Is They/Them Based on a True Story?

Image Credit: Josh Stringer/Peacock

Peacock’s ‘They/Them’ is a slasher horror movie directed by debutant John Logan from a screenplay Logan penned himself. The film revolves around a group of teenagers who arrive at a gay conversion camp. While coming to terms with the camp’s experimental methods, the group must fend off a mysterious serial killer wreaking havoc at the camp. Given the gory and shocking events of the film that comment on the theme of gender conformity, viewers must be wondering whether the film is inspired by real events. In that case, allow us to share everything we know about the inspiration behind ‘They/Them.’

Is They/Them a True Story?

No, ‘They/Them’ is not based on a true story. The film is based on a fictional story written by John Logan. Logan has worked on hit films such as Ridley Scott’s ‘Gladiator‘ and Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Aviator.’ In an interview, the ‘Skyfall’ scribe opened up about the conceptualization of ‘They/Them.’ Logan revealed that as a child, he was a fan of horror movies. However, he felt dismayed by the lack of presence of queer characters in horror films.

Image Credit: Josh Stringer/Peacock

The screenwriter turned director stated that even if horror movies feature gay characters, they are marginalized, and their storylines aren’t given much importance. As a result, Logan was inspired to make a horror movie about queer empowerment. He noted that he desired to see queer characters as the protagonists of a horror film, and the idea served as the genesis for the creation of ‘They/Them.’

The film’s premise revolves around a gay conversion camp and its day-to-day events. Logan revealed that he spoke with real people who had gone through conversion therapy at remote camps. He noted that such camps are the setting for slasher films. As a result, Logan decided to combine his love for slasher movies with the experiences of real people to develop the film’s basic premise.

However, the film’s events themselves aren’t real. The story is a work of fiction and takes place in a fictional camp. Speaking about the movie’s theme, Logan noted that while there are horror elements such as jump scares and a masked killer, the real horror revolves around the teens facing psychological torment at the camp about their gender identities.

Likewise, the film challenges several tropes and conventions of the slasher genre. For example, the typical “bury your gays” trope, which sees films resorting to killing off queer characters, is subverted in the movie. Moreover, it tackles the theme of gender conformity and highlights the misconceptions about the LGBTQ+ community in an emotionally resonant manner. Hence, the characters appear realistic, and viewers connect with their struggles.

Ultimately, ‘They/Them’ is not based on a true story. The film is a result of writer-director John Logan’s love for slasher films and desire to create a queer empowerment film. The movie draws some inspiration from the experiences of real people who have experienced conversion therapy due to their conflicting gender identities. However, the story itself is fictional. It has semblance to reality through its realistic characters and performances of cast members.

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