Dear Kevin Williamson, Where Da Gay At?

I don't think it's news to most horror movie fans that Scream screenwriter / creator Kevin Williamson is a homosexual fellow. Keeping in mind that though our community had exposure in the mid to late 90's, America and Hollywood by extension, was still not the most excepting of places. It wasn't the kind of environment one was necessarily encouraged to come out in, especially if you had a high profile career in the movie making capital of the world. Despite this, Mr. Williamson did publicly step out of the closet in the late 90's at what was arguably the height of his career (after the smashing success of Scream, he was Hollywood's "it" boy for some time before all the hoopla and circus eventually died down). Some might argue that it wasn't the most death defying of acts, seeing as he is a screenwriter and not subject to the same exposure, scrutiny and public ridicule that actors and actresses find themselves caught up in. I say, hush thyself. It was brave of him. Period. Despite the fact that Hollywood as we know it would crumble if it weren't for the queer contributions of many, it was still ballsy move on his part, and the stuidos', to have an out gay man headlining his screenwriting credits on every film he wrote (I Know What You Did Last Summer was "From the Creator of Scream", The Faculty was "From Kevin Williamson, the writer of Scream and Scream 2" and so on). Though thankfully, no one seemed to notice, or give a shit (in truth, I'm certain that only a small percentage of Americans care to hear what the screenwriter of slasher films has to say and were never the wiser as a result) and nothing negative ever came of it (unlike say Rupert Everett, who was likewise Hollywood's "next big thing" around the same time and also came out of the closet at the height of his popularity but as a result, his career trajectory took a nosedive).

It's been a decade since Williamson came out of the closet and looking back over his cinematic filmography (television is another beast entirely, complete with it's own set of rules) I have to ask, "What gives sir, where are the gays at?" Out of the eight horror films he has written (if you include Teaching Mrs. Tingle) , only one film, the abysmal Cursed, has an openly gay character. The Faculty almost has a gay character in the form of Stokely Mitchell (the lovely Clea DuVall), but her lesbianism is later revealed to be nothing but an anti-social ruse as all the girl really wants to do is hop atop the high school football star Stan Rosado (considering that its yummy, farmer-tanned Shawn Hatosy, I'll give Williamson a pass, cause I'm right there with ya Stokes). Scream 2 has the rumor of a gay character, one of Sidney Prescott's (Neve Campbell) bodyguards, Officer "Don't Ask Don't Tell" Andrews (Philip Pavel). But that's all it was, a rumor. It could even be argued that the first Scream's killers, Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard) and Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) were lovers of some sort, as there is certainly a vibe filled with bizarre sexual tension (something the makers of Scary Movie, Scream's official spoof, picked up on and lampooned). There is even a great, queer horror blog named in their "union's" honor, the wonderful Billy Loves Stu, ran by the amazing Pax Romano (who incidentally, has been an invaluable source of advice and knowledge in helping get certain aspects of this very site off of the ground). Even in the absence of any identifiably queer characters (or knife fodder) there is much homoerotisicm that runs throughout the majority of Williamson's scripts. Or if not outright homoerotisicm, than scenes that were certainly written by a gay man, not a straight one; mirroring heterosexual men's desire to see good looking women eviscerated, Williamson's victims tend to be male just a wee bit more than female. Likewise, in another inversion of the typically straight screenwriter's desires seen on screen, Williamson tends to have his young men disrobe in lieu of the ladies (Ryan Phillipe's towel clad, locker room strut in I Know What You Did Last Summer, is particularly telling). Additionally, the potential male love interests are written in a such a lovable, adorable, sympathetic way that only a gay man dreamily lusting after them himself could write them as such, in my opinion. That's all well and good, but I'll ask again, "Mr Williamson, it's 2011, where the hell are the gay characters?"

If by chance you should ever stumble upon my humble little home away from home and read this, I should state a few things in response to my own question. First, I don't believe that an out gay artist has any responsibility to please any community or fandom, to any public or sociopolitical organization. Nay, I don't believe that they have any responsibility to please anybody but themselves with their own creative endeavors. Art should satisfy the artist, however much the motivations for making said art gets mucked up in the commercial world of Hollywood. It is nice when a writer or director throws things out there for the fans, but I don't believe that anybody should put a gun to their head and force them to do so. Secondly, I don't believe that the inclusion of gay characters should take place just to make a big stink about them being gay. To the contrary, can't they just occasionally be there and well...be. If there is one thing that I hate about queer American cinema it is that no gay character can exist in a film without their sexuality seemingly being the be all and end all to their existence. This is the same problem that has plagued screenwriter / director Clive Barker's attempts to make a scary movie with a gay male lead for over a decade and ultimately lead to him stating that he would never direct another horror film again until a studio had the balls to lift this unofficial, but very present ban. Apparently, Barker could not have as his lead, a character who happened to be gay (that's it, no muss no fuss and moving on) unless the entire plot (as demanded by studio heads) was about his sexuality. The studio's reasoning being that audiences aren't prepared or ready for us to merely exist like the rest of the human race, we apparently need to be screaming from the rooftops about our sexuality everywhere and at all times. Tell me again for the record, just who are the ones who are obsessed with what queers are up to and where we stick it? This problem only seems to be a problem in films produced in the good 'ol US of A. Here, our cinematic queers have three storylines: coming out, battling HIV and AIDS or behaving as the catty, flaming comic relief sidekick whom usually consist of so many stereotypes that I quit counting ages ago. Elsewhere in the world, homosexual men and women get to explore all avenues of storytelling, so why not here? Why not even in our independent cinema? And why not in horror films written by an out of the closet gay man?

In closing Mr Williamson, I would never demand that you insert elements into your scripts that you did not desire to have there, all to serve some cultural and political pressure. However, I would like you to ask yourself, just why you've refrained from including in your films a gay character here, or a gay character there. Honestly, slice and dice 'em and tear them asunder like every other hapless unfortunate that finds themselves in the confines of a bloody cinematic massacre. But after decades of queer characters existing in scary movies purely to be portrayed as sick and deserving of their inevitable violent deaths, or as in the cases where they are the unhinged monsters, to have their sexuality be the root cause of their psychotic tendencies, it would be nice if a forward thinking, non-self-loathing queer screenwriter such as yourself took the bull by the horns and started reinventing the genre in other ways, a feat that you have made millions off of doing. I mean, what queer horror movie fan wouldn't want to see Sidney Prescott's gay bestie go down swinging? Even Bride of Chucky pulled this off for crying out loud. Just give it a thought 'eh, in time for the inevitable Scream 5.


  1. You know what? I never thought of this before - but damn it, kid, you are right! Why hasn't he had any out gay characters in any of his screenplays? Cowardice? Pressure from the studio's not to "gay" things up?

    Maybe he's saving it all up for one special project that will feature a mostly gay and lesbian set of characters...

    Honestly, I don't know the answer to any of this, but Billy really DID love Stu.

  2. I'd really like ten minutes alone with him to pick his brain and find out.

    See, I always thought it was the other way around. I saw Billy as the manipulator, or the one that would take advantage of Stu's affections. I actually kinda imagined that the feelings originated from Stu, but that Billy was probably too cold to reciprocate them in any other way that wasn't purely motivated to work Stu to his benefit. I do imagine they probably had amazing sex after they did Casey and Steve in though. Hahahaha, man I've over analyzed this a lot.

  3. Williamson seems to have a better track record with gay characters in the TV shows he's been involved with. Writers tend to write what they know, so it's puzzling that characters with a gay or bisexual orientation haven't been included more prominently in his feature film work.

  4. Vince - Social progress always seems to happen faster in the realm of television. Things that seem not at all shocking anymore on cable TV; gay relationships on Six Feet Under, gay vampires that have gay sex on True Blood, the entirety of shows like The L Word etc. is still relatively unheard of in the cinematic world, unless they are produced as some under the radar, independent, niche film. The same can't be said for TV shows of that sort because they are getting beamed into every home with a cable subscription. I guess that's why I also left Williamson's small screen work off of the table, because he written some very strong gay characters in that realm (or so I've heard, shows like Dawson's Creek just aren't my thing). It's in his big screen creations that I wish he would bring the same set of balls that he does when he is "recreating, reinventing, reestablishing the rules of the genre".I really do think that the world is ready for an out gay character in a big ticket, mainstream horror film. But then who knows, Scream 4's plot secrets have been kept so tightly under wraps, maybe one of the new characters is gonna be representing. Here's hoping.

  5. P.S.
    Vince, I just saw your Deconstructing Jude article on your sight and I gotta say that I am looking forward to digging in. Of all the Fatal Attraction knock-offs of the 90's, Mother's Boys ranks as one of my favorites, with Jamie Lee turning in a genuinely menacing performance. I also get miffed that this film is never mentioned when her work in the horror genre is rambled off (I'm not a subscriber to the "thriller" tag in most instances, they're really just horror or slasher films for yuppies in most cases). Anyway, as I said, looking forward to reading it.


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