Transness in Horror

Panellists: Sarah Cleary, Fey Kapur, Sam Moore, and Alison Rumfitt will be in conversation, with Jaye Hudson hosting.

Many of the twentieth-century’s most notable depictions of gender-nonconforming and trans-coded characters appear in horror movies, as pathologised figures intended to terrify and bewilder a presumedly cisgender audience. These portrayals have often done real harm to actually-existing trans people, fuelling the overwrought cultural anxieties surrounding the possibility of gender transition. Yet horror as a genre has often been beloved by trans makers and audiences: both for the subversive freedom with which it has always approached taboo topics, and for the genre’s radical approaches to matters of transformation, trauma and survival. With more complicated and considered portrayals dating back at least as far as exploitation pioneer Ed Wood’s 1953 debut Glen or Glenda, alongside a range of recent works celebrated work by trans creatives that explicitly contend with the relationship between transness and horror, the unique possibility of the genre for depicting and responding to societal anxieties around gender is being taken up more readily than ever. Join us for this discussion, with clips, exploring the pitfalls and potentials of the genre.

About the panel

Sarah Cleary is a freelance writer and filmmaker based in London. In addition to her creative endeavours, she’s also an usherette at The Prince Charles Cinema, just off Leicester Square.

Fey Kapur is a trans/non-binary writer, academic and freelance journalist from the midlands. After completing their masters thesis on transgender monstrosity in horror fiction at the University of Birmingham, they moved to London to work as a trans independent sexual violence advocate. Their work has been featured on various online magazines, from Oestrogeneration to gal-dem.

Sam Moore is a writer, artist and editor. They have contributed to Frieze, I-D, Little White Lies, and various other publications. They are the author of All My Teachers Died of AIDS (Pilot Press, 2020), and Long Live the New Flesh (Polari Press, 2022).

Alison Rumfitt is the author of Tell Me I’m Worthless. Her second book, Brainwyrms, an odyssey of sex and pain, will be published next year.

Jaye Hudson is a film programmer, actor and writer. She has programmed events with Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Festival, Otherness Archive and Transmissions.

This event has been developed in collaboration with Trans+ On Screen.

The Uninvited
Thu 1 Dec 18:05; Sat 17 Dec 14:30 (+ intro by broadcaster and writer, Louise Blain)
Kwaidan (Kaidan)
Thu 1 Dec 20:00; Tue 13 Dec 17:40
Night of the Eagle
Fri 2 Dec 21:00; Sat 10 Dec 12:10
Daughters of Darkness (Les lèvres rouges)
Sat 3 Dec 20:45: Tue 13 Dec 21:00
Transness in Horror
Tue 6 Dec 18:20
Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in)
Tue 6 Dec 20:45; Thu 22 Dec 18:15
Philosophical Screens: The Lure
Wed 7 Dec 20:10 Blue Room
The Lure (Córki dancing)
Wed 7 Dec 18:15; Thu 22 Dec 20:45 (+ intro by Dr Catherine Wheatley, Reader in Film Studies at King’s College London)
Cat People
Wed 7 Dec 20:50; Mon 19 Dec (+ intro by Clarisse Loughrey, chief film critic for The Independent)
Black Sunday (La maschera del demonio)
Fri 9 Dec 21:00; Sun 18 Dec 18:30
Ring (Ringu)
Sat 10 Dec 20:40; Tue 13 Dec 21:05; Tue 20 Dec 21:00
Atlantics (Atlantique) + Atlantiques
Sun 11 Dec 14:50; Tue 27 Dec 18:20
Sugar Hill
Sun 11 Dec 18:00; Sat 17 Dec 20:40
Mon 12 Dec 18:10 (+ live score by The Begotten); Sat 17 Dec 11:45 (with live piano accompaniment)
Mon 12 Dec 21:00; Tue 27 Dec 12:40
Wed 14 Dec 20:30 (+ intro by writer and broadcaster Anna Bogutskaya); Fri 23 Dec 18:05
The Final Girls LIVE
Thu 15 Dec 20:30
One Cut of the Dead (Kamera o tomeru na!)
Fri 16 Dec 18:15; Fri 30 Dec 20:45
The Fog
Fri 16 Dec 21:00; Wed 28 Dec 18:10
Being Human + Q&A with Toby Whithouse and guests (tbc)
Sat 17 Dec 18:00
Day of the Dead
Mon 19 Dec 20:40; Thu 29 Dec 18:20
Tue 20 Dec 18:15; Wed 28 Dec 20:50
Interview with the Vampire
Wed 21 Dec 18:10: Thu 29 Dec 20:40
Ginger Snaps
Wed 21 Dec 20:50; Tue 27 Dec 15:10
A Dark Song
Fri 23 Dec 20:45; Fri 30 Dec 18:20

City Lit at BFI: Screen Horrors – Screen Monsters
Thu 20 Oct – Thu 15 Dec 18:30–20:30 Studio

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Programme notes and credits compiled by the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
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