University of Hertfordshire

  • Darren Elliott-Smith
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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2018


Anthology Gothic horror series American Horror Story (henceforth AHS) has, since its inception, appropriated and paid nostalgic homage to a number of horror texts drawn both from TV and cinema. Across its (currently) eight seasons, the show has garnered a cult following in the LGBTQ+ community and attracted a wealth of interest in queer academic circles[i]. I have previously argued that the appeal of AHS as the Queer Horror TV show par excellence, lies specifically in its anti-essentialist queer appropriation of both gender and genre. Via the show’s focus on the concept of identity-as-costume, the queer fans of AHS experience a pleasure-filled immersion in genre, gender, identity and temporal forms that are all effectively shown to be constructed, culturally imposed and therefore, able to be assumed and rejected at will.
This article considers the queer pleasures of AHS and considers whether its own self-referentiality has resulted in a loss of direction in recent series.

ID: 16340999