Image of Dr Stella Gaynor

Dr Stella Gaynor

Humanities and Social Science

Faculty of Arts Professional and Social Studies

Dr Stella Marie Gaynor is a Senior Lecturer in Media, Culture and Communications . Her background is in horror studies, television, film and radio studies. She graduated with a Doctorate in Media, Culture and Communication from the University of Salford in 2018. Stella is interested in horror media - especially zombie texts and slasher texts - in television and film. Her previous research has explored the industrial conditions of television in the United States and its impact on long form horror TV drama. Stella has explored in depth highly successful television series such as The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Scream: The TV Series, Chucky, The Exorcist, and Ash v Evil Dead. Stella has also examined horror in contemporary digital spaces, inclduding niche streaming services like Shudder, Chiller, and the emergence of creepypasta and horror podcasting.

Stella's current long term project is focussed on Murder Media - exploring and examing representation of true crime, cults, serial murder, and dark histories across the modern media landscape. Stella is particularly interested in these media artefacts and strories when they are told by previously unheard or silenced voices. The Murder Media project will also produce a podcast, detailing the research process, interviewing fellow academics, true crime podcasters, true crime fans and criminologists.

Stella specialises in teaching television and media studies, social and digital media, and horror studies. She currently teaches on the following undergraduate and postgraduate modules:

Analysing Entertainment Media
Media and Cultural Theory
Social and Digital Media
Mediating Diversity
Theories, Concepts and Debates in Mass Communications


2018, The University of Salford, United Kingdom, PhD

Academic appointments

PhD Candidate / Associate Lecturer, Broadcast Media, University of Salford, 2015 - 2022
Associate Lecturer, Film and Media, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2011 - 2015

Journal article

Gaynor SM. 2024. “Bones are life!” true-crime podcasting, self-promotion and the vernaculars of Instagram with Cult Liter Popular Communication, 22 :1-16 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Gaynor S. 2021. A Braindead Nation: Black Summer and Trump's America Revenant: Critical and Creative Studies of the Supernatural, :246-271 Publisher Url Public Url


Gaynor S. 2023. What else can I add? Inverting the narrative through female perspectives in Falling for a Killer, My Favorite Murder, and Murder, Mystery and Make Up Larke-Walsh G. True Crime in American Media :180-196 Routledge. New York 9781032123479 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Gaynor S. 2022. "She is saved now: I have washed her of all her sins:" Coping with Death, Grief, and Cults, in The Returned Bacon S. Faith and the Zombie: Critical Essays on the End of the World and Beyond :27-40 McFarland 9781476680538 Publisher Url Public Url

Gaynor S. 2022. Better the Devil You Know: Nostalgia for the Captured Killer in Netflix's Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes Robinson BAB, Daigle C. Serial Killers in Contemporary Television: Familiar Monsters in Post 9/11 Culture Routledge 9781032202501 Publisher Url Public Url

Gaynor S. 2021. Driving Industrial Innovation: Fox International Channels and the Global Appeal of The Walking Dead Lorna Jowett , Stacey Abbott . Global TV Horror University of Wales Press 9781786836946 Publisher Url

Books (authored)

Gaynor SM. 2022. Rethinking Horror in the New Economies of Television Palgrave Macmillan 9783030975883

Book review

Gaynor S. 2020. Book Review: Joss Whedon vs. The Horror Tradition: The Production of Genre in Buffy and Beyond Elkie Weissman , Simone Knox . Critical Studies in Television, 15 Publisher Url

Gaynor S. 2019. Book Review: Horror Television in the Age of Consumption: Binging on Fear Michael Goddard , Janet McCabe , Hannah Andrews , Christopher Hogg . Critical Studies in Television, 14 Publisher Url

Internet publication

Gaynor S. 2019. Less talk, more action: Speeding up the zombie apocalypse in Netflix’s Black Summer. Publisher Url

Gaynor S, Shellie McMurdo , Thomas Joseph Watson , Laura Mee , Craig Ian Mann . 2019. The problem with post-horror: Horror and Quality: When the Gothic gets Gruesome in The Haunting of Hill House Publisher Url

Gaynor S. 2018. TV Horror according to Netflix: Haunting of Hill House, Stranger Things and Hemlock Grove. Publisher Url

Gaynor S. 2018. Trapped by the house, the monologues, and a neat ending: Is The Haunting of Hill House trapped in its one season? Publisher Url

Gaynor S. 2018. Death by Franchise: Goodbye Rick Grimes, its been emotional. The survival and expansion of AMC’s The Walking Dead Publisher Url

Conference presentation:

"It's a shitty piece of plastic that doesn't even record!"​ Communicating with the dead on YouTube with Glam & Gore, BAFTSS Horror Studies SIG Dead Media: Contemporary Horror and The Analogue, BAFTSS Horror Studies SIG (Online), Oral presentation. 2024

The Exorcist TV Series: Demons and Demographics, Horror Reverie: An Online Symposium Celebrating 50 years of The Exorcist, Online / Montreal Monstrum Society, Oral presentation. 2023

The Walking Dead Roundtable, Fear2000 Presents: A Wake for The Walking Dead, Fear2000 in Association with Sheffield Hallam University, Oral presentation. 2022

“There’s bones in the chocolate!” When Horror Fact Meets Horror Entertainment, Fear2000: Horror Unbound, Sheffield Hallam University, Oral presentation. 2021

Better the Devil You Know: Nostalgia for the Captured Killer, in Netflix’s Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, Genre/Nostalgia, Universtity of Hertfordshire, Oral presentation. 2021

Momo and the Simulation of the Read: A Digital Urban Legend, Folklore on Screen at the Centre for Contemporary Urban Legend,, Sheffield Hallam University, Oral presentation. 2019

When did you die? Zombies have to stick together”: The Gothic, the Undead and Questions About the Afterlife in The Returned, Fear2000: Contemporary Horror Worldwide, Sheffield Hallam University, Oral presentation. 2019

• “We want to out HBO, HBO”: Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO: Micro-Genres, Money Shots and Murder in Hemlock Grove, Fear2000: Horror Media Now, Sheffield Hallam University, Oral presentation. 2018

‘“I’ll set the machine to slasher movie, and we’ll leave it at that”: Complex Quality and Slasher Insanity in FOX’s Scream Queens, At Home With Horror, University of Kent, Oral presentation. 2017

• ‘Vampires, Parasites and Worms, Oh My! Generic Hybridity and Institutional Influence in FX’s The Strain,’, Fear2000: 21st Century Monsters, Sheffield Hallam University, Oral presentation. 2017

• ‘” Master, save thyself:” Contagion and Redressing the Gothic in Contemporary Horror Drama,’, ’ Games, Gothic and Gore: Horror Beyond Hollywood, University of Salford, Oral presentation. 2017

Made for TV Monsters: Aesthetic Disposition and Socio-Political Comment in True Blood and The Walking Dead,’, Fear2000: 21st Century Horror, Sheffield Hallam University, Oral presentation. 2016

Other invited event:

Fear 2000: Horror Undying - Invited Keynote, Sheffield Hallam University, Invited Keynote: There Are Certain Rules To Surviving: Legacy Horror Film Franchises as Contemporary Television Serials. 2022

Membership of professional bodies:

BAFTSS Horror Studies Special Interest Group (SIG), British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies. 2021

• Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Higher Education Academy. 2014