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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 28, 2023
IT CAME FROM THE CLOSET is a highly engaging and thought-provoking collection of 25 essays by LGBTQ+ writers relating how horror films are seen through their queer gaze and how those films informed their gay identities. Many of the essays read as memoir pieces as much as film profiles, but they're all fascinating and well written.
Sachiko Ragosta explains how "Eyes Without a Face" parallels their own transition story. Will Stockton sorts through his mixed emotions as a kid who loved horror films but is now unsettled by his troubled son's new Chucky doll. Interpreting "Halloween" as a coming-out story, Richard Scott Larson reflects on the physical and emotional masks people wear to hide their identities. Laura Maw recalls her girlhood crush on the character Annie, a teacher played by Suzanne Pleshette, in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds." Tosha R. Taylor compares Lon Chaney Jr.'s character in "The Wolf Man"--someone who can't contain the monster inside himself and whose father believes he can be cured--with her own childhood under her homophobic father and placating mother. S. Trimble's thoughtful essay on "The Exorcist" admits rooting for the monster; she writes: "Horror helped me love my terrible truths, the things about me that disquieted others."
Other films examined include "Hereditary", "Pet Sematary", "The Blob", "Godzilla", "A Nightmare on Elm Street", "Get Out", the "Friday the 13th" franchise and "Sleepaway Camp", which editor Joe Vallese (What's Your Exit?, with Alicia A. Beale) calls "the at once deeply transphobic and effusively homoerotic cult slasher."
This entertaining essay collection is filled with smart observations and touching autobiographical tales.