The Shining connection in LGBTQ+ identity and horror

Master’s student researches the IT factor attracting LGBTQ+ people to horror films.

| Author: Hadlee Rinn | Media Contact: Kara Owens

Thomas Delor Jr., a Master’s student studying Film Theory and Criticism, researched the relationship between LGBTQ+ fans and horror movies. Delor found characters were “central to how my participants connected with horror.”  

Delor was inspired to research this topic because of his love of horror movies and queer cinema. Delor says, “Not only are these subsets of film some of what I enjoy most, but my enjoyment of these cinematic worlds was enriched by a scholarly perspective as I worked my way through my graduate program and learned more and more about the complex and fascinating way that they intersect.”  

In Delor’s previous research he found LGBTQ+ people would like to have more complex representations of LGBTQ+ identities in different movie genres. However, horror films have historically featured LGBTQ+ people with intricate storylines. To combine these findings, Delor set out to discover how LGBTQ+ people identify with horror.  

Delor’s research found that people have a unique relationship with the movies they love and individual feelings about certain topics were all over the map. Delor says, “For example, I found that I had participants who thought horror was getting better at representing queerness mostly because it was becoming more comfortable with representing a variety of ‘out’ queer characters, and I had participants who thought that queer horror may lose some value by normalizing queerness since you also lose the unique pleasure of a monster who is coded as queer or identifying veiled queer signifiers.” 

Delor also used the data from his research to explore and create a theoretical framework to use in the future to study queer audience engagement with horror media. 

This story is brought to you by the  Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

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