Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Steven Shaviro

Second Advisor

Chera Kee


Queer Slashers argues that slasher films invite queer engagements by staging collisions between a sexually deviant outsider, the "slasher" figure, and icons of American normativity: heterosexual teenage couples, suburbia, the prom, and summer camp, among others. To do so, Queer Slashers draws on horror and slasher scholarship along with queer theory and LGBT history. Slasher scholarship has already considered the ways in which gender plays an important role in the construction of the slasher formula. Much of this work has focused on the representation of women, especially patterns of violence against women. Queer Slashers seeks to make additional observations about the ways in which femininity more broadly, especially the characterization of killers as femme, sissy, trans or non-binary, has been a crucial component in the history of the genre. It argues that the killer and the survivors of the slasher can be read as queer, or non-normative, whereas the primary victims of the slasher often abide normative conventions of culture, including gender and sexuality. Queer Slashers interweaves close readings of slasher media with theoretical conceptions by scholars such as Michael Warner, Eve Sedgwick, and Cathy J. Cohen, which posit queerness as an intersectional political resistance to normativity, including but not limited to LGBT identities. Using LGBT history, Queer Slashers seeks to recognize important historical developments in the social awareness of LGBT identities, including political advocacy such as the homophile movement of the 1950s and gay liberation movement of the 1960s and 70s, as a meaningful context in which the slasher evolves.