Camp cinema is also, by and large, hugely popular with queer people. To be queer is to inherently be camp because it’s a statement against behaving in a way that appeals to the status quo or expected social norms. There is a strong queer (and ally) presence in the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” fandom, so much so that game creator Scott Cawthon rightfully caught a lot of heat when it was uncovered the devout Christian had been donating his “FNaF” wealth to homophobic politicians, leading to his retirement. So why do so many queer people gravitate toward “Five Nights at Freddy’s?” Well, because it’s camp as hell.
Even the premise alone of animatronics coming to life and killing people is camp, evoking a similar horror-tinged energy in a film like “Death to Smoochy.” The juxtaposition of taking a family-friendly concept on the surface and twisting it into something else entirely is a camp approach to horror, and that’s at the heart of “FNaF.” In looking at the franchise as a whole, so many of the characters are camp. The exaggerated femininity of Circus Baby looks like a pint-sized drag queen, the Glamrock line of animatronics are flamboyant as can be, and the Puppet? Well, that Pierrot-lookin’ weirdo might as well be a yassified Slenderman.
With this campy baseline at the heart of the story, it’s the film adaptation of “Five Nights at Freddy’s” being inherently camp is unavoidable. Fortunately, director Emma Tammi and the rest of the creative team wisely chose to lean into the camp of it all, and the movie is better for it — even if it will be lost on the general viewing public.