Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Walter Squire, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Kristen Lillvis

Third Advisor

Dr. Margaret Sullivan


In my research, I question why heteronormative society is afraid of the elements of horror films that are inherently queer. My focus is on temporal understandings of horror through the concepts of queer time, as theorized by Jack Halberstam and the theory of the abject, as presented by Julia Kristeva. I examine the relationship between queer time and heteronormative time. The abject serves as the return of time without identity or defined by binaries. Queer time is the time that will destroy heteronormative time’s conception of itself. This then relates to the horror that is created by the queering of time through the breaking down the binaries that hold together normative society as the time in which queer subjects exist is also in a time in which heteronormativity exists. I will apply the theory of queer time to the vampire films Bram Stokers Dracula (1992), The Hunger (1983), and Let the Right One In (2008); the ghost films The Conjuring (2013), The Others (2001), and Insidious (2010); and lastly, I will look at the slasher films A Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Psycho (1960), and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). The characters in these films exist outside of the boundaries of heteronormative time or they queer the present to create a place for the past to haunt the present. Queer time is a construction of time that does not depend on markers of heterosexuality to exist. Instead, queer time exists outside of binaries, allowing for the deconstruction of the social constructions put in place by a heteronormative majority. Horror as a genre queers time; therefore, the deconstruction of the conception of time becomes what the heteronormative audience fears.


Homosexuality in motion pictures.

Horror films - History and criticism.

Queer theory.