Book Chapter

Revolting Queers: The Southern Gothic in Queer Horror Film and Television



Elliott-Smith D (2020) Revolting Queers: The Southern Gothic in Queer Horror Film and Television. In: Pugh T (ed.) Queering the South on Screen. The South on Screen Series. Athens, GA, USA: University of Georgia Press.

In this chapter I argue that by queering the traditionally conservative formula of certain horror film subgenres (here the slasher horror and the survival/backwoods rural horror), and in rendering explicit the queerness already inherent in the figures of the vampire and the zombie, queer audiences can engage in a process of retelling familiar stories anew but from a contemporary perspective that allows for a critique of the past and a projection of current anxieties felt by LGBTQ+ communities in the twenty-first century. More specifically some of the most potent critical voices can arguably be found in queer-authored depictions of sexual Otherness in recent Southern Gothic-inspired queer horror film and television. My analysis of Southern Queer Horror therefore seeks to demonstrate the ways in which Southern queerness can be transgressive, borderless, disorganizing, de-territorializing, and shown to embrace a fluid state of “becoming.” It will do so firstly via a consideration of blurred sexual and gendered identities and bodies/subjectivities that are not fixed in space or time via Lucio Fulci’s surreal Louisiana-set zombie horror The Beyond (1981), the spectral Southern hospitality of the cannibal townsfolk of Pleasant Valley in Tim Sullivan’s Gaysploitation horror sequel 2001 Maniacs! (2005), and Alan Ball’s nostalgic-queer vampires in True Blood (HBO 2008-2014). Secondly, I will turn my attention to the importance of fluidly performative subjectivities (of gendered, racial, and sexual subjectivities) as seen in the postmodern parody of new Queer Horror film and television that deconstruct “post-Southern” identities.

Output Status: Forthcoming

StatusIn Press
Title of seriesThe South on Screen Series
Publication date online15/04/2020
PublisherUniversity of Georgia Press
Publisher URL…south-on-screen/
Place of publicationAthens, GA, USA

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Dr Darren Elliott-Smith
Dr Darren Elliott-Smith

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