Contributing writer for The Artifice.
Junior Contributor II
Monster Prom and Queer Horror
Monster Prom (2018) is the latest in a line of explicitly queer indie dating sims since the popularity of The Game Grumps’ Dream Daddy (2017). It’s tone is light, comedic, and playful, owing it’s mash-up of horror and sitcom tropes to predecessors like The Addams Family (1964), The Munsters (1964), Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), a slew of campy monster beach party movies (e.g.: 1964’s The Horror of Party Beach), and even the recent popularity of the Monster High (2010) toy line and webseries. Monster Prom owes a lot to the "all-ghoul school trope," but it is also unapologetically queer; the game’s Kickstarter page includes a blurb on the subject: "Don’t worry if you want to romance a certain love interest as a certain character! In Monster Prom characters don’t like boys or girls… they like people." This is a kind counterpart to the long tradition of queer-coded monsters and villains in horror cinema, a topic extensively covered in Harry Benshoff in his book Monsters in The Closet: Homosexuality and The Horror Film (1997). Monstrous and villainous queer subtext can be observed famously in classic monster movies like Frankenstein (1931)– which prominently features two men privately collaborating to create new life (and was, directed by a gay man, James Whale)– Dracula’s Daughter (1936)– which features a butch female vampire and her effeminate male manservant– and later films like Nightmare on Elm Street II: Freddy’s Revenge (1985) and Reanimator (1985). The purpose of this article is to trace the trickle: how did our media shift from implicitly queer monsters as villains to explicitly queer monsters as love interests? Also consider the quasi-ironic queer nerd slogan: "The Babadook is a gay icon" and even the non-normative love story that takes place in The Shape of Water (2017).
Radical Acceptance in Podcasts
Explore the ways in which interpersonal conflict is presented, explored, and addressed in popular podcasts like Judge John Hodgman (Maximum Fun) and Conversations with People Who Hate Me (Nightvale Presents). These are shows which address emotional, yet relatively minor disputes in a public, drama-free environment. What is it about podcasts like these that breeds frank honesty and polite empathy at the same time?