Date of Award

Spring 5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Film Studies

First Advisor

Kelli Fuery

Second Advisor

Ian Barnard

Third Advisor

Jocelyn L. Buckner


In studying not only the distinct aesthetics and themes of the film but also the experience of the cult midnight movie screenings, this thesis re-positions The Rocky Horror Picture show as a radical descendent of the theatrical legacy of Jean- Martin Charcot’s lectures on hysteria. His “theatre of hysteria” is a retroactive terminology for the physician’s highlytheatricalized lecture series at the Salpêtrière hospital in Paris in the 1880s on the diagnosis of hysteria, during which the bodies of hysterical patients were rendered an objectified public spectacle under the guise of medical observation. The thesis explores intersections between queer and hysterical performance studies, seeking to illuminate the ways in which specific choreographies and gesturing – depicted cinematically and echoed by the shadow cast and spectators in The Rocky Horror Picture Show – iterate a shared experience of marginalization between bodies deemed “hysterical” and queer bodies.

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Available for download on Monday, May 12, 2025