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Staff Profile

Dr Lauren Stephenson

Senior Lecturer, Film and Media & Communications


I joined the Film and Media & Communications team at York St John in 2019 as a lecturer in Film Studies, after three years with the university as a Visiting Lecturer. I completed my PhD in June 2018, and my thesis explored the British 'Hoodie horror' film cycle. I am the co-founder and co-facilitator of the Cinema and Social Justice Project at York St. John, and my research interests include Horror cinema (in particular, British, American and New Zealand Horror), Gender and Horror, and women's friendships on-screen.




I have taught extensively across all three undergraduate levels of YSJ's Film and Media programmes. I have acted as Module Director for several first year modules, including Media Research, Critical Perspectives, Cinema and Society and Writing the Media, and contributed to modules on Gothic and Horror cinema, Convergence cultures and Globalisation, among others. I have also worked closely with York St. John's English Literature team to deliver sessions for their Gothic and Horror and Gender and Sexualities modules.

Module Director:
MED4004M Research in Practice
AMS4002M Cinema and Society
FIL4001M Film and its Audiences
FIL5005M Imaginary Worlds
FIL6001M Animations
MED6006M Gender and Sexualities

Module Tutor:
MED4007M Mediated Identities
FIL5003M Gothic and Horror


My research interests are particularly grounded in genre cinema and screen representations of gender. My recent work has focused on men and masculinity in Horror cinema and television, with a particular focus on British film and TV texts, women's friendships in American cinema, with a particular focus on the romcom, and women in power, with a particular emphasis on disaster and revenge narratives. My PhD thesis and subsequent research explored how Horror navigates the intersection of class and gender, using the British 'hoodie horror' film cycle to interrogate the genre's potential to exploit and explore contemporary socio-economic and socio-political concerns. Considering the social, political and cultural impact of the 2008 financial crash, Britain's subsequent austerity measures, and the sustained ideological attack on the notion of 'working-classness' in British press and government, my research interrogates the hoodie horror's use and treatment of the masculinised 'hoodie' figure as a contemporary British folk devil. To date, this research has been the basis for a book chapter, for Clive Bloom's 'Palgrave Handbook of the Gothic', and an online article for The Conversation, in order to disseminate to a wider non-specialist audience. I've also been interviewed about this research for the upcoming documentary from Hellmouth Pictures, titled 'Teen Screams'.

Aside from 'hoodie horror', I've made contributions to several exciting projects centring considerations of women in/and horror - a subject very close to my heart. I've had the pleasure of writing a bio for the fantastic 'Cut-Throat Women' database on filmmaker Coralie Fargeat (which received great feedback from the filmmaker herself!) and I've also written for the online horror film journal 'Bloody Women'. I'm also co-editing my first edited collection with Professor Rob Edgar, titled 'Horrifying Children: Hauntology and the Legacy of Children's Fiction' for Bloomsbury. The collection follows a successful 1-day symposium of the same name which Rob and I co-organised and facilitated in Spring 2022.
Alongside developing my horror-based research, I've also recently completed work on cinematic representations of women's friendships and First Ladies in American disaster cinema.

I am the co-founder and co-investigator of the Cinema and Social Justice project, alongside my colleague Dr Martin Hall. The project seeks explore film’s vital role in shaping our understanding of the world around us. Our focus is on the social justice work that cinema does and the questions that film may answer. The project is currently in its infancy, but we have some exciting work ahead of us!

Publications and Conferences

Book chapters:

‘“I’m pissed off, and I’m angry, and we need your permission to kill someone”: Frustrated Masculinities in Charlie Brooker’s Dead Set’ [Book chapter]. Gender in Horror Television. Steven Gerrard, ed. Emerald, February 2019.

‘Landscape and the Male Body in the British Hoodie Horror Film Cycle’ [Book Chapter]. Handbook of the Gothic: The Modern Age. Clive Bloom, ed. Palgrave, July 2020.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) and the politics of female friendship’ [Book Chapter]. Women in the work of Woody Allen. Martin Hall, ed. Amsterdam University Press, August 2022.

‘On the edge of disaster: First Ladies at the end of the world in Mars Attacks! (Burton, 1996) and Independence Day (Emmerich, 1996).’ [Book chapter]. Beyond the White House: The First Lady in Film, Fiction, and Culture. Anne-Marie Evans and Sarah Trott, eds., under consideration.

‘Restoring Relics – (Re)-releasing Antrum (2018) and film as folk horror’. [Book chapter]. Routledge Companion to Folk Horror. Rob Edgar and Wayne Johnson, eds. Routledge, under consideration.

Edited collections:

Horrifying Children: Hauntology and the Legacy of Children's Television. Co-edited with Robert Edgar and John Marland, Bloomsbury, under consideration.

Online articles:

‘Coralie Fargeat’. (2019). Cut-Throat Women: A Database of Women Who Make Horror.

The Nightingale: Filming the past, negotiating the present’. (2020). Bloody Women.

Eden Lake and the British ‘hoodie horror’ genre’. (2021). The Conversation.

Select Conference papers:

‘“Hell on Earth”: Landscape and the male body in the British ‘Hoodie Horror’ film cycle’ at International Gothic Association Conference at Coast Plaza Suites, Vancouver, July 2015.

‘The State as ‘Alien’ in Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block’, at Trauma, Evil and Anxiety Research Symposium, University of Hildesheim, December 2015.

‘“The Glitch Just Typed!”: The Internet as Dystopia in Unfriended (Gabriadze, 2014)’, at Speculative Futures Conference, YSJ, May 2017.

‘Houses From Hell: Domestic Entrapment in Contemporary New Zealand Horror’, at Fear 2000, Sheffield Hallam University, June 2019.

‘Film as Folk Horror’ at Fear 2000, Sheffield Hallam University, July 2022.