I have a group of men that I regularly go see horror movies with, they are four tall, white, hairy, middle-aged, gay men that I affectionately refer to as my Horror Bears. It’s cute and succinct. It was during one of our outings that someone in the group started talking about what podcasts people are listening to and Attack of the Queerwolf came up. In the sea of podcasts (myself included since I run Nocturnal Emissions podcast) it’s hard to find content that rises to the top of the “subscribe” pile. But in a single sitting, I knew I was going to be addicted to Attack of the Queerwolf. The podcast has the two crucial elements of what makes this kind of podcast work, one; knowledgeable and well-read hosts and two; an affable and friendly vibe. The podcast feels like the kinds of conversations I have with my friends about horror movies, calling out problematic elements, commenting on who we’d have sex with, and talking about is a movie “camp” or not. The line between camp and horror is razor thin sometimes and the depiction of queer people can also be so derogative in horror that it makes it hard to know if we’re in on the joke or just the joke. That’s why having actual queer people go over the material and examine it is useful in its categorization of whether it’s fun or actually harmful to the community.
Nay’s presence not only as a queer person but as a person of color and as a woman, was hugely aspiring for me. Horror often makes any of these things into a joke but here we are, still loving the genre. Hearing Nay talk about how she enjoys horror and how she has filtered the material through her own life experiences sounded like listening to a close friend. It’s not hard to find black people in the horror world if you dig, but to hear the voices of other blacks in the horror podcast world is rarer, so Nay’s presence is much needed and highly desired. I wanted to talk to Nay and get to know who this new, hilarious, and exciting voice in horror is. Please enjoy the interview below.
Can we have your background? Where are you from? Please give us a little bit of your bio.
Sure! I’m a black, queer and fat visual artist, activist, and podcaster in Los Angeles, California. Born and raised in the midwest, I came to LA shortly after attending grad school in Boston. The last 8 years have been me mostly working in social services and crisis intervention. In 2018 I shifted a bit to focus more on creative endeavors and on myself.
What is your earliest memory of horror? How long have you been a fan of horror?
Watching Halloween in my grandma’s bedroom! My grandparents/aunties watched me while my mom worked and one beautiful and terrifying night, Halloween was playing on TNT or something like that and I sat in my grandma’s room, finger on the remote ready to change the channel in case anyone walked in. I think I was between 7 and 9. I had been curious for a while about movies I wasn’t supposed to be watching.
How did you get connected to Blumhouse?
My cohost Michael’s boyfriend volunteered at my job. He knew Michael was looking for a queer that liked horror and that was that! I met up with Michael and Mark to see if we three had any chemistry and we immediately had a great time.
How did the podcast come across?
I’m not entirely sure but I believe some folks at Blumhouse approached Michael about it and had him scoop up a couple cohosts.
You attended the Horror Noire premiere in LA, what was the whole experience like? Being in a room full of so many iconic black actors, creators and fans must have been incredible.
Wow – that was one of the coolest nights of my life! I was actually super drama about it and was sitting in my seat in the theater, a couple rows away from the stage, just staring at Tony Todd like how did I end up here??? It was surreal because of the folks in the room but also because a lot of the time, I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and I just try things out and in that moment I felt like everything was right in my world.
As a black, queer woman how do you feel about the current state of horror? What are your feelings about the direction of the genre in regards to horror?
I think horror is kicking serious ass. Black people, women, queer folks – we are kicking ass. I am loving the representation that is starting to happen and who is finally being invited to the table. I love horror and always have but it is incredibly fulfilling to see a genre you love start to love you back.
For a genre that exists so much on the fringes of mainstream society, the depiction of queerness in horror is still fairly conservative.
Yes! I sometimes feel like depictions of everything is on the conservative side. I think we will always have to fight to be as accurately represented as possible and to be able to showcase the more taboo or pathologized parts of our stories.
If you could film your perfect horror movie what would that look like?
It would be a psychological thriller and definitely gratuitously violent lol.
Are there any projects in the works that you are excited to share?
I’m planning a super cool solo show for July of this year. Commemorating my birthday which I’m obsessed with and in celebration of living life as authentically as I can. We gotta throw our own parties, create our own galleries, and tell our own stories, ya know?
Where can people find you on the internet?
I’m on Instagram and twitter @blakkcupcake. You can see more of my art on instagram @gaudylosangeles. I also have a patreon page www.patreon.com/nayoryay