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'Hollow Halloween Hokum': Are American Horror Story: Apocalypse's (2018) Scares Falling Flat?



Elliott-Smith D (2018) 'Hollow Halloween Hokum': Are American Horror Story: Apocalypse's (2018) Scares Falling Flat?. CST Online [Blog Post] 31.10.2018.

Anthology Gothic horror series American Horror Story (henceforth AHS) has, since its inception, appropriated and paid nostalgic homage to a number of horror texts drawn both from TV and cinema. Across its (currently) eight seasons, the show has garnered a cult following in the LGBTQ+ community and attracted a wealth of interest in queer academic circles. I have previously argued that the appeal of AHS as the Queer Horror TV show par excellence, lies specifically in its anti-essentialist queer appropriation of both gender and genre. Via the show’s focus on the concept of identity-as-costume, the queer fans of AHS experience a pleasure-filled immersion in genre, gender, identity and temporal forms that are all effectively shown to be constructed, culturally imposed and therefore, able to be assumed and rejected at will. Now in its eighth season, subtitled Apocalypse, Geller and Banker’s term, ‘temporal drag’ now seems to have been extended to its own timelines within the show’s own extensive mythology. What seems to have occurred in this particular season of AHS is a move towards hyper-reflexivity, Apocalypse has essentially become a ‘Greatest Hits’ of AHS. While operating clearly as fan-service, the show adopts a kind of Comic-Con-style frenzy of cos-play, identities shift, are multiple, cross-over, reincarnate, and there is a drag-like self-awareneness that seems to bleed from every pore of this particular series. But to what end? Has narrative coherence, not exactly ever a strength of the AHS franchise, been sacrificed as a consequence?

Queer Horror; Television Horror; American Horror Story; Drag; Postmodernism

Type of mediaBlog Post
FundersUniversity of Hertfordshire
Publication date online31/10/2018
Publisher URL…n-elliott-smith/

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Dr Darren Elliott-Smith

Dr Darren Elliott-Smith

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

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