Logging into Horror’s Closet: Gay Fans, the Horror Film and Online Culture

Scales, Adam (2015) Logging into Horror’s Closet: Gay Fans, the Horror Film and Online Culture. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

Abstract
Harry Benshoff has boldly proclaimed that ‘horror stories and monster movies, perhaps
more than any other genre, actively invoke queer readings’ (1997, p. 6). For Benshoff,
gay audiences have forged cultural identifications with the counter-hegemonic figure of
the ‘monster queer’ who disrupts the heterosexual status quo. However, beyond
identification with the monstrous outsider, there is at present little understanding of the
interpretations that gay fans mobilise around different forms and features of horror and
the cultural connections they establish with other horror fans online.
In addressing this gap, this thesis employs a multi-sited netnographic method to study gay
horror fandom. This holistic approach seeks to investigate spaces created by and for gay
horror fans, in addition to their presence on a mainstream horror site and a gay online
forum. In doing so, this study argues that gay fans forge deep emotional connections with
horror that links particular textual features to the construction and articulation of their
sexual and fannish identities. In developing the concept of ‘emotional capital’ that
establishes intersubjective recognition between gay fans, this thesis argues that this
capital is destabilised in much larger spaces of fandom where gay fans perform the
successful ‘doing of being’ a horror fan (Hills, 2005). This, I argue, illustrates that gay
horror fandom is constructed and performed differently across fan spaces as a means to
articulate gay identity in culturally meaningful ways.
In presenting the voices of gay fans, the significance of this thesis lies in challenging
existing models of horror fandom by suggesting its multiplicity for the fans researched.
Indeed, whilst the ‘knowledgeability’ (Hills, 2005) of horror fans is important, this study
explores the meaningful connections that gay fans establish with one another and the
cultural significance of horror to the identity work of fans across distinctive online spaces.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Vailele Chittock
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2016 10:40
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2016 10:40
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/59454
DOI:

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