Dir: Richard Squires

14 mins 30 secs, 2K DCP, Dolby 5.1


Ghost Boy: Art Erikson

Chuck: Anthony Powell

Bobby: Eric Geynes

Animation: Elroy Simmons

Cinematography: Alex Grigoras, Richard Squires

Composer: Oliver Davis

Sound Design & Mix: Chu-Li Shewring

Consultant Editor: Lucy Harris

“I am a diagnosis… a medico-legal construct… of capitalist design”

Suburban London, the 1980s. A stranger in the family becomes a ghost child and awakens the monsters and desires of a queer childhood. Commenced during lockdown and shot in the neighbourhoods the filmmaker grew up in, THE PERPETRATORS collages moody analogue film, original animation and archival materials in a dreamy autofiction of queer darkness that ponders the correlations between Stranger Danger, the construction of homosexual identity and the institution of the family.

At a time when political leaders are once again escalating narratives of queer people being a threat to children, Squires’ timely reflection on his own 1980s childhood exposes the history of pathological representations of menacing queers.

THE PERPETRATORS had its premiere screening competing in the Short Film category at Queer Lisboa 26. Subsequent festival screenings include BFI Flare London; London Short Film Festival (competition); Bendigo Queer Film Festival Victoria, Australia; Sicilia Queer Filmfest Palermo (competition); Animator Poland; Rio LGBTQIA+ Brazil (animation competition) and Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Distribution Light Cone

Dangerous, Transgressive, Exciting: An Interview with Richard Squires Miruna Tiberiu, GAY45

Anatomy of a Panic: Richard Squires on the history of homophobia and The Perpetrators Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“An astonishing short film combining animation and live-action, Richard Squires’ The Perpetrators, with its nocturnal and cavernous atmosphere, parodies the didacticism of the voice-over: it terrorises a teenager struggling with coming out, disturbed by potential queer aggressors in the form of characters from Scooby Doo, designed by society to scare him.”

Pierre Eugène, Cahiers du Cinema

“The animation interconnects, sometimes in the same image, with a beautifully recreated Eighties suburban world… A melancholy little tale which could not be more timely, THE PERPETRATORS is a lesson in history which was and was not.”

Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

“In just fifteen minutes, Squires explores the foundations of homophobia and hate and the dangerous label of ‘abuser’ attached to gay men for decades while real predators walked free. The result is an urgent and atmospheric inquiry into the historical state-sanctioned oppression of gay men in British society.”

Neil Baker, Cinerama Film * * * *

“The movie seems to take place in some kind of uneasy liminal dream state, a shadowy world of monsters and maniacs that is separate from our own; and yet, somehow, it’s undeniable that this fearful dimension is one that we live in.”

Robyn Adams, The Geek Show

“From the ‘gender-transgressing’ attacker in the 1840s through the ‘psychopath’ from 1900 committing murder to quell his homosexual desire, the ‘pansy’ of the 1920s to the sex deviant trope from the 1950s onwards, in just 14-minutes, THE PERPETRATORS has a stark message about the continuation of these ideas today.”

Maryam Philpott, The Reviews Hub * * * *