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In Alien3 Lt Ellen Ripley finds herself in a nightmare scenario. She has crash-landed on an abandoned prison planet, ‘Fury 161’, surrounded by a remnant of the inmate population (twenty-five prisoners, a medical officer and two administrators who have opted to remain in a care-taking capacity after the prison/refinery was closed). The prisoners are a violent group of rapists and murderers with double-y chromosome coding, who can only seem to control their excessive expressions of masculinity by fanatically embracing a fundamentalist religion. Ripley sums up the group as ‘a bunch of lifers who found God at the ass-end of space’. On one level, this setting begs for a story of male homosexuality: an all-male prison planet filled with sexual aggressors could be the recipe for a gay male porn classic. Instead, it becomes a tale of excessive masculinity manifested through heterosexual fears and desires. I want to take this discrepancy between homo-possibilities and hetero-manifestations as my point of departure to explore how Alien3s engagement with the Gothic diverts and expresses anxieties about queer masculinity, desire, and sexuality.

Gothic Studies

–32), above all through Dirk Bogarde vehicles like The Spanish Gardener (Leacock, 1956). The Wolfenden Report was still two years away from publication in 1957, but as Andy Medhurst notes, public debate on homosexuality had been aired ever since the revelations in 1951 of the Burgess/Maclean spying scandal. Sam’s subversive or queer masculinity has a knock-on effect on Sonia and, through her impatience with Sam, on the film

in Carol Reed