What’s the real story behind horror ‘Dear David’ & who’s its handsome queer star?

What’s the real story behind horror ‘Dear David’ & who’s its handsome queer star?

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Image Credit: ‘Dear David,’ Lionsgate/Buzzfeed

As “Gay Christmas” (a.k.a. Halloween) approaches and our powers strengthen, there’s a queer horror movie coming to theaters, and it’s the perfect way to celebrate the season.

Dear David is a new film fright-fest and it comes from the unlikeliest of sources: A Twitter thread by hunky gay artist, Adam Ellis, who previously wrote and illustrated web comics for Buzzfeed.

And while that might not sound like the scariest of origin stories, we promise this one will get under your skin…

For starters, check out the trailer for Dear David:

Dear David, Explained

New York-based author and illustrator Adam Ellis has been making comics for years now, and gained quite the following on social media with his work, a lot of which features short, witty observations about life, specifically through the perspective of a millennial gay man.

Eventually, Ellis began writing and creating illustrated work for Buzzfeed. And it was during this time—August 2017, to be specific—that he first started posting about a ghost he claims was haunting his apartment.

Through a series of tweets, he detailed his first encounter with the phantom while experiencing sleep paralysis (when your mind is conscious, but you’re unable to move or speak), describing it as a young boy with a huge, misshapen head.

As his tale continues, he recalls vivid dreams about the ghost child—which he’d begin referring to as “Dear David”—and a number of eerie encounters, including peculiar behavior from his cats.

And, because everything in life can be content these days, Ellis compiled the thread into a Buzzfeed post, which became massively popular almost instantly.

The “Dear David” tweets continued for months, and eventually got more involved, with Ellis sharing creepy photos inside abandoned warehouses and videos of rocking chairs moving mysteriously on their own.

As Ellis tells it, he was scared for his life. Of course, given his creative profession as a storyteller, not everyone believed him, with many claiming it was all faked to drum up engagement and clicks. But, to this day, he maintains it was all inspired by things he actually experienced:

“I’ve never been interested in convincing anyone that ghosts are real—I just wanted to tell my story,” he shared with the TheWrap in 2021. “If it was all fiction, I probably would’ve updated more than once every couple weeks.”

And, even if it wasn’t true, how much does that really matter? He told one hell of a good ghost story—so good, in fact, that Buzzfeed optioned it so they could adapt it into a feature film.

Which brings us to….

Dear David: The Movie

While Buzzfeed had been planning to make the Dear David movie since 2018, it didn’t go into production until 2021, with director John McPhail at the helm (who also made the delightful genre mash-up Anna And The Apocalypse).

Instead of just telling the story of a ghost child haunting a few random, unlucky people, the film actually makes Adam Ellis its main character—and, yes, the movie version also works at Buzzfeed (and even has to ward off internet trolls telling him his content sucks).

Much like in real life, Adam begins experiencing some strange things in the middle of the night, and decides to start posting about it, which garners a lot of attention on the internet, including—and here’s where the movie breaks from Ellis’ actual story—an anonymous Twitter account with the name Dear David.

IRL, the story of “Dear David” sort of tapered off, with Ellis claiming he’d share if he had any further encounters, which never came to pass. Now, that’s not the most compelling arc for a movie, so we’d put money on Dear David taking some liberties with the story, and delivering an ending worth screaming for.

Arriving in theaters this coming Friday the 13th (how appropriate!), Dear David co-stars Andrea Bang (Kim’s Convenience) and none other than Justin Long as the head of Buzzfeed—who, by the way, has become quite the “scream queen” of late, with a memorable role in Barbarian and the upcoming holiday horror, It’s A Wonderful Knife.

And, we’d be remiss if we didn’t get a shout-out to our leading man…

Adam Ellis & Augustus Prew: Horror Hunks

As mentioned up top, it’s worth noting that the man behind “Dear David,” Adam Ellis, is quite handsome—sporting a killer smile and quite a nice beard. Admittedly, that’s not relevant to the story at all, but we just thought you’d like to know!

In other words, the casting department had one chance to get this right, and thankfully they did, landing on the gorgeous, out queer actor Augustus Prew to star as Adam.

Though only 36, the London-born performer has had quite the illustrious career, including an early breakthrough role in the classic dramedy About A Boy when he was still just a teen.

Since then, he’s appeared in films like Charlie St. Cloud and Kick-Ass 2, and a number of TV roles including Prison Break, The Borgias, Special, The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power, and The Morning Show.

Prew, by the way, has been married to the hilarious Jeffrey Self—of Jeffery & Cole Casserole, Difficult People, Search Party fame—since 2018. We love to see it!

And we also love to see queer actors headlining horror movies. Scroll down below for some of the Dear David‘s star’s steamiest photos:

Dear David haunts theaters everywhere beginning October 13.


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