Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Performing Arts History & Criticism

Gods and Monsters

A Queer Film Classic

by (author) Noah Tsika

series edited by Thomas Waugh & Matthew Hays

Arsenal Pulp Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2009
History & Criticism, Gay Studies
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2009
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Gods and Monsters, one of three inaugural titles in Arsenal's film book series Queer Film Classics, deals with the acclaimed 1998 film about openly gay film director James Whale, best known for the Frankenstein films of the 1930s.
Written and directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls), the film focuses on the final days of Whale's life in the 1950s. Moving from the slums of Britain in the early twentieth century to the new era of "talkies" in Hollywood and beyond, Gods and Monsters trains a gay eye on the historical events that helped shape Whale (played by Ian McKellen) and his films. In 1957, long after his career had peaked, he recounts his experiences to his young, straight gardener (played by Brendan Fraser), with whom he forms an uncommon bond. The resulting film was widely acclaimed, winning an Oscar for Condon's screenplay and nominations for both McKellen and co-star Lynn Redgrave.
Noah Tsika's book examines Gods and Monsters from a variety of perspectives, highlighting the complexity and significance of its achievements, including its fusion of fantasy and biography.

About the authors

Noah Tsika is a PhD candidate in Cinema Studies at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts and the author of numerous essays on film, television, and new media.

Noah Tsika's profile page

Thomas Waugh is the award-winning author or co-author of numerous books, including five for Arsenal Pulp Press: Out/Lines, Lust Unearthed, Montreal Main: A Queer Film Classic (with Jason Garrison), Comin' At Ya! (with David L. Chapman) and Gay Art: A Historic Collection (with Felix Lance Falkon). His other books include Hard to Imagine, The Fruit Machine, and The Romance of Transgression. He teaches film studies at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, where he lives. He has published widely on political discourses and sexual representation in film and video, on lesbian and gay film and video, and has more recently undertaken interdisciplinary research and teaching on AIDS. He is also the founder and former coordinator of the Minor Programme in Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality at Concordia.

In addition to the titles below, Thomas is also co-editor (with Matthew Hays) of the Queer Film Classics series.

Thomas Waugh's profile page

Matthew Hays is a Montreal-based critic, author, film festival programmer, and university instructor. He is the co-editor (with Thomas Waugh) of Arsenal Pulp's Queer Film Classics series. He has been a film critic and reporter for the weekly Montreal Mirror since 1993. His first book, The View from Here: Conversations with Gay and Lesbian Filmmakers (Arsenal Pulp Press), was cited by Quill & Quire as one of the best books of 2007 and won a 2008 Lambda Literary Award. His articles have appeared in a broad range of publications, including The Guardian, The Daily Beast, The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, Vice, The Walrus, The Advocate, The Toronto Star, The International Herald Tribune, Cineaste, Cineaction, Quill & Quire, This Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, Canadian Screenwriter, and Xtra!. He teaches courses in journalism, communication studies and film studies at Concordia University, where he received his MA in communication studies in 2000. A two-time nominee for a National Magazine Award, Hays received the 2013 Concordia President's Award for Teaching Excellence. .
Matthew is also co-editor (with Thomas Waugh) of the Queer Film Classics series.

Matthew Hays' profile page

Editorial Reviews

With wit, erudition, and a palpable emotional investment, Tsika carefully explains what is significant, challenging, and interesting about Bill Condon's 1998 film ... Gods and Monsters is an accessible and appealing film, but Tsika shows you what a great film it is, too, ornately stylized and thematically rich. -Cineaste

A blend of fascinating personal tidbits and keenly defined insights, Tsika gives the book a feel of authenticity that goes beyond intellectual honesty and reaches emotional genuineness. -EDGE Publications

An intriguing biographical foundation drawn from the life of gay film director James Whale, with its narrative containing a mix of fact and fiction, this traces Whale's journey personally and professionally through his conversations with a young gardener. In addition to his analysis of the film's story and treatment, Tsika draws on other films and literature, as well as on the history of early Hollywood with regard to gay themes, in order to provide a full cultural context. -Library Journal

Other titles by Thomas Waugh

Other titles by Matthew Hays