Edited by Joe Vallese
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 homophobic 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 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.
"An essential look at how spooky movies so often offer solace through subversiveness." — Electric Literature
"Killers, monsters, and demons are frequently metaphors for what we don't understand about our own humanity; they're an attempt to externalize the "monstrousness" so many of us suppress within ourselves -- or that others project onto unchangeable aspects of who we are... I finished [the anthology] with a new appreciation for the horror genre." — Autostraddle
"A diverse collection of thoughtful and incisive essays that show that queerness and horror are natural (or occasionally, supernatural) bedfellows." — Ghouls Magazine
"As someone who grew up with posters of Freddy Krueger and Frank N. Furter over my bed, It Came from the Closet is the perfect gay bible for me. The navigations and dissections of some of my favorite slashers through various queer lenses are akin to any great horror film: mind-blowing, eye-popping, and heart-ripping. This book will see you and destroy you!" — Drew Droege, a.k.a. "Chloe", drag queen and writer
About the Editor:
Joe Vallese is coeditor 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.