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.
This paper explores the role and function of the Marvel film‘s Loki as a Gothic
antagonist. Loki‘s characterisation incorporates several Gothic themes. As a shapeshifter,
he corresponds with the idea of the unstable and fragmented body, also found in Gothic
texts dealing with supernatural transformations. By breaking down the barriers between the
realms of Asgard, Earth and Jotunheim, Loki engages with tropes surrounding Gothic space,
where borders and boundaries are permeable. Finally, Loki is Othered by his association
with the feminine and queer Gothic, something that ultimately leads to another common
Gothic theme, that of madness.
metaphysic. These ideas are established through an ostensible queerGothic mode, but one in which queerness becomes increasingly associated
with absence (as an aspect of the postmodern) as the novel projectively
represents the AIDS crisis as an exercise in abjection. Approaching
Dorian in this way indicates how this projection harbours
within it an unresolved homophobia which
Gothic, in a sense, has always been 'queer'. This book illustrates the rich critical complexity which is involved in reading texts through queer theories. It provides a queer reading of such early Gothic romances as William Beckford's Vathek, Matthew Gregory Lewis's The Monk, and Charles Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer. Building upon critical trend of desire between men, the book examines Frankenstein's engagement with sexual rhetoric in the early nineteenth century. It explores some ways in which the signifying practices of queerness are written into the language and, therefore, the signifying practices of Gothic fiction. Teleny's apparently medicalised representation of homosexual erotic love contains some strikingly Gothic elements. The book examines how the courtroom drama of the E. M. Forster's A Passage to India focuses on the monstrous possibility of miscegenation, an Indian accused of raping an Englishwoman. Antonia White's Frost in May can be contextualised to the concept of the 'lesbian Gothic', which helpfully illuminates the representation of adolescent female subjectivity and sexuality. Same-sex desire is represented indirectly through sensuous descriptions of the female body and intertextual allusions to other erotic texts. The book considers how the vampire has become an ambivalent emblem of gay sexuality in late twentieth-century Gothic fiction by examining Interview with the Vampire and Lost Souls. The understanding of the Gothic and queer theory in a pop video is achieved by considering how Michael Jackson's use of the Gothic in Thriller and Ghosts queers the temporality of childhood.
to negate the
contribution of those participants in the genre who, to all intents and
purposes, parallel a heterosexual narrative with a heterosexual
lifestyle. Gothic is not, and has never been, an exclusively homosexual
genre. Its queerness, therefore, is more than a matter of encoded sexual
preferences and identities.
The queerGothic, it may be argued, is predicated upon
/power relationships between
characters in Frankenstein encourage a simultaneous sexually
‘tense’ knowledge/power relationship between the reader and
the text. Much of the queerGothic reading pleasure lies in experiencing
the play of recognition, knowledge and ignorance in these narratives and
in being put in the alarming, but also thrilling, position of the other
‘one’ in the text who might recognise the meaning
who can expose and challenge
the unnecessary and stifling worldviews and practices embedded in the
constraints of normative gender roles and role-play. Figures of horror,
of the abject, are ideally placed to be reimagined and rescripted as
positive celebrations of otherness, utilising the strategies of the
queerGothic to do so.
This chapter uses queer theory to explore, explicate and
Patricia Duncker’s The Deadly Space Between and The Civil Partnership Act
transgression in queerGothic and its challenge to patriarchal
heteronormativity, see George E. Haggerty, QueerGothic.
Sedgwick, Between Men , p. 106. As
Sue-Ellen Case argues, ‘[t]he queer is the taboo-breaker, the
monstrous, the uncanny’, in ‘Tracking the
vampire’, p. 3
that, or it was never
necessary in the first place.
Perversely, then, we might say that, with respect to the
Gothic and criticism’s queer query, there is nothing new under the
sun: old news, always-already begun, perhaps altogether unnecessary. But
this chapter is perverse in another way too, especially in its claim
that, for all its apparent queerness, Gothic writing, from the time of
scholars such as George E. Haggerty in QueerGothic ( 2006 ), Luce Irigaray in This Sex Which is Not
One ( 1977 ) and Michel Foucault in The
History of Sexuality (1976). Examining the intersections of
sexuality and power within the representations of mother–son
incest in the Gothic reveals the complexities of the radical
destabilisations of gender and heteronormativity occurring