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Theo Germaine on How They/Them Is the Queer Horror Flick for Our Time

Theo Germaine on How They/Them Is the Queer Horror Flick for Our Time


The nonbinary star of They/Them, Theo Germaine, is ready for the golden age of queer horror.

Work in Progress's Theo Germaine is the nonbinary star of Blumhouse's new horror film They/Them (pronounced as "They Slash Them"), and they're ready to bring queer horror to the big screen. The movie is a great throwback to classic slashers like Friday the 13th and Sleepaway Camp (without the transphobia) and adds in the horrors of a bunch of LGBTQ+ youth undergoing conversion therapy. It's a chilling -- but welcome -- twist on the horror summer camp genre.

Before starring inThey/Them, what was your background with horror?

I've been into the genre literally for as long as I can remember. It really started with being obsessed with Halloween and wearing costumes. Then my cousin donated his entire collection of Goosebumps books to me when I was in grade school. I think that was my first foray into really getting into horror as a kid. Then I just got really obsessed with a bunch of other stuff as I grew up, like different kinds of genres. I really got into Fangoria Magazine when I was in high school.... I was really into Edgar Allan Poe, really into all the Dawn of the Dead movies. Even filmed part of a zombie movie when I was in sixth or seventh grade. And really got into zombie makeup as a kid.

There's one scenein the movie where your character is in a one-on-one counseling session with the camp's therapist (played by Carrie Preston) that really shows the horrors at the heart of conversion therapy. What was it like filming that scene?

That scene was just like dealing with this thing that I've really dealt with in real life.

It was easy to be affected by it and it also was scary. It was scary to face that type of specific thing, because I feel like that is one big example of the core of what trans people face. When people are like, "Yeah. I don't believe you. No, you are actually just this. You're actually just this. You are delusional." That was scary to face. Carrie, she's such a good actor. She's such a pleasant person. It was almost hard because she's playing somebody who is the complete opposite of who she is as a person. It also was just a very fun, delicious moment as an actor to feel her energy and to just give back.

What do you hope the future of queer horror looks like?

Because I really like horror, I would love to play the scary, creepy [character].

I hope that movies like They/Them will open up more directors to the idea of casting us in a more diverse range of things. [They/Them is] still an LGBTQ film. I would like us to not just be cast in stuff that is about that specifically. I want diversity in the sense that I want to see people in a lot of different kinds of roles, but I want to see people as villains. I want to see people as parents. I know that media representation doesn't fix everything, but if it's here, I want things to be more accessible. I want to see more queer actors doing a lot more diverse range of things. I want all different kinds of queers doing a lot of different things. I want Black queers being in horror. I want Black trans people to literally be in everything and get to do whatever the fuck they want because they should. I want people to have fat, juicy roles that make them feel good and show them off. I want people's minds to change who don't want to change their minds about LGBTQ people.

If you couldjoin any iconic horror franchise as a new character, what would your dream franchise be?

Well, you said dream. That makes me think of something that I've always really, really liked: the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. I was so obsessed with them when I was younger that I just would watch all of them repeatedly, because I was really into dreams, psychology, and all of that. I would totally want to be in that, even if it was just [as the] Nancy character or something like that.

They/Them also stars Kevin Bacon, Carrie Preston, and Anna Chlumsky, and is available to stream on Peacock right now.

This story is part of The Advocate's 2022 History issue, which is out on newsstands August 30. To get your own copy directly, support queer media and subscribe -- or download yours for Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or Apple News.

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