The CW’s ‘Two Sentence Horror Stories’ Is Bringing Serious Queer and POC Representation to the Genre
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Horror has always been popular in the queer community, even though there aren’t many stories that actually center LGBTQ people as the protagonist. But we’ve slowly been seeing that change. Two Sentence Horror Stories, a CW anthology series, has been changing what it means to be a protagonist in a horror story with its diverse representation. The series’ third season started airing in January, with new episodes available to watch on the CW website. The first two seasons of the show are also available on Netflix with the third being added on February 28th. A collection of standalone episodes, they’re inspired by online micro fiction, and they use familiar horror tropes with diverse casts to unpack complex issues.
Along with being racially diverse, Two Sentence Horror Stories includes LGBTQ characters and stories in some episodes. It queerifies the horror genre in an honest way, not just as a lazy mention that we see studios so often try to pass as representation.
“Plant Life” is an episode that features a gay couple, with the story centering on the tech-addicted Christian being given a plant by his boyfriend, Ben. There’s also the episode “Teeth” (which we highly recommend), about a lesbian couple that goes out to the woods for a romantic weekend getaway. Naturally, it goes awry.
Lisa Morales, showrunner of Two Sentence Horror Stories, spoke to Hornet about the importance of queer characters in the show:
The entire premise of the show is designed to subvert classic horror tropes by centering BIPOC and LGBTQI characters as the protagonists in their own stories. Season 3 continues that tradition by focusing two of its episodes on queer couples and their unique love stories. Given that the horror genre has traditionally been told through a heteronormative male white gaze, it was exciting to be able to tell these love stories from a more ethnically- and sexual orientation-diverse perspective.
Morales is also at the helm of an extremely diverse creative team. Uniquely, Two Sentence Horror Stories has a writers room composed entirely of women, 80% of whom are women of color. It also features diverse directors, including women, LGBTQ people and people of color. When asked about the effects of having such a diverse crew, here’s what Morales had to say:
Season 3 of Two Sentence Horror Stories brought together brilliant creative voices that just happened to be all-female-identifying in the Writers Room and the Executive Producer ranks (the creator Vera Miao, Liz Levine and myself as showrunner). Several of the directors, the DPs, the ADs and half of the crew were male-identifying. It was a balanced lot.
When we set out to put together the writers room, we were looking for people who were diverse, curious about the world on a socio-political level, fiercely creative and in love with the horror genre. Based on circumstances, we ended up with an all-female-identifying writers room — a unique circumstance in this industry, to be sure. As to how the makeup of the writers room affected the final product, we were committed to developing a season that was thoughtful, provocative and human-centric on every level.
Two Sentence Horror Stories does a lot for the horror genre. In addition to being highly enjoyable, it shows how horror and queer stories can intersect, and how people of color and queer people belong in the space. The series also confirms that even the most traditional tropes can — and should — be retold through a queer, non-white lens. Centering queer stories and characters matters, and hopefully it’s a trend we see continue in the horror genre.