Emerging Trends in Twenty-First-Century Horror

deadline for submissions: 
January 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory
contact email: 

CFP: Emerging Trends in Twenty-First-Century Horror

Deadline for submissions:  January 15, 2021

full name / name of organization:  LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory

contact email:  litjourn@yahoo.com

Horror is experiencing a boom in the twenty-first century, one that spans media, genres, and the culture at large. Get Out, IT, and A Quiet Place dominated the box office, the way paved for them by predecessors like Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and The Conjuring. US television has also seen its share of horror fare: The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, and Stranger Things have been staples of the small screen, not to mention the hundreds of “reality” shows that probe the paranormal. Horror fiction has also flourished: sales hit a four-year high in the UK in 2018, and in the US, horror consistently ranks among the most profitable genres. Horror video games have increased in number and variety, expanding into virtual reality. And Halloween is now the second-largest commercial holiday in the United States, an almost $9 billion industry; ticket sales to haunted attractions alone account for $300-500 million.

As the title suggests, this special issue of LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory seeks essays that examine emerging trends in horror. We are looking for essays that identify broad tendencies in terms of subject matter and content, innovations in style and form, ways in which changes to technologies, industries, or economics have influenced the genre, and the increasing global spread of horror production. Although we are, of course, interested in essays that focus on traditional forms, such as novels, feature-length films, and television shows, we also welcome essays that consider other forms of horror.

Essays may explore the following, although this list is by no means exhaustive, and we are equally interested in receiving essays on trends we haven’t thought of:

  • national and global/transnational horror film, television, and fiction and fandoms
  • horror production by women, people of color, and the LGBTQIA community
  • representations of gender, race, religion, age, class, nationality, and sexuality
  • horror television, long-form, serial horror, and anthologies
  • the role of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Shudder, and Amazon Prime
  • “elevated” horror and other value-based categories applied to both texts and fans
  • cross-genre productions, such as gothic westerns, sci-fi horror, or crime/horror hybrids
  • found-footage horror and the use of social media or the internet
  • subgenres such as folk horror, ecohorror (including animal, plant, and fungal horror), political horror, urban/suburban gothic, haunted house stories, and dark comedy
  • toys, video games, virtual reality, cosplay, creepypastas, haunted/dark tourism, and other immersive and participatory experiences


LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory publishes critical essays that employ engaging, coherent theoretical perspectives and provide original, close readings of texts. Submissions must use MLA citation style and should range in length from 5,000-9,000 words. Please direct any questions relating to this CFP to the guest co-editors Karen J. Renner (karen.renner@nau.edu) or Dawn Keetley (dek7@lehigh.edu). Submissions should be emailed to litjourn@yahoo.com. Please include your contact information and a 100-200 word abstract in the body of your email. LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory also welcomes submissions for general issues.

Guest Editors: Karen J. Renner, Northern Arizona University, and Dawn Keetley, Lehigh University

Editors: Dwight Codr and Tara Harney-Mahajan