Late night double feature: queer monstrosity and cult cinema
Cult cinema from the 1970s to the present day is filled with images of monstrous transgression. These images of monsters frequently represent a transgressive queer sensibility and a spectrum of identities and sexualities that break the rules and boundaries of social order and cannot be characterized monolithically. Queer monstrosity arises when the queer subject resists assimilation into mainstream culture. This queer monstrosity develops as a form of separation or disconnection and restructures representation, but this representation also becomes embodied in corporeal form when the queer monster is signified through a physical cinematic body. The body becomes the corporeal depiction of that which is rejected by heteronormative patriarchy, the material form and substance: the monstrosity personified on film. This body, as queer monster, is grotesque. It becomes grotesque as it embraces the stigma of queerness as abnormal, or even gross, and it is transgressive because it violates the rules and boundaries of heteropatriarchal culture. In cult cinema, where grotesquerie and transgression often reside, queer monstrosity finds a haven and a place of embodiment. This thesis argues that queer monstrosity is present in cult cinema and that this monstrosity is represented in grotesque and transgressive cinematic images of queer bodies in cult films. The thesis considers such representations chronologically, beginning with the queer monster in the midnight movie phenomenon of the 1970s and ending with representations up to the present day (2020). I show how this transgressive queer monstrosity has been represented in cult films. My analysis reveals that queer monstrosity is reflective of broader cultural perceptions surrounding queer identity and a resistance by the queer subject towards assimilation in heteronormative society. In creating and viewing the queer monster, this produced (and continues to produce) a means for audiences and filmmakers to engage with transgression by proxy as a way to reject assimilative, heteronormative practices in queer film representation.