Mindy Meeks-Martin, a queer Black horror film geek, is back and helps the franchise (finally) offer up full-blown, uncoded queerness…
For decades, LGBTQ2+ horror fans were left to decipher subtle hints of queer representation in the Scream franchise. It was more than 25 years before the franchise went beyond queerbaiting and gave these fans what they deserved: an openly queer character.
In 2022, the “requel” was born with the fifth installment of Scream, and with it came a character who openly and unapologetically displayed her queerness. Mindy Meeks-Martin, a queer Black horror film enthusiast, survived yet another Woodsboro massacre at the hands of Ghostface along with her friends Sam (Melissa Barrera), Tara (Jenna Ortega), and Chad (Mason Gooding).
In the new Scream VI, the “Core Four” characters relocate to New York City, where Mindy proudly sports pro-gay shirts while attending college with her friends. She also has a girlfriend, and many of their shared scenes involve the two kissing without a care in the world. However, Ghostface appears in The Big Apple to wreak havoc, and the encounters prove traumatic for the gang.
Mindy is portrayed in Scream VI by actor Jasmin Savoy Brown, who identifies in real life as queer. It’s an essential step in the right direction for the franchise to showcase an actor who identifies as queer playing a queer character, especially one as clever as Mindy. It allows LGBTQ2+ viewers to see themselves reflected on screen, which is essential for fostering a sense of acceptance and belonging, also a theme of these horror films.
Horror movies have recently been empowering queer audiences when they see queer characters who are strong, capable, and can survive the terrors of a demented psychopath. This has helped to challenge stereotypes and prejudices against the LGBTQ2+ community. For a long time, queer characters in horror movies were often portrayed as villains or victims, perpetuating negative stereotypes about the community. Having openly queer characters who are complex and multidimensional can help break down these stereotypes and create more positive representations of LGBTQ2+ people.
Scream VI is a perfect example of how queer representation has moved away from coded messaging into nuanced expression. Mindy is tough. I mean, seriously, tough. When she takes on the role of a horror fan within the film, she is given the chance to show off her skills. During her sermon on the rules of horror movies, she pokes fun at various film franchises, providing some much-needed satire. At one point, she quips, “It’s a sequel to the requel,” even making fun of the very movie she’s in. She explains that because their lives have become a franchise, there’s a larger budget, more actors, and a higher body count. The excessive amount of gore serves to enhance the franchise’s brand.
Mindy is not only part of the “Core Four” within Scream VI. She is a valuable central character that pushes the story further along. She contributes to the trauma of the moment without validating any stereotypes typically depicted in many movies released in the 1990s, around the time the original Scream hit theaters. Her inclusion in this franchise is vital, appealing to a core fan base that has continued to bring fandom to a genre that relies heavily on originality, jump scares, and campiness. Mindy might be the smartest of all the characters on screen but also the wittiest and most self-assured. These are all qualities that sorely lacked in other installments of this popular franchise, and greater diversity should continue to arrive in the horror genre.
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