This time of year brings out all of the scary things and creatures of the night. I especially LOVE old movies around this time of year because that’s when the gothic movies are most likely to come out and play.
For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what made gothic stories so special. Then, my mother turned me on to the movie Psycho at…well…I was very young at the time. But even then, I think I subconsciously knew what it was. It’s all about the house, baby. Or in some cases, the castle. Okay, perhaps not all about the house, but it plays an important role. And you can’t forget the characters either. After all, they’re the ones who will make or break a story.
I’m sure there’s probably more to it than that, so let’s dissect for a moment. When you have some big, spooky house in the background that elicit fear from the characters within the story, there’s a good chance that you have a sweet, suspenseful read on your hands. Most of the time the supernatural is involved and there’s one character who has power over another, tormenting their poor victim with their madness. The atmosphere is dark and oppressive with some mystery involved.
The gothic effect gets really good whenever we have a vampire, witch, or demon involved, but the house is a major character, too, and all it does is just sits there. If it’s haunted or is near a cemetery, even better. I love to read about the spiders creeping around on the webs, the shadows coming to life, and the deep halls extending like a throat into the stomach of the house. A lot of the creepiness isn’t just in the characters, but it’s in the details.
Some of my favorite gothic movies/books are novels by H.P. Lovecraft, Beauty and the Beast, Rose Red, Gaslight, Dark Shadows, Frankenstein, The House on Haunted Hill, and Rebecca. That’s a pretty wide stretch when it comes to what’s gothic, from a cartoon to mystery to horror. I guess it’s fair to say that not every gothic story has to be blood, guts, and gore, though it’s the paranormal ones that keep me on the edge of my seat.
I could be wrong, but I think gothic romance is making a comeback. It doesn’t matter so much if it’s historical or contemporary because it’s all about the thrill and the who-done-it’s. I, for one, have my fingers crossed, my popcorn ready, and the lights on. Toss in a vampire or a werewolf and I am so there.
Anything I’m missing? What does or doesn’t do it for you when it comes to all things gothic (romance, horror, suspense, etc.)?
PS. Happy Halloween!!