LGBTQ + representation in film has increased exponentially over the years, making its way into the mainstream. While LGBTQ + movies are often associated with the romance or coming-of-age genres, what’s important to note is the existence of queer movie villains across all genres. Indeed, there are plenty of LGBTQ + movie villains throughout cinema, dating back to Classical Hollywood movies, as in the queer-coded Mrs. Danvers in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebeccaall the way to modern cinema.
Having LGBTQ + movie villains, per The Guardian, is an important step towards creating characters and narratives that go beyond one’s sexuality, ultimately normalizing complex, three-dimensional portrayals of the queer community. Granted, there have not been as many outright LGBTQ + villains in movies, but as filmmakers come to grips with the importance of sexuality on a character’s personal identity, more and more LGBTQ + main characters and villains have been brought to light. These are the best LGBTQ + movie villains of all time, ranked.
7 Miriam Blaylock – The Hunger
The Hungerstarring Catherine Deneuve, Susan Sarandon, and David Bowie as vampires, brings out the darkness in us all. While John enjoys his time with his immortal vampire lover Miriam, he believes he will live forever. This changes when John’s health begins to deteriorate and Miriam sets her sights on Sarah, who rapidly falls for Miriam’s charms, but is not so open to vampirism. Though the film was subject to mixed reviews at the time of its release, it has since received a cult following within the goth community.The Hunger was nominated for two Saturn Awards for both Best Costume and Best Makeup.
6 Mrs. Danvers – Rebecca
The original LGBTQ + villain to ever appear on-screen was the character of Mrs. Danvers in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca. Following the story of newly wedded Mrs. de Winter, who is forced to live in the shadow of the house’s former mistress, Rebecca. On top of this, she must manage Mrs. Danvers, whose obsession with the former lady of the house has transferred to the new Mrs. de Winter as she pushes her to take on the identity of the former mistress. Rebecca was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and took home the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Cinematography. In 2018, Rebecca was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress as it was deemed “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant.”
5 Tom Ripley – The Talented Mr. Ripley
Matt Damon stars alongside Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow in this psychological thriller, which tells the story of playboy Dickie Greenleaf (Law) and his girlfriend Marge (Paltrow), whose father hired Tom Ripley (Damon) to bring Dickie home from Italy. Amidst the luxury, Tom finds himself envious of Dickie’s lifestyle and is willing to go to great lengths to have Dickie’s life. Damon astonished audiences with his performance as Tom, with his chameleon-like abilities and his determination to be a part of high society. The Talented Mr. Ripley was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Law.
4 Dex – Fire Island
The most recent release on this list is Hulu’s Fire island. A group of friends embark on a vacation to the famous gay village on Long Island referred to as “Fire Island”. The film is inspired by the events of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and stars Joel Kim Booster, Bowen Yang, and Conrad Ricamora. Zane Phillips plays the role of Dex, who, though exceedingly good-looking, is a bad man and essentially deemed the “Mr. Wickham” of Fire island. The film has been subject to a great deal of praise, especially with the new queer interpretation of Austen’s classic romance.
3 Barbara Covett – Notes on a Scandal
Notes on a Scandal tells the story of long-time high school teacher Barbara Covett, who falls in love with fellow teacher Sheba Hart. When Barbara discovers that Sheba is in a relationship with one of her students, she begins to use this against her. Starring Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal was subject to critical acclaim, particularly for Dench’s performance as the manipulative woman who will destroy anything in her path to get what she wants. The film was nominated for a number of Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Dench, Best Supporting Actress for Blanchett, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score.
2 Silva – Skyfall
One of the most recent James Bond films Skyfall follows a compromised MI6 and a lone James Bond aided by a single field agent as he tracks down Silva, an old enemy looking to even the score with M. Javier Bardem stars as Raoul Silva, a fashionable yet horrifying queer villain that is a true match for James Bond. Not only does Silva’s presence make for a first in the long-running James Bond franchise, but it is a step forward for LGBTQ + representation in action films. The presence of a gay / bisexual villain in Skyfall also allows for a new name to be made of the previously problematic spy films.
1 Aileen Wuornos – Monster
Starring Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci, Monster tells the story of real-life serial killer, Aileen Wuornos, a sex worker pushed to her breaking point who ending up killing seven of her male clients. Her actions wound up landing her on death row, where she would eventually be executed for her crimes in 2002. Ricci plays the role of Wuornos’ fictionalized lover Selby, based on real-life Tyria Moore, who ran with Wuornos and knew of many of Wuornos’ crimes. Theron’s performance as Wuornos earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress and critical acclaim from world-renowned film critic Roger Ebert.