The Movie Waffler Mike's Strange Cinema Cavalcade - Is IT: CHAPTER TWO Homophobic? | The Movie Waffler

Mike's Strange Cinema Cavalcade - Is IT: CHAPTER TWO Homophobic?

it chapter two
The Stephen King adaptation has faced accusations of homophobia.

Words by Mike Vaughn

Some spoilers ahead...

First off, let me say I am writing this both as a horror fan and a gay man. Yes, we do exist. It has come to my attention that various click-bait sites have taken on It: Chapter Two and its handling of a controversial scene. A scene which I might add was in Stephen King’s original novel.

For those of you who don’t know, the opening of It: Chapter Two shows a gay man beaten and thrown off a bridge before being eaten by Pennywise. Yes, it is disturbing and uncomfortable -especially when this kind of thing sadly happens all the time. Yet, as squirm inducing as it is, the act itself doesn’t glorify or normalise it. From the start we understand that this is an ugly thing done by very backwards people.

People in the LGTBQ community have had a rough and shall we say complicated history with the horror genre. If we are not being outright ignored and not included, we are typically the villain and/or killed off. We are finally starting to get better and more positive inclusion - but we still have a LONG way to go. Even recently I’ve seen movies in the genre that fall back on old outdated and ugly tropes. The re-branded Scream series - to many groans - used the old ‘Bury your gay’ trope. This is a lazy writing trick where a gay character is killed off, allowing the straight friend character to mourn them for dramatic effect. It's outdated but sadly is still being used.

So, really, I can’t blame people for feeling raw about this scene. It's impactful and I certainly sank down in my seat during it, even though I knew it was going to be included (part of the scene was in the trailer). As terrible as it is, I would argue that the gay couple in It: Chapter Two has the most positive love story between any of the characters. For example, contrast this with a scene of poor Beverly (Jessica Chastain) with her abusive husband or Eddie (James Ransone) with his overbearing wife or Bill (James McAvoy) feuding with his.

[ READ MORE: New Release Review - It: Chapter Two ]

Director Andy Muschietti has defended his choice to include the scene from the book and, going a step further, is planning on including a scene not in the movie, showing the bullies comeuppance in a super-cut of both films.

Need more proof? Well this one comes from Stephen King himself, who insisted on including a heartfelt secret love between Richie (Bill Hader) and Eddie. This was not in the book but he felt it added depth and longing to his characters.

Take it from someone who sees a lot of movies both recent and older, I have seen horror movies that feel like they go out of their way to be homophobic and plain hateful (in fact I have more than once refused to review a movie on this basis). This, my fellow horror fans, is not one of them. So, before you listen to talking heads trying to whip you into a frenzy, watch the film and judge for yourself.

Michael Vaughn is a rabid horror and cult fan who turned that love into a career. He is a writer, blogger and film historian and now author of 'The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema' which Shock Wave Podcast named their pick of the month, and Chris Alexander of Fangoria called “recommended reading.”

His other credits include Scream Magazine, Fangoria and websites like Films in Review and Bloody Flicks(UK). Please follow his Twitter @StrangeCinema65 and Instagram @castle_anger.