Whedon, Feminism, and the Possibility of Feminist Horror on Television

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


Although ostensibly presented as “light entertainment,” the work of writer-director-producer Joss Whedon takes much dark inspiration from the horror genre to create a unique aesthetic and perform a cultural critique. Featuring monsters, the undead, as well as drawing upon folklore and fairy tales, his many productions both celebrate and masterfully repurpose the traditions of horror for their own means. Woofter and Jowett's collection looks at how Whedon revisits existing feminist tropes in the '70s and '80s “slasher” craze via Buffy the Vampire Slayer to create a feminist saga; the innovative use of silent cinema tropes to produce a new fear-laden, film-television intertext; postmodernist reflexivity in Cabin in the Woods; as well as exploring new concepts on “cosmic dread” and the sublime for a richer understanding of programmes Dollhouse and Firefly. Chapters provide the historical context of horror as well as the particular production backgrounds that by turns support, constrain or transform this mode of filmmaking. Informed by a wide range of theory from within philosophy, film studies, queer studies, psychoanalysis, feminism and other fields, the expert contributions to this volume prove the enduring relevance of Whedon's genre-based universe to the study of film, television, popular culture and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJoss Whedon vs. The Horror Tradition
Subtitle of host publicationThe Production of Genre in Buffy and Beyond.
EditorsLorna Jowett, Kristopher Woofter
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781786735416
ISBN (Print)9781788311021
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2018


  • horror genre
  • feminism
  • television horror
  • Joss Whedon
  • gender representation


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