Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor's Name

Nathaniel Cadle

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Jason Pearl

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Andrew Strycharski

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Film, slasher cinema, queer subtext, history

Date of Defense



“Celluloid Subversion” examines the slasher film genre, specifically how it came to prominence in the early 1980s at the dawn of Ronald Reagan and the New Right’s takeover of American political and social life. With its violence against women and individuals who engage in allegedly immoral acts, the genre is commonly perceived as a cinematic representation of patriarchal values writ large on screen. However, its propensity for challenging gender norms and its adherence to tropes such as that of the Final Girl – where a woman survives the killer’s carnage before defeating him – imbue it with subversively queer qualities that are at odds with the ultra-conservatism of the era. Close readings of The Slumber Party Massacre (1982), Sleepaway Camp (1983), and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985) will illustrate how queer elements exist within slasher cinema while also defining it.





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