Trans Horror Stories and Society’s Fear of the Transmasculine Body


In a horror story, a young teenage girl feels as if she were meant to be a boy. She wears baggy clothes to mask her new curves; her hair hangs lank and unwashed around her face, to which she has not applied makeup; her gait is awkward, lumbering, unfeminine. This girl does not have friends and cannot identify with her peers, with whom she does not share interests. She is alone except for her family, who try desperately to save her.

This is a story that has been told twice this year in different formats. It’s the leading anecdote of Jesse Singal’s contentious reported feature “When Children Say They’re Trans,” which covered the July/August issue of The Atlantic and was released in time for Pride month in June. It also begins Hereditary, director Ari Aster’s debut feature film — a visceral, harrowing horror movie about a demonic cult with an American nuclear family in its grip. The stories share a premise, but they end differently. In Singal’s account, the girl, Claire, is saved when her parents sign her up for therapy, take away her access to YouTube, and guide her to the realization that girls can enjoy short haircuts and still be girls. Aster’s version of the fable arrives at the ‘tragic’ conclusion implied by Singal’s — it ends in transition. The girl becomes a boy.

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In 2018, the Trend of Horror Films Being Labeled “Not Horror Films” Continued… But Why?

2018 has been a banner year for horror. Some amazing films have been released and enjoyed by many, horror has owned the box office at several different points throughout the year, and we are seeing an immense output of talent and creativity from new voices and established filmmakers alike. In short, we are living a new horror renaissance. And it rules.

At the same time, we are continually seeing reactions to some of these films decrying their status as genre cinema. It’s a phenomenon that began gathering steam in 2017 with Get Out and It, and really seemed to reach full gear this year with masterpieces such as Hereditary, A Quiet Place and even Suspiria.

And no, I’m not going to sit here and debate whether or not these films are horror films. They are. You’re here reading this, so I’m going to assume you feel the same. What I do plan to discuss is the different reasons why this trend seems to be snowballing.

The obvious reasons can be linked to simple snobbery. The assumption that if a film is well-made or contains deeper meanings or subtext, it can’t possibly be a horror movie. If it has those elements, it’s clearly something else. Hereditary is a dramatic family thriller. A Quiet Place is a psychological thriller. Get Out is a socio-political thriller. Thriller – you know, that thing that is almost horror, but not quite.

Then there is the thing that happens where a person assumes that a film can’t fall into a particular genre because it doesn’t fit the framework of how they have come to interact with that genre. “Well I hate horror, so IT can’t possibly be a horror film because I enjoyed it.” Or “The First Purge didn’t scare me. Therefore, it’s not a horror movie.”

Read More – In 2018, the Trend of Horror Films Being Labeled “Not Horror Films” Continued… But Why? – Bloody Disgusting

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