To identify with a villain is to recognize that fear is a reflection—of who or what we believe capable of inevitable harm. We see this reflection turned on its head again and again throughout It Came From the Closet, ... But embracing monstrosity also transcends horror ... Whether in the horror genre or outside of it, queer people will continue to identify with villains until their own identity no longer inspires fear.
Gnawing detail ... It Came from the Closet presents a subgenre of the queer essay: the horror film as reclaimed abjection ... Nearly every essay in It Came from the Closet chronologically charts a queer person’s history alongside their chosen film, alternating between the personal and the ghoulish ... All of the expected links are made ... Still, there are some wonderful off-road pieces that twist and turn with skeletal precision ... Other essays in the collection go down unlit stairwells I would rather have avoided ... There’s a generational divide at play here, a youthful desire for utopia rubbing up against those who’ve grown accustomed to finding queerness in interstitial spaces. Once morality is mapped on top of these different positions, it becomes difficult to have a conversation about cultural value.
Each essay provides a plethora of fascinating details. Sumiko Saulson’s work on Nia DaCosta’s Candyman (2021) is moving ... Carmen Maria Machado’s essay on the 2009 film Jennifer’s Body is particularly sublime ... Will appeal to both academic and public-library audiences.