Creaturely Fear: Animality and Horror Cinema

deadline for submissions: 
May 27, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Peter Sands, Mo O'Neill, Samantha Hind (Sheffield Animal Studies Research Centre)
contact email: 

Call for Papers

Creaturely Fear: Animality and Horror Cinema
Sheffield Animal Studies Research Centre (ShARC), 21–22 July 2022 (Online)

Keynote speaker: Dr Christy Tidwell, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Animals proliferate in the genre of horror cinema. They are creatures that defy the bounds of physical laws, and victims of slasher killers; vectors of zoonosis and companions that offer solace amid darkness. Yet horror’s relationship with animals, animality, and discourses of species extends beyond the creatures that appear at the manifest level of horror narratives. Animals exist in the margins of horror films that centre questions of violence, edibility, and embodiment, with the politics of meat-eating offering real world context to speculative depictions of flesh consumption. At times, animals are the real victims of horror filmmaking, with documentary violence baked into the fictional narratives of films like Cannibal Holocaust. They are the subjects of non-fictional horror cinema, with films such as Earthlings performing horror in service of material and political change. But what is particular about the figure of the animal and its relationship to cinematic affects of fear, horror, or dread? How is horror animated by animals and animality? Or, conversely, how are animals brought into various kinds of relationship (with both humans and other animals) via feelings of horror? What role can horror play in facilitating cinematic explorations of animal worlds? With this call for papers, we invite proposals that address these questions or any aspect of the relationship between animals and horror cinema. Motivated in part by the spate of recent horror films that centre animals, such as Raw (2016) and Lamb (2021), we also welcome proposals that address connections between animals, animality, or species and the affective experience of horror, both within and beyond its generic formations. As such, we encourage work that examines a variety of filmic sources, from documentary and wildlife film to fictional film that exhibits animal horror in novel and unexpected ways.

Possible topics include:

• Aesthetics and form in animal horror
• Animal B-movie horror
• Animals ‘between the lines’ of horror; marginal, extruded, or decentered animals
• Animal documentary horror
• Ethics and politics of animal horror production, e.g. censorship, violence
• Horror and meat
• Horror of the posthuman, or human-as-animal
• Meanings and uses of horror within animal advocacy
• Monstrous animals/animal hybrids
• Theoretical/philosophical engagements with animal horror

Abstracts of 300 words should be submitted to Peter Sands (, Mo O’Neill (, and Sam Hind ( by 27 May 2022.

The symposium will be held online via Zoom on 21–22 July 2022. We expressly welcome proposals from postgraduate and early career scholars. An edited volume on Animality and Horror Cinema is an intended outcome of the meeting, and will be considered for publication in the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature series.