In Portland, Anthony Hudson is leading the charge against “It,” albeit tongue-in-cheek. Hudson performs in drag as Carla Rossi, a character he describes as an evil entity who has had a negative influence on humans for generations – sort of like Pennywise in “It.”
“She’s a horrible monster,” Hudson says of Carla. “Carla is my way of taking on everything horrible in the world, from white privilege to white supremacy. I like to use Carla to tell the stories of people who were on the wrong side of history.”
As Carla Rossi, Hudson hosts Queer Horror, a bi-monthly films series at the Hollywood Theatre that’s been going since 2015. The series showcases horror films with gay themes or campy performances, along with live drag performances.
On occasion, Hudson has performed as Carla channeling her version of Pennywise, which he first discovered from the 1990 TV mini-series, which featured Tim Curry as the killer clown. It’s a performance that’s been seared into his brain ever since.
“It is so formative for anyone in my generation,” Hudson says. “I was born in the ‘80s, and since it was a miniseries on TV, it was the first exposure to horror for a lot of people my age. And it was their first exposure to clowns. A lot of people’s fear of clowns comes from this.
“I remember it being creepy, but I’ve always been drawn to clowns.”