Can a movie be bisexual? Absolutely. Even though there are pitifully few films that tackle the subject of bisexuality head-on, there’s literally nothing stopping us from making any movie that makes us a little bit horny into a piece of Canon Bisexual Cinema. Trust me, because I know.
Everyone’s criteria is different, but personally, I like to hold any contender up to three important standards. First, are there hot men in it, and do those hot men do hot things with each other? Secondly, are there hot women in it, and do they interact in a horny way? And third but perhaps most important: does this film feature performances by Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Madeline Kahn, or Timothy Spall? Because if so, they’re on their way to being classified as BBD—Bisexual By Default.
For my money the man is at his best when he’s bringing literal demons from hell to the big (or small, or direct-to-video) screen.
I’ll show you what I mean: here are 10 films whose bisexuality can’t be disputed, because I said so.
Tim Curry reenacting things, Madeline Kahn having flames on the side of her face, Leslie Ann Warren putting her entire bussy into the portrayal of Mrs. Scarlet—such are the core ingredients in this heady bisexual soup. It’s not enough that Clue took one of our favorite stodgy boardgames from childhood and brought it to life, it did so in a way that turned every child who saw it into shameless bisexual mess afterward. This movie does everything but wave the bisexual flag!
The Doom Generation (1995)
This cornerstone of queer punk filmmaking gives us Gregg Araki at his most “heterosexual.” When disillusioned Amy Blue—a pitch-perfect Rose McGowan sporting a Louise Brooks bob—and her boyfriend find a chaotic third to add to their end-of-the-world polycule, things get pretty gay pretty fast. The grungy sex these three end up having doesn’t make for the coziest example of throuple goals, but it is weirdly realistic in its horniness. When the world finally goes completely to hell, orgasms will become the coin of the realm, something Araki already knew in the 90s.
Batman Returns, 1992
It was the film that launched a thousand bisexuals: whether audiences flocked to theaters to see Michelle Pfieffer in her skintight leather ensemble brandishing a whip, or to gaze longingly at Michael Keaton’s nipply Batman costume, they got everything they wanted and more. And for the rest of us, there was Danny DeVito’s slobbering, magnificent take on The Penguin as a master of the art of cunnilingus.
Ken Russell was ostensibly straight, but that didn’t stop him from making one of the most violently bisexual films in history with this take on the notorious Frankenstein Weekend. A deliciously gorgeous Gabriel Byrne stars as the mad, bad, and bisexual Lord Byron, while an equally hot Julian Barnes and Natasha Richardson lend a kinky flavor to the story of Mary Shelley’s inspiration for “Frankenstein.” There’s blood, guts, skulls, and a very cute Timothy Spall as the twinktastic gay writer John William Polidori.
Center Stage, 2000
Ballet movies are bisexual—I don’t make the rules! Whether it’s The Red Shoes or The Black Swan, by the end of a ballet movie, somebody’s going to end up gay and/or dead! Center Stage is a slightly less gory installment in the genre, and features many a bulging package. If you weren’t turned by this tale of competitive high school ballet as a mere tween, I don’t know what to tell you! Passages, eat your heart out.
Appropriate Behavior, 2014
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: thank God for Desiree Akhavan. Her early web series “The Slope” made us able to laugh at the awkwardness of being stuck between two worlds during a time when the word “bisexual” was eerily absent from all non-Tumblr discourse, and her 2018 masterpiece “The Bisexual” remains a searing, hilarious look at being in the queer in-between. But perhaps 2014’s Appropriate Behavior is the best of all, as it follows Akhavan’s Shirin, a searching, questioning queer trying to come to terms with a messy breakup in Brooklyn.
Mississippi Masala, 1991
Are there two sexier people alive than Sarita Choudhury and Denzel Washington? The answer is no. What happens when you pair them in a Mira Nair-directed 90s masterpiece? Bisexuality. Not only that, but a cinematic experience unequaled by most current rom-coms. Masala isn’t just a romance, it’s an exploration of what happens when two people have to fight their own internal biases—and everyone else’s—just to be together.
Mask of Zorro, 1998
Antonio Banderas has never been sexier than in his turn as the legendary swashbuckling hero Zorro. And while swordfights and horseback rides might not be your cup of tea, need I remind you that Catherine Zeta-Jones is also in this movie? Much like Center Stage and Mississippi Masala, this film is straight-up conversion material—you won’t emerge from Zorro intact, but will remain a Z-shaped bisexual puddle for at least the next 40 minutes.
The Hunger, 1983
David Bowie is a vampire. Susan Sarandon is a vampire. Catherine Deneuve is a vampire. What more can you want? The Hunger features sapphic make-outs with billowing curtains, gay clubs, lesbian twinning, and a sick denouement in which a polycule takes its revenge on its anchor.
Design for Living, 1933
It was the bisexual movie (play, originally) that started it all, and it remains the pinkprint. When Miriam Hopkins meets two hot men on a train, she does the only sensible thing a woman in her position can do: make both of them her boyfriends. It gets quite messy quite quickly, but this is Noël Coward we’re talking about, so it’s a charming mess.
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