Charis celebrates It Came from the Closet: Queer Reflections on Horror edited by Joe Vallese. In addition to the editor, other panelists include: Sumiko Saulson, Richard Scott Larson, Addie Tsai, and Jude Ellison S. Doyle. Through the lens of horror--from Halloween to Hereditary--queer and trans writers consider the films that deepened, amplified, and illuminated their own experiences.
Horror movies hold a complicated space in the hearts of the queer community: historically misogynist, and often homo- and transphobic, the genre has also been inadvertently feminist and open to subversive readings. Common tropes--such as the circumspect and resilient "final girl," body possession, costumed villains, secret identities, and things that lurk in the closet--spark moments of eerie familiarity and affective connection. Still, viewers often remain tasked with reading themselves into beloved films, seeking out characters and set pieces that speak to, mirror, and parallel the unique ways queerness encounters the world.It Came from the Closet features twenty-five original essays by writers speaking to this relationship, through connections both empowering and oppressive. From Carmen Maria Machado on Jennifer's Body, Jude Ellison S. Doyle on In My Skin, Addie Tsai on Dead Ringers, and many more, these conversations convey the rich reciprocity between queerness and horror.
Joe Vallese is editor of It Came From The Closet: Queer Reflections on Horror and co-editor of the anthology What’s Your Exit? A Literary Detour Through New Jersey. His creative and pop culture writing appears in BOMB, VICE, Backstage, PopMatters, Southeast Review, North American Review, Narrative Northeast, VIA: Voices in Italian-Americana, among others. He has been a Pushcart Prize nominee and a notable in Best American Essays for his essay “Blood, Brothers.” He is currently clinical associate professor in the Expository Writing Program at New York University, and previously served as site director and faculty for the Bard Prison Initiative. Joe holds an MFA New York University, and MAT and BA degrees from Bard College.
Sumiko Saulson is an award-winning author of Afrosurrealist and multicultural sci-fi and horror, author of the Elgin nominated collection Within Me Without Me, and the novel Happiness and Other Diseases is available on Mocha Memoirs Press. Winner of the HWA Scholarship from Hell (2016) BCC Voice "Reframing the Other" contest (2017), Mixy Award (2017), Afrosurrealist Writer Award (2018), HWA Diversity Grant (2020), Ladies of Horror Fiction Grant (2021). Sumiko has an AA in English from Berkeley City College, writes a column called "Writing While Black" for a national Black Newspaper, the San Francisco BayView is the host of the SOMA Leather and LGBT Cultural District's "Erotic Storytelling Hour," and teaches courses at the Speculative Fiction Academy.
Richard Scott Larson earned his MFA from New York University, and he is the recent recipient of fellowships from MacDowell and the New York Foundation for the Arts. His creative and critical work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Chicago Review of Books, Harvard Review, Colorado Review, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. His writing has also been listed as notable in The Best American Essays, and he is an active member of the National Book Critics Circle.
Addie Tsai (any/all) is a queer nonbinary artist and writer of color. They collaborated with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater on Victor Frankenstein and Camille Claudel, among others. Addie has an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College and a PhD in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. She is the author of the queer Asian young adult novel Dear Twin. Unwieldy Creatures, their adult queer biracial retelling of Frankenstein, is forthcoming from Jaded Ibis Press in August 2022. They are the Fiction Co-Editor and Editor of Features & Reviews at Anomaly, Staff Writer at Spectrum South, and Founding Editor & Editor in Chief at just femme & dandy.
Jude Ellison S. Doyle is a journalist, opinion writer, and the author of two non-fiction books, including Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers: Monstrosity, Patriarchy and the Fear of Female Power (Melville House, 2019) and Trainwreck: The Women We Love To Hate, Mock and Fear... and Why (Melville House, 2016). MAW, his horror comic with artist A.L. Kaplan, is now out in a collected edition from BOOM! Studios.
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Through the lens of horror--from Halloween to Hereditary--queer and trans writers consider the films that deepened, amplified, and illuminated their own experiences.Horror movies hold a complicated space in the hearts of the queer community: historically misogynist, and often homo- and transphobic, the genre has also been inadvertently feminist and open to subversive readings.
Imagine horror where black characters aren't all tropes and the first to die; imagine a world written by black sisters where black women and femmes are in the starring roles. From flesh-eating plants to flesh-eating bees; zombies to vampires to vampire-eating vampire hunters; ghosts, revenants, witches and werewolves, this book has it all.
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Unwieldy Creatures, a biracial, queer, gender-swapped retelling of Mary Shelley's classic novel Frankenstein, follows the story of three beings who all navigate life from the margins: Plum, a queer biracial Chinese intern at one of the world's top embryology labs, who runs away from home to openly be with her girlfriend only to be left on her own; Dr.
Poppy wants to go to college like everyone else, but her father has other ideas. Ever since her twin sister, Lola, mysteriously vanished, Poppy's father has been depressed and forces her to stick around. She hopes she can convince Lola to come home, and perhaps also procure her freedom, by sending her twin a series of nineteen letters, one for each year of their lives.
When patriarchy makes monsters, sometimes the monsters bite back in the bold debut graphic novel by Jude Ellison S. Doyle with artist A.L. Kaplan!
Dragged by her sister Wendy to a feminist retreat on a remote island of Antgitia, Marion Angela Weber is seeking perspective and empowerment, but a disastrous first night leaves her frightfully changed.
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Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
This “witty, engaging analysis” of female monsters in pop culture offers “provocative and incisive” commentary on society’s fear of female rage and power (Soraya Chemaly, author of Rage Becomes Her)