Sex and Horror in Cinema

deadline for submissions: 
October 10, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Chalchitra Darpan


ABOUT CHACHITRA DARPAN (translates to Cinematic Review)

Chalchitra Darpan is an undergraduate film journal by Celluloid, the Film Society of Miranda House, University of Delhi, India. The inaugural edition (2019-20), which was Delhi University’s first ever undergraduate journal, was introduced with the vision of building a student community of future film scholars around it. The journal aims to provide an academic space for undergraduates interested in film and media, who wish to explore and engage in film academia.




The employment of human sexuality and gendered human subjectivity have been irrefutable tools for horror cinema, since the inception of the genre. Much of horror cinema, about human monsters or non-human ones (the other), about vengeful spirits from the past or demonic possession in the present, breeds on irrationality, which in psychoanalytic terms, is always sexual in origin and nature.  The concept of sexual awakening- from the carnal kind (vampirism and cannibalism) which we first saw in 1931 (Dracula) to ‘sex equals death’- has more often than not been one of the main features of most of horror’s sub-genres. The slasher film, a sub-genre of horror, is filled right to the brim with sexual connotation to the extent that it encroaches dangerously on the pornographic— the key to the genre being the “final girl” trope. Likewise, we find unwarranted depictions and stereotypes of gender and sexuality cloaked in a general formula found within plots in all sub-genres of horror cinema. 

Different places breed different horrors- the term "horror" itself is informed and perceived differently, depending on the attitudes and the understanding of not only sex, sexuality and gender, but also class, race and caste. The spectre's hauntings are a product of historicity. Horror externalizes the intimate and fragile realms of human sensibilities, magnifying terror, fear, and desire to a brash crescendo. What does horror's treatment of sexuality, sex and gender say, if anything at all, about the genre as a product of its time, place, and audience? Is there a difference between low brow and artisanal horror specifically in how they approach sex as an act, sex as violence, or the gendered body as the site of horror?

Topics to discuss and analyse sex and horror may include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • The female body as object
  • Gendered tropes and patterns in horror 
  • Horror as the realisation of revenge fantasy 
  • Queer narratives in horror
  • Some aspects of body horror
  • Gothic masculinity 
  • Consumption in, and of, horror- vampirism, cannibalism, et al.
  • Trans-horror narratives 
  • Psychological horror 
  • Gendered agency and survival in horror 
  • Fetishism 
  • Voyeurism 
  • Nudity and sexual excess 
  • Sex, sexuality and gender in cross-cultural encounters vis-à-vis horror
  • Queer monstrosity: The "otherisation" of the spectre 
  • B-grade horror, with reference to the Ramsay films
  • Sex and sexuality in the slasher film
  • Psychoanalysis in, and of, horror

 These are but a few sub-themes that we have in mind, but we do look forward to explorations of the theme beyond what we’ve already talked about. We in fact, urge everyone to examine the theme from various perspectives!


Abstract Submission

 Proposal abstracts should be limited to 250 words and must be accompanied by an indicative bibliography. A brief biography of the author of approx. 150 words should be provided along with the abstract. Abstracts should be sent through as Word Documents  and titled “For consideration: Author First name Author Surname” (e.g. For consideration: Mary Poppins).

 Please mail your proposal to-



Research Paper Submission

Chalchitra Darpan accepts a variety of written pieces for submission, such as:


  1. Essays for our ‘Features’ section, which should be between 5,000-7,000 words (including footnotes, excluding bibliography)
  2. Shorter articles of approximately 1,000-3,000 words (including footnotes, excluding bibliography).
  3. Book Reviews, which are essays that provide a scholarly critique of texts in the field. The text choice may range from the theoretical and the practical to the pedagogical and the historical. They are typically 1,000 words (including footnotes, excluding bibliography).
  4. Interview, with no more than 10 questions.

While this is largely an undergraduate journal, we do encourage some expert comments or articles from researchers working in the field.

All submissions should not be under consideration elsewhere, and should be original and previously unpublished.


Tentative time-table*:


Abstract Submission Deadline: 10th October, 2021

Abstract Decision Announcement: 25th October, 2021

First Draft Deadline: 30th December, 2021

Final Draft Deadline: 20th January, 2022

Final Draft with Corrections: 30th January, 2022

(*subject to change)

Compiled resources/samples to help writing:


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