Warm Weather Gothic Films

Hanging Rock 2

As the temperatures continue to rise and the hours of sunlight stretch further into the evening, I’ve found myself thinking about the “seasonality” of the Gothic. Gothicism, in all its forms, has a pretty established association with cold, dreary weather. Extremely bad weather is a hallmark of Gothic novels (see #7 on this list); similarly, Gothic movies usually make use of desolate autumn/winter landscapes and storms to heighten the foreboding tone. Even goth fashion is so ill-suited for hot weather that it has inspired a whole blog on the topic (where each photo submission gets a ranking of “gothiness” and “sweatiness”). Continue reading

Does the Byronic Heroine Exist?

Vanessa IvesLord Byron 1

“Can women have Byronic personalities?”

As seemingly random and specific as it sounds, I’ve actually wondered this on a few occasions. When I went through a big Byron phase a while ago, I was arguably more fascinated with his life and influence on (Gothic) pop-culture than I was by his writings. I found it amazing that an individual could change the landscape of Western culture and media– for centuries to come– almost entirely because of his unique personality. Romantic individualism personified.

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Eva Green as Vanessa Ives: Get the Look!

Episode 101

I think it’s safe to say that the two best things about Showtime’s Penny Dreadful are Eva Green’s incredible performance as Ms. Ives and the show’s costume/set design. Not only are Vanessa’s dresses meticulously detailed and historically accurate (unlike a lot of period dramas currently… don’t even get me started), but they actually serve as a reflection of her inner state.  Continue reading

The Bones of the Gothic: Stripping the Gothic to its Core

Gothic Bones 1

Inspired by my past few entries on Gothicism and Minimalism, I’ve decided to take a closer look at what lies at the heart of the Gothic. I tend to immediately and unconsciously label things as “Gothic” based on little more than a subjective “feel” or “mood” that I pick up on.  But I think it is important to establish some kind of objective ground rules for what constitutes the Gothic. What exact characteristics am I picking up on when I recognize a text or piece of art as Gothic?

Let’s take a look back for a second.

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Gothic Minimalism: Your Thoughts

I was pleasantly surprised by the thoughtful and in-depth comments left on a post I published last week (Gothic Minimalism: An Oxymoron?). I asked if Gothicism and Minimalism, two seemingly incompatible aesthetics, could be reconciled—and the answer seemed to be an enthusiastic yes!

Some of you gave suggestions of artists who you thought embodied a minimalist Gothic aesthetic. I thought I’d look into your recommendations and highlight them here:


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Gothic Films in the Criterion Collection, pt. II

Last week we looked at Gothic Films in the Criterion Collection made before 1950. Let’s now explore what the collection has to offer from the second half of the century!

The Night of the Hunter, 1955. Dir. Charles Laughton (USA).

CC The Night of the Hunter

The Night of the Hunter—incredibly, the only film the great actor Charles Laughton ever directed—is truly a stand-alone masterwork. A horror movie with qualities of a Grimm fairy tale, Continue reading

Gothic Films in the Criterion Collection

The Criterion Collection was founded to distribute “important classic and contemporary films.” So which Gothic films has the prestigious distributer deemed “important”? Let’s take a look at some of the Gothically-leaning films in the Collection (and also admire the awesome DVD cover art that’s created for each film). You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that there are actually quite a few of these films– so many that I only have room to feature films from the first halve of the 20th Century (next half will come later). Enjoy!

The Phantom Carriage, 1921. Dir. Victor Sjöström (Sweden).

CCPhantom Carriage

The last person to die on New Year’s Eve before the clock strikes twelve is doomed to take the reins of Death’s chariot and work tirelessly collecting fresh souls for the next year. Continue reading