"needs no introduction" *snort* can I ask you another one? Favourite queer-coded villains in movies (/ in anything)?
…Yeah this one gets a mini-essay to go with it first. OKAY SO ABOUT MY PROBLEMATIC FAVES.
The existence of this trope - evil queers - is fucked up. The decades under the Hays Code when queer characters weren’t permitted on screen unless they were the bad guys, that was fucked up; the need to ‘code’ queerness to squeeze in representation-if-you-squint without risking offending anyone, that’s fucked up; the line where it stops being sneaked-in-representation and starts being exploitation is fucked up; the fact that this is still a thing even though the Hays Code stopped applying decades ago is the most fucked up.
But I love this trope. Because villains have so much more freedom than any other character type. They lose in the end, but before that - they have all the power, they have all the fun, they have all the style, they break all the taboos, they perform gender however they damn well please. I love the semi-secretiveness of it when the Hays Code still applied, and then I love the exploitative explosion of queer vampire flicks in the 70s.
And this is fucked up. So, some of my classic fucked up faves:
- Doctor Pretorius in Bride of Frankenstein. Literally everything about this movie is queer, but evil science fairy godfather Doctor Pretorius in particular matters to me.
- Irena in Cat People. The exception to the villains-have-more-fun rule.
- All the witches and warlocks, all of them, in Bell, Book and Candle. Wait, I’m pretty sure these aren’t villains at all. …Nonetheless.
- Countess Bathory in Daughters of Darkness, one of the most stylish results of that explosion of queer vampire flicks in the 70s.
- Count Dracula in Blood for Dracula. Talk about your fucked up faves. But the sequence in which Udo Kier’s Dracula applies his makeup is the greatest opening any vampire movie has ever had.
Now that I think about it, I’m not sure how many of these can be considered villains at all. Queer-coded monsters? Queer-coded supernatural beings and also a mad scientist.