Professor Andrew Scahill speaks on queerness and horror

31 nights of horror feature CU Denver professor

Scahill’s talk dives into the allegory of homosexuality in the genre.
Illustration:  April Kinney · The Sentry

As an adaptive way to celebrate the spookiest corners of this season, Nebraska Wesleyan University is hosting an e-event, “Nights of Horror,” showcasing experts on the horror genre, like CU Denver’s own Professor Andrew Scahill, Ph.D., for his lecture, “It Takes a Child to Raize a Village.” 

By showcasing Professor Scahill on Oct. 2 to discuss and breakdown the essence of his book The Revolting Child in Horror Cinema: Youth Rebellion and Queer Spectatorship, the event showed that they weren’t afraid to go after the tougher subjects that come along with the horror genre.  This discussion with Scahill is an hour of thought-provoking material that is worthy of any horror fan’s time and focus.  Anyone who identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ community may find it stinging to see such deep similarities between reactions to their own sexuality and child monsters in horror films.  

The allegory of homosexuality being seen as a type of demonic possession or the root of a bad seed can be seen clearly in the mid-1980s cult hit, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge.  To prove how gay this movie is, there is an entire documentary, Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street that dives deep into the homosexual undertones with interviews from the cast and production crew along with interviews from professionals in the industry, one of them being the now recognizable name and face of Professor Andrew Scahill.

In the time of COVID, it is easy to fall into fits of the morbs, a vintage Victorian term meaning to feel low or blue, but the effort that both NWU and Scahill put into this single evening made it special to be a part of, and in an odd way provoked a bit of happiness in viewers.  The production team behind the entire event are true fans of horror by taking the time to set up a little staged area that is reminiscent of the black and white horror specials on late night programming in the 1960s.  Scahill himself is such a well-educated person on the subject of queerness in horror, he could have continued speaking for another hour and remained entertaining and engaging the entire time.  Any student that has the opportunity to be under his tutelage is a lucky individual.

Overall, the 31 Nights of Horror event is described as a, “multidisciplinary academic e-event that seeks to engage academics, students, and professionals in the field of horror.”  Every evening throughout October, NWU streams a different form of engagement on Twitch, ranging from discussions with masters in the craft to watch-a-longs of many classic horror films that have terrified audiences for decades.

The other 30 nights of horror are as enjoyable as Scahill’s, and with the entertainment options being limited, this series brings content to viewers.  As of the publication of this piece, there is no indication of when the videos will no longer be available, but for now, Scahill’s discussion along with all the other themed nights can be streamed through the Nebraska Wesleyan University’s Twitch account.

This is a selection from the Oct. 21 issue. To view the full issue, visit:

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