TOKEN HOMO is cruising the darkness for queer, cult & curious horror cinema. Join me on my encounters with badly-behaved genre movies, veering away from big-studio productions to embrace the “mess, muscle & wonder” (1) of the exploitation independents.
Things you’ll find here…
TOKEN HOMO is a RADIANT CIRCUS sideshow project & re-posts some of the horror content from that site.
On Instagram for info & updates!
Horror movies made me queer. Well, not quite… but they sure helped! My love affair with the genre cemented young with an illicit purchase of 3 classics from a VHS rental library fire sale – EXORCIST, TEXAS CHAIN SAW, & EVIL DEAD.
Owning these unapologetic films was my first act of rebellion.
Genre luminary Kim Newman said something – when guesting on the Evolution of Horror podcast about the history of horror – that, for me, captures the wider appeal of the genre to queer audiences:
“It’s a genre that was named by its enemies… It was called ‘horror’ by people who wanted to suppress it…”Kim Newman.
Sound familiar? Watching badly-behaved genre movies has become my ritual of rebellion, a canary in the coal mine of “good taste” (2). As Blossom Lefcourt puts it when writing about the big-busted films of Doris Wishman:
“I believe the true reason I watch & enjoy Wishman is for the simple fact that I’m not supposed to. She is a private rebellion, ironically found within the realm of filmmaking that I am supposed to be rebelling against.”Blossom Lefcourt (3).
And it’s this refusal to conform that keeps TOKEN HOMO lingering in the darkness…
What you will find here is a fascination with exploitation films unafraid to tread their own path & the DIY, independent filmmakers who shot them. My blog title was inspired by prolific queer auteur David DeCoteau’s background in the American exploitation industry:
“I was sort of the ‘token homo’ in the business, & most of the day I’d be filming naked women & crashing cars.”David DeCoteau (4).
‘Token homo’ reminds me of the solitary queers seen on horror screens (be they ‘the monster’ or ‘the best friend’, or both…) & that moment when you feel like the only angry/horny/overlooked queer in the audience…
My writing is further inspired by Boyd McDonald’s “unabashedly sexual & unapologetically political” film fandom (5), & Kim Newman’s completist urge for the over-looked & the under-appreciated (6). Carol J. Clover (7), Eric Schaefer (8), & Stephen Thrower’s (9) seminal books are trusted longtime companions as I make my way through the darkness.
I hope you’ll enjoy reading my film reviews & I look forward to finding you lurking in the horror aisle…
TOKEN HOMO x
READING (between the lines…)
- Bruce Hainley quoted in “Cruising The Movies: A Sexual Guide To Oldies On TV”, Boyd McDonald (1985/2015).
- “Incredibly Strange Films”, edited by V. Vale & Andrea Juno (1986).
- “TITTY-LATION: On ‘Double Agent 73’” by Blossom Lefcourt in “The Films Of Doris Wishman” edited by Peggy Awesh (2019).
- David DeCoteau quoted in “Meet David DeCoteau, the King of Homoerotic On Demand Schlock” by Will Sloan, Flavorwire.com, 28 OCT 2014.
- William E. Jones writing in “Cruising The Movies: A Sexual Guide To Oldies On TV”, Boyd McDonald (1985/2015).
- “Video Dungeon: The Collected Reviews”, Kim Newman (2017).
- “Men, Women & Chainsaws” by Carol J. Clover (1992/2015).
- “BOLD! DARING! SHOCKING! TRUE! A History Of Exploitation Films, 1919-1959”, Eric Schaefer (1999).
- “Nightmare USA: The Untold Story Of The Exploitation Independents”, Stephen Thrower (2007).
Cover Image: IMMORTAL KISS: QUEEN OF THE NIGHT (2012).