Sex and horror

Authored by: Steve Jones

The Routledge Companion to Media, Sex and Sexuality

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138777217
eBook ISBN: 9781315168302
Adobe ISBN:


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The combination of sex and horror may be disquieting to many, but the two are natural (if perhaps gruesome) bedfellows. In fact, sex and horror coincide with such regularity in contemporary horror fiction that the two concepts appear to be at least partially intertwined. This is not to suggest that the sex-horror confluence is an exclusively contemporary phenomenon. 1 For instance, Hunter Gardner (2015) traces the lineage of contemporary psychosexual horror fiction back to antiquity. Brian Godaw (2002: 187–208) maps the relationship between sex and horrific violence in the Bible in order to anchor his exploration of modern horror cinema. Cathal Tohill and Pete Tombs (1995: 29) posit that the focus on violence and sex they find in Italian cinema is little more than ‘a modern day version of the ancient Roman circus’; ‘blood, passion … violence and sex were an integral part of these spectacles’.

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