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Special Features Index  

 
Spotlight

Monsters, Witches,
Ghosts, and Goblins

   
Both male and female homosexuality or homosexual elements appear throughout the broad scope of ghost and horror fiction. Particularly since the nineteenth century, ghosts, goblins, witches, vampires, and other demonic creatures symbolize the radically different and are ascribed thoughts and deeds that are marginalized or suppressed in daily life.

Gothicism, which originated in the 18th Century, offers writers and readers of such works as Frankenstein and Dracula the chance to experience the excitement of transgressive sexuality including male and female homosexuality.

More recently, many of the monsters of horror films may be read as mirrors of societal views of homosexuals as predatory, amoral, perverse, and threatening to "normal life."
 
 

 
Frontispiece from Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market
Frontispiece from Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market

Clive Barker (b. 1952) is perhaps best known as the writer and director of the horror film Hellraiser, which spawned multiple sequels, and as the executive producer of the Oscar-winning film Gods and Monsters, based on the Christopher Bram novel Father of Frankenstein.

Maureen Duffy (b. 1933) included a half-human half-gorilla protagonist in her novel Gor Saga to express her concern with animal rights.

Writer Jewelle Gomez' (b. 1948) best known work is The Gilda Stories. While the novel is ostensibly about vampires, the work reimagines black lesbians as witnesses to, and creators of, the history and future of America.

F. W. Murnau (1881-1931), a German film director, created the first masterpiece of the horror film, his exquisitely stylized Nosferatu, a screen adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Christina Rossetti (1930-1894) was a poet whose sexuality was repressed by her religious fervor. In her most powerful sustained work, Goblin Market, Rossetti uses goblins to set the stage for erotic interactions between the poem's two female characters.

The artistic vampire has been linked with homosexuality since its inception in the nineteenth century, a connection that has been explored in a number of films.

Gay film director James Whale (1889-1957) is best remembered as the creator of four stylish horror films which have been interpreted as allegories of a man grappling with his homosexuality.

Ed Wood (1924?-1978) is called the world's worst film director by his fans and his detractors alike. The unapologetically transvestite director made several campy, low-budget horror and science fiction films including Bride of the Monster and the classic exploitation film Plan 9 from Outer Space.

 
 
 

 
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