LGBT History Month: A Run Through of the Surrealist & Queerest Of LGBT Cinema
In alliance with LGBT history month we've taken it upon ourselves to have a look at some off the most dazzling films in the Queer genre. We're celebrating the uniqueness that queer narratives have brought to cinema by gazing lustfully at the wildest characters, most bodacious costumes and unexpected stories which break away from the traditional and instead strive for a new place to call home in the big screen.
Words by Rhiannon Thornton
Peter Jackson's penchant for fictional landscapes is perfectly placed in the 1994 debut of Heavenly Creatures, a dip into the dark and malleable wonderland of Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker. Based upon the true tale of the 15 and 16 year old girls as they descend into a delusional paradise of their own making which ultimately concludes with the murder of Pauline's Mother.
The intense relationship between the two literature loving, wide eyed teenagers can be seen through a squinted gaze as a captivating coming of age story which illustrates how absorbing the bonds of our youth can be. Anybody can remember their teenage years as a time of almost obsessive desire in one way or another, and maybe this is why the relationship between the two girls is so inviting despite its criminal obscurity.
The account is a sinister mesh of piercing themes from infantilism in the rejection of an adult reality to the intelligent obsessions that form the basis of the girl's shared fictional world of Borovnia. The blur of reality and imagination in the world of Pauline and Juliet makes taking the off-road route to madness seem almost welcoming.
Think 'The Wolf of Wall Street', but really super gay. The deplorable tale of Party Monster is based upon the dubious life of notorious Club Kid Michael Alig. A story that many can relate to when the plot is boiled down to the bone. Micheal grew up in a town too small for his engorging personality, so obviously he did what one does and moved to New York to work his way up the hierarchy of the city's budding subculture, eventually becoming King of the Club Kids. In this sense the story is entirely relatable, bordering on desirable, as we know things really do get better when you're on the right side of a one way night bus with creativity and shear will power in your pocket.
Party Monster gained a strong cult following, rooted in its all-round strangeness. From the casting of everyone's favourite child star Macaulay Culkin as Michael to the kitsch home-made appeal of the set and costume design, and the almost superficial style of acting which relays the image focused narrative of the story. Party Monster follows life without rules, a story of excess to the extreme with a sinister undertone, all overlaid with a thick layer of twinkling glitter.
But I'm a cheerleader
The success of this quirky pastel coloured creation can be awarded to the fact it is a genuine queer production through and through. The characters are queer as are a portion of the actors and even the creators are queer. This, unfortunately, is a unique selling point for a LQBT film, but what it has managed to create is an in joke like no other where we can all laugh along with an understanding that for once, the joke is not on us. The narrative of 'But, I'm a cheerleader' takes a dangerous heteronormative view of gender and sexuality and plays with it to the outcome of camp comedy at its very best.
We follow All-American teenager Megan as she goes from A+ cheerleader with a popular boyfriend to homosexual in recovery in the turn of a day. Megan's homosexuality is known to everyone but herself through her vegetarianism and interest in Georgia O'keeffe style florals, one of many pokes at stereotyping to come.
Although at gay conversion camp we met an array of queer characters which work in some way to highlight traditional attitudes towards appearance, (see Jan, a sporty butch appearing girl who has been cast into excel falsely, as she's the only straight person their) the main focus is on Megan. With her feminine demeanour and complete obliviousness to her sexuality her character draws light on what happens with a lack of diverse queer representation available. Megan worries that she doesn't know how to be a lesbian, to which she is answered, "There's not just one way to be a lesbian. You have to continue to be who you are."