Stonewall (2015) is a Horror Film But Not For the Reasons You Think

Happy Pride everyone! If you watch a queer horror movie this month, make it a good one like All Cheerleaders Die or Thelma.  

Sometimes you just want to laugh at a film you know is going to be bad. In that mood last week, my wife and I decided to hate watch Roland Emmerich’s infamously bad historical drama Stonewall. I can now say from firsthand experience this movie is not only offensively bad – it seems to secretly be a horror film about being queer even though it is meant to be a celebration of being queer.

From the very first trailer, the movie was rightfully maligned for whitewashing an important historical event spurred on by trans women of color. And lest you think it is being “woke” or “sensitive” to say Emmerich whitewashed one of the most important events, here’s Emmerich himself saying Stonewall was a “white event” (?!?!):

“My movie was exactly what they said it wasn’t. It was politically correct. It had black, transgender people in there. We just got killed by one voice on the internet who saw a trailer and said, this is whitewashing Stonewall. Stonewall was a white event, let’s be honest. But nobody wanted to hear that anymore.”

Roland Emmerich on why he whitewashed a key historical event: because white supremacy.

Also just for fun, here’s Emmerich on the importance of making straight people comfortable while watching a film about a queer riot:

“You have to understand one thing: I didn’t make this movie only for gay people, I made it also for straight people. I kind of found out, in the testing process, that actually, for straight people, [Danny] is a very easy in. Danny’s very straight-acting. He gets mistreated because of that. [Straight audiences] can feel for him.”

Roland Emmerich on how straight-acting gay people get bullied for being straight-acting. Must get rid of toxic in our community!
You have to understand one thing: I didn’t make this movie only for gay people”

If you want to visit some entertaining takedowns of the film, I’d suggest reading Filthy Dreams ““Stonewall” Is A Putrid Pride Stinker That Should Never Be Forgotten“, watching Infamous Sphere’s “Infamous Queer: Roland Emmerich’s Stonewall!“, and/or listening to Bifocals’ “16. Stonewall (2015)“.

Today, I am here to point out all the times this movie unintentionally reminded me of a horror movie. And the dog with CGI eyes.

1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Intro

The freeze frames intercut with the sound of a typewriter immediately reminded me of the flash bulb sounds mixed with freeze frame shots from TCM. We are in for a journey already!

2. Vampire-Like Predatory Characters

Upon arriving in Greenwich Village, Danny is immediately preyed upon by an older queer character the movie purposely frames in an unfavorable way. Why? Why is this the first encounter he has? What is even the purpose of these interaction?

Then, when introduced to his eventual group of friends, there is a vampire-like character who is inexplicably dressed in 70s clothes in a 60s movie:

3. CGI DOG EYES

I will be damned if this dog’s eyes aren’t bizarrely CGIed in order to show shock to a bit of fisticuffs that occur towards the beginning:

If nothing else this is the key takeaway from the film.

4. “SILENT HILL!”

While trying to track down a friend, Danny stumbles across gay sex and is bizarrely horrified. The whole moment reads like he is in his own private stroll through Silent Hill and just stumbled across Pyramid Head and the mannequins.

Hello darkness my old friend

5. Trevor: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Yes this clip is dubbed in Spanish but it gets the point across. When Danny first goes to Stonewall, a dark-haired ominous figure persistently stares at him till introducing himself as Trevor. Believe it or not, Trevor does NOT end up being a serial killer.

“Do you like Huey Lewis and the News?”

6. “Hell is behind that door! You’re going to meet death now: the LIVING dead!”

This film features a pointless subplot towards the end that has Danny horrified at the mere appearance of a large trans woman in a moment that has serious Suspiria vibes.

7. “They’re after the place. They don’t know why, they just remember. Remember that they want to be in here.”

The zombie movie vibes are final *chef’s kiss* of this movie.

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