Queer for Fear

Horror Film and the Queer Spectator

Author(s) Heather O. Petrocelli

Language: English

Genre(s): Media, Film and Theatre

Series: Horror Studies

  • September 2023 · 288 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Hardback - 9781837720514
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781837720521
  • · eBook - epub - 9781837720538

About The Book

Queer for Fear analyses the relationship queer people have to horror film, building upon decades of theory that previously emphasised horror’s queerness as being subtextual, allegorical and figurative. This groundbreaking interdisciplinary empirical study of the LGBTQ+ community not only offers the first inclusive understanding of the horror-loving queer spectator’s opinions, habits and tastes, but also evidences how and why queers have a distinctive relationship to horror. Leveraging original survey data, in-depth oral histories and theory, Petrocelli evidences that queer people have ontological connections to the horror genre, and concludes that horror is queer to the queer spectator. This study also establishes that queer spectators actively engage with horror to work through their trauma, knowingly have a camp relationship to horror, and joyously commune through horror screenings featuring drag performance. Queer for Fear is an overdue contribution to the fields of queer, film, horror, trauma, camp and live cinema studies.


Queer for Fear is the first major empirical study of queer horror spectators, their diversity and lived experiences. It offers a new understanding of camp, queer community, queer trauma, queer live cinema, the importance of drag and camp laughter. Queer for Fear is an original, intelligent and thought-provoking study of the complex relationship between queerness, horror and the cinema. A must-have book for queer lovers of horror –– and everyone else!

Barbara Creed, author of Return of the Monstrous-Feminine: Feminist New Wave Cinema

Queer for Fear is a rigorous, field-changing deep dive into queer horror spectators and their relationship with the "queerest genre". Beginning with the bold claim that "horror is queer", Petrocelli crafts a convincing and thoroughly researched argument that leaves no stone unturned. This large-scale empirical study breaks open the field of horror studies as Petrocelli expansively connects the experiences of queer spectators to horror through queer identity, camp, live performance, and more.

Laura Westengard, author of Gothic Queer Culture: Marginalized Communities and the Ghosts of Insidious Trauma

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Heather O. Petrocelli

Heather O. Petrocelli is an interdisciplinary independent scholar, working across film studies, queer theory and public history, and conducting research engaging with and rendering visible queer stories and experiences.

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