did not comprehend it was a homosexual film in 1948, they are saying, queer audiences would have seen the indicators.

Completely proper. After watching the film (which is streaming at no cost on Peacock), I marvel at how cheerful it’s. Take the opening scene: the very very first thing we hear is what seems like a person having an orgasm, solely we rapidly be taught it is his demise cry as he will get strangled by two of his former comrades class, Brandon and Phillip (John Dall and Farley Granger) . After stuffing his physique in a trunk of their lounge, Brandon even smokes a cigarette, as if he had simply completed having intercourse.

That is solely the tip of the iceberg. It is apparent, for instance, that Brandon and Phillip stay collectively within the condo and so they solely point out one bed room. In addition they speak about taking a trip collectively and argue over the perfect placement of the candelabras on the banquet they’re internet hosting the identical evening they kill their pal. Add the nostalgic seems, the shut dialog, and the stealthy approach they contact, and also you’re principally one float away from a Delight Parade.

Nobody says the phrase “gay”, in fact, as a result of again then it simply wasn’t achieved. queer ish motion pictures needed to code themselves closely and belief a queer viewers to choose up the cues.

In 2022, nonetheless, the subtlety in String play in a different way. Now, it is protected to imagine the characters do not explicitly acknowledge Brandon and Phillip’s sexuality as a result of it is no secret. That is why Brandon’s ex-girlfriend might be there along with her new man with out anybody suggesting that Brandon will probably be jealous. That is why the maid can bitterly announce that Brandon and Phillip each obtained up on the improper aspect of the mattress that morning. Everyone seems to be so used to their homosexuality that it is taken as a right. To say it will be as pointless as to say that everybody lives in New York.

From this attitude, Brandon and Phillip’s motivations are considerably revolutionary. Since nobody cares about their sexuality, we do not have to contemplate their homosexuality as the basis of their homicidal tendencies. In classic motion pictures like kids’s timeby which a lesbian kills herself out of disgrace, or that of Hitchock psychology, by which a queer man’s sexual obsessions make him a killer, homosexuality and depravity are all linked. However in String, our villains are amoral narcissists who come happen to be homosexual. They certain have a twisted relationship, however the film by no means means that in the event that they have been straight they’d elevate households as a substitute of destroying them.

And critically, that is one thing to have fun. By leaving the sexuality of its homosexual characters much less essential than their bloodlust, String demonstrates {that a} queer particular person can lead any sort of story. All these years later, it is nonetheless refreshing to see.

Queer for worry premieres September 30 on Shudder. New episodes Friday. String streams at no cost on Peacock.

Mark Blankenship is the editor of Primetimer. Tweet it at @IAmBlankenship.