'Unspeakable Acts': Coming Out as Werewolf

Metherell, Lisa (2020) 'Unspeakable Acts': Coming Out as Werewolf. In: New Queer Horror: Film and Television. University of Wales Press, Cardiff, pp. 189-203. ISBN 9781786836267

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Late 20th century academic writing on the relationship between queerness and horror in literature, film and television has tended to focus on the covert coding of non-normative sexualities as monstrous. In contrast, Lisa Metherell’s enquiry focuses on gothic tropes of unspeakability in relation to more ‘out’ werewolf representations. Her research reviews portrayals of werewolves in contemporary horror media, reading them through the context of queer identities, and historical discourses on homosexual unspeakability and the closet.

Metherell focuses on a specific scene from TV’s “Being Human” (BBC3) in which a character named George tries and fails to ‘come out’ as a werewolf to his family. Exploring this moment, Metherell draws parallels with the difficulties of ever fully ‘coming out’ as queer (rather than as lesbian or gay) because of its challenges to ‘cultural intelligibility’ (J.Butler, 1990). At the moment of werewolf transformation; when the human vocal cords tear and twist; no speech is possible. Through her work, she proposes and investigates the potential of radical unspeakability as a tool for queer subjects to exceed and resist normative sexual categorisation.

Metherell argues that the queer potential of the werewolf lies in unspeakability: not the unspeakability of something so hideous or shameful that it cannot be named, nor the secrecy and silence of the homosexual closet, but rather in the implicit excess of the subject at moments when spoken language fails to express or capture transformation and alterity.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This research has been disseminated through public and academic talks: ‘The Horror of Queer’ (2015) as part of ‘SHOUT: Queer Arts Festival’ in the West Midlands and ‘Coming Out as Werewolf’ (2015) at ‘The Company of Wolves’ international conference at the University of Hertfordshire (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-34144752). Most recently this research is published as a book chapter in ‘New Queer Horror: Film and Television, University of Wales Press (2020).
1 October 2020Published
Uncontrolled Keywords: Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick Werewolves The Closet Coming Out Unspeakability Silence Secrecy Being Human (BBC3 2008-2013) Queer Queer Theory George Sands Russell Tovey Binaries Queer excess Queer posthuman Representation Stonewall Oscar Wilde Coding Contamination H. P. Lovecraft M.R. James Melmoth the Wanderer Charles Maturin Criminal Law Amendment 1921 Gross Indecency Earl of Desart Vampire Ghost Knowledge - Western Knowledge - forbidden David Halperin Teresa De Lauretis Michel Foucault Judith Butler Patricia MacCormack
Subjects: CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-05 - others in creative arts and design
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts > Birmingham School of Art
Depositing User: Lisa Metherell
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2020 14:51
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 15:59
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10387

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