While local rep theaters are out of commission, we’ll be putting together weekly watchlists of films readily available to stream. We’re now halfway through Pride Month, so it’s time to roll out a fresh batch of LGBTQ+ films to keep the celebration going. This week, we explore the dark side of desire with a series of disturbingly excellent thrillers and dramas. Not everything is sunshine and rainbows!
Al Pacino stars as an undercover detective assigned to catch a serial killer targeting gay men in New York’s underground S&M scene. Directed by The Exorcist’s William Friedkin, this controversial crime thriller was initially criticized for its portrayal of gay culture upon release but has since found a devoted cult following. Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Criterion Channel, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube.
Knife + Heart (2018)
Majorly influenced by Cruising and giallo cinema, this surreal NC-17 horror movie centers on a gay porn producer (Vanessa Paradis) who decides to make an ambitious new film after her girlfriend-editor leaves her. But when one of her actors winds up murdered, she’s thrust into a bloody, perverse mystery. Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Kanopy, Shudder, YouTube TV.
Stranger by the Lake (2013)
On a nude beach in France known to be a cruising hot spot for gay men, regular visitor Franck is immediately beguiled when a handsome, mysterious new visitor named Michel appears. Is it a coincidence that a freshly drowned corpse happened to be discovered right after Michel showed up? This drama-thriller is a contemplative probe into the dynamic relationship between eroticism and fear. Amazon Prime, Kanopy, Shudder.
Before director Patty Jenkins hit the mainstream with Wonder Woman (2017), there was Monster. Charlize Theron won an Oscar for her transformative performance as infamous real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos, a lesbian sex worker who killed several of her male clients: the first in self-defense, the rest for their money. Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Crackle, FilmRise, fubo TV, Google Play, Hoopla, Philo, Plex, Pluto TV, Roku, Tubi, Vudu, YouTube.
Bad Education (2004)
The great Pedro Almodóvar directs this introspective, stylized drama about a film director (Fele Martínez) whose life is upended when a trans woman claiming to be his childhood friend (Gael García Bernal) shows up at his door with a short story she wrote, hoping for a part in his next movie. Told using metafiction, flashbacks and effective narrative twists, this is one of Almodóvar’s greatest triumphs. Amazon Prime, Google Play, HBO Max, YouTube.