Joe Vallese

It Came from the Closet: Queer Reflections on Horror

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hrough the lens of horror — from Halloween to Hereditary — queer and trans writers consider the films that deepened, amplified, and illuminated their own experiences.

Horror movies hold a complicated space in the hearts of the queer community: historically misogynist, and often homo- and transphobic, the genre has also been inadvertently feminist and open to subversive readings. Common tropes—such as the circumspect and resilient “final girl,” body possession, costumed villains, secret identities, and things that lurk in the closet—spark moments of eerie familiarity and affective connection. Still, viewers often remain tasked with reading themselves into beloved films, seeking out characters and set pieces that speak to, mirror, and parallel the unique ways queerness encounters the world.

It Came from the Closet features twenty-five essays by writers speaking to this relationship, through connections both empowering and oppressive. From Carmen Maria Machado on Jennifer’s Body, Jude Ellison S. Doyle on In My Skin, Addie Tsai on Dead Ringers, and many more, these conversations convey the rich reciprocity between queerness and horror. 

Contributions by Carmen Maria Machado, Bruce Owens Grimm, Zefyr Lisowski, Richard Scott Larson, Sarah Fonseca

Editor: Joe Vallese

Paperback  Published February 2023  400 pages

'A brilliant display of expert criticism, wry humor, and original thinking. This is full of surprises.' — Publishers Weekly, starred review

'A critical text on the intersections of film, queer studies, and pop culture that will appeal to both academic and public-library audiences.' — Booklist, starred review

'An essential look at how spooky movies so often offer solace through subversiveness.' — Electric Literature 

'Unique and insightful.' — The Daily Dead

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