Book Chapter

'Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik': Unearthing Gay Male Anxieties in Queer Gothic Soaps Dante’s Cove (2005-2007) and The Lair (2007-2009)’



Elliott-Smith D (2014) 'Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik': Unearthing Gay Male Anxieties in Queer Gothic Soaps Dante’s Cove (2005-2007) and The Lair (2007-2009)’. In: Stewart M (ed.) Melodrama in Contemporary Film and Television. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 96-113.

Academic studies of male homosexuality in horror film and television have often been focused on gay masculinity as sub-textual and symbolic and have often discussed the threat that queer, gay and lesbian sexualities pose to an assumed heterosexual spectator. Scholars including Robin Wood, Carol Clover, Richard Dyer, Ellis Hanson and Harry M. Benshoff1 have found that much of its representation has been symbolic or implicit, whereby homosexuality must be teased out of its place in the shadows via queer interpretation. In the vast majority of such ‘closeted’ Gothic texts, spectators must first make the leap of reading the symbolic homosexual in the supernatural; few consider its explicit presentation. Contemporary ‘out’ queer Gothic television’s representations of gay masculinity reveal more about gay male anxieties in the early twenty-first century than heterosexual ones. More specifically, recently 2 queer Gothic soap operas such as Dante’s Cove (2005–2007, Dir. Sam Irving) and The Lair (2007–2009, Dir. Fred Olen Ray) work to foreground gay men’s anxieties about their judgment by heteronormative standards. Heteronormativity positions the gay man as feminine, as the ‘abnormality’ of his gender (perceived as feminine-masculine) seems to uphold the assumed deviancy of his sexuality and gives credence to the heterosexual man’s performance of masculinity.

Gender Studies; Genre Studies; Horror Television; LGBTQ Studies; Queer Horror; Horror Film; Melodrama; Soaps; Gothic; Queer Studies; Queer Theory

FundersUniversity of Hertfordshire
Publication date31/12/2014
Publication date online17/08/2014
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Place of publicationLondon

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Dr Darren Elliott-Smith

Dr Darren Elliott-Smith

Senior Lecturer in Film & Gender Studies, Communications, Media and Culture