Desire After Dark: Contemporary Queer Cultures and Occultly Marvelous Media

Indiana Univ. Pr.. Mar. 2021. 220p. ISBN 9780253053824. pap. $28. FILM
In a series of insightful, highly academic essays, Owens (cinematic arts, Univ. of Iowa) links queer culture with occult-related TV and film. One essay explores 1960s gothic soap operas as a parallel to coming-out stories; another selection argues that greater acceptance for LGBTQ identities in the 1970s led to a boom in cinematic representations of Satanic subcultures. Owens also analyzes how new awareness of HIV/AIDS in the ’80s inspired vampire films like The Hunger (1983), which used vampirism to portray queer attraction as contagion. Another essay looks at witches as coming-out metaphors in media aimed at millennials. Owens’s essays are extensively researched and footnoted, with ample textual analysis that will be more useful to academics of queer theory and genre theory than to casual readers.
VERDICT An excellent and probing examination, but one that will likely appeal to scholars, rather than general readers seeking pop cultural criticism.
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