Spectacle of the Demonic Other

Transcoding Evil in American Horror Story: Apocalypse

in Screen Bodies
Author:
Corina Wieser-Cox Researcher, University of Bremen, Germany corina@uni-bremen.de

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Abstract

The monster-as-queer trope in horror cinema historically implemented the binary of self-versus-other as heterosexual heroine versus queer monster/villain. With the rise of queer creators and spectators within horror, this trope was questioned so that the queer(ed) monster became multifaceted. From its birth, the horror anthology series American Horror Story has questioned this binary thinking, and the 2018 season Apocalypse exemplifies this best. Using camp, the show creates a queer basis that overthrows normative depictions of sexuality and queer bodies in television. In Apocalypse—in which the “normative” is represented as inherently queer—a subversive reimagining of typically “Othered” bodies overturns the regime of representation in horror cinema. By analyzing how the villain of Apocalypse, the Antichrist, is (re)presented with an ambiguously gendered body and sexuality, I argue that the toppling of heteropatriarchy challenges the position of the Othered villain/monster so that their “evil” is made ambiguous in contextualization with queer futurism.

Contributor Notes

Corina Wieser-Cox is a Mexican American PhD student and research assistant at the University of Bremen. They are a coeditor of COPAS—Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies and of the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of Indigenous Cinema (with Kerstin Knopf, W. G. Pearson, and Ernie Blackmore). Their master's thesis, “Brujeria in the Borderlands: Portrayals of Mexican American Witchcraft in Hollywood Horror Films,” won the GAPS Graduate Award and the Bremer Studienpreis in 2022. Their research interests include two-spirit and Indigiqueer fiction and film, Chicanx and Borderland studies, and queer and/or trans* representations in film. Email: corina@uni-bremen.de

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Screen Bodies

The Journal of Embodiment, Media Arts, and Technology

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