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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. 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. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781952177798
Publisher: Feminist Press at CUNY, The
Publication date: 10/04/2022
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 57,721
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

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, 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.

Carmen Maria Machado is the author of the short story collection Her Body and Other Parties, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and the bestselling memoir In the Dream House. She is a Guggenheim Fellow and the Abrams Artist-in-Residence at the University of Pennsylvania.
Bruce Owens Grimm is a Pushcart-nominated, queer ghost-nerd based in Chicago. He is a coeditor of Fat and Queer: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Bodies and Lives. His essays and reviews have appeared in The RumpusBrevity’s Nonfiction BlogSweet: A Literary ConfectionEntropyAWP’s Writer’s Notebook, and elsewhere. He attended the 2021 Tin House Winter Workshop as well as residencies and workshops at The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Vermont Studio Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA) among others.
Zefyr Lisowski is a trans and queer writer, artist, three-time Pushcart nominee, and North Carolinian currently living in New York City. She is the author of Blood Box, winner of the Black River Editor's Choice Award, and the microchap Wolf Inventory. She is the poetry coeditor for Apogee and was a 2019 Tin House Summer Workshop Fellow. Lisowski's work has appeared in Literary Hub, Nat. Brut., Muzzle Magazine, and DIAGRAM, among others. She has received support from Sundress Academy for the Arts, McGill University, the New York Live Ideas Fest, the Blue Mountain Center for the Arts, and the 2019 CUNY Graduate Center Adjunct Incubator Grant.
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.

Sarah Fonseca is a self-taught writer from the Georgia foothills who lives in New York City. Her fiction and cinema writing have appeared in Bosie, Evergreen Review, Leste Magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Museum of the Moving Image’s Reverse Shot, and others. She is a coeditor of The New Lesbian Pulp (Feminist Press 2023).

Table of Contents



“A Demon-Girl’s Guide to Life” by S. Trimble (on The Exorcist)

“Both Ways” by Carmen Maria Machado (on Jennifer’s Body)

“My Hand on the Glass” by Bruce Owens Grimm (on Hereditary)

“The Girl, The Well, The Ring” by Zefyr Lisowski (on The Ring and Pet Sematary)

“Imprint” by Joe Vallese (on Grace)


“Indescribable” by Carrow Narby (on The Blob)

“A Working Definition of the Monstrous” by Ryan Dzelzkalns (on Godzilla)

“The Wolf in the Room” by Prince Shakur (on Good Manners)

“Three Men on a Boat” by Jen Corrigan (on Jaws)

“The Wolf Man’s Daughter” by Tosha R. Taylor (on The Wolf Man)


“Twin/Skin” by Addie Tsai (on Dead Ringers)

“Loving Annie Hayworth” by Laura Maw (on The Birds)

“The Same Kind of Monster” by Jonathan Robbins Leon (on The Leech Woman)

“Centered and Seen” by Sumiko Saulson (on Candyman) 

“Blood, Actually” by Grant Sutton (on Friday the 13th, part II)


“The Trail of His Flames” by Tucker Lieberman (on The Nightmare on Elm Street) 

“The Me in the Screen” by Steffan Triplett  (on Us)

“Sight Unseen” by Spencer Williams (on The Blair Witch Project)

“Bad Hombre” by Sarah Fonseca (on Eres tú, papa?)

“Black Body Snatchers” by Samuel Autman (on Get Out)


“Long Nights in the Dark” by Richard Scott Larson (on Halloween)

“On Beauty and Necrosis” by Sachiko Ragosta (on Eyes Without a Face)

“Good Guys, Dolls” by Will Stockton (on Child’s Play)

“The Healed Body” by Jude Ellison S. Doyle (on In My Skin)

“Notes on Sleepaway Camp” by Viet Dinh (on Sleepaway Camp)

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