With the forward march of time comes everyone’s favorite month to be macabre: October! Sure, goths don’t need an excuse to be morbid and mysterious throughout the year, but it’s nice to have the rest of the world follow suit, even if it’s for a short period of time. If you’re still looking to get into the mood for this gloomy season, here are some goth masterpieces worth checking out.
The Love Witch (2016), d. Anna Biller
The story of Elaine Parks, a witchy woman scorned by love and life, might not seem like a Goth Classic at first glance. The Love Witch is full of colorful visuals modeled after melodramas and Italian gialli of the late 60s and early 70s. Make no mistake: the vibrant colors and beautiful visuals go hand in hand with the murders and mayhem Elaine causes in her search for love. Come for the aesthetic intrigue, stay for the shocking storytelling.
Crimson Peak (2015), d. Guillermo del Toro
If your speed is more classical gothic romance, look no further than Guillermo del Toro’s often-overlooked Crimson Peak. A love story between Edith Cushing, an American heiress, and Thomas Sharpe, an English baronet, Crimson Peak also has its fair share of haunting imagery. There are plenty of ghosts, twists, and melancholy reveals to peruse.
Saint Maud (2020), d. Rose Glass
Honestly, what’s more gothic than a woman convinced she’s become a mouthpiece for God? In Saint Maud, a fervently religious caretaker becomes increasingly convinced she’s been charged with saving her latest patient before she dies. This movie is full of haunting, modern gothic imagery (misty, dark streets, lonely apartments filled with the hush of night, visions of fire, and martyrdom). It leans more toward horror, and has some truly shocking moments, but is a worthy introduction to the spookiest season.
The VVitch (2015), d. Robert Eggers
“Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?” It’s a tempting question that perhaps none of us would be able to resist if we lived during puritanical times, like Thomasin. Her family has been deemed too extreme for their settlement in the New World, and thus has had to make it on their own, isolated and growing more paranoid of each other and the dark woods on their land with each passing day. It’s a perfect American gothic folktale and a stunning debut from Eggers. There is plenty of mystery, dreary skies, and horrifying revelations to ring in the start of the season.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), d. Francis Ford Coppola
Potentially the horniest Dracula adaptation set to film, Bram Stoker’s Dracula takes the classic tale of everyone’s favorite Count and adds in Keanu Reeves and breathtaking costumes by the legendary Eiko Ishioka. There are all the timeless story beats, but there’s something about hearing Dracula tell Mina Harker, “I have crossed oceans of time to find you,” that makes you understand why he has so many brides in the first place. Prepare to swoon, sigh, and gasp as Coppola and company provide an operatic and sensual take on Bram Stoker’s indelible tale.
Surely there is something among these suggestions that can help you get mentally prepared for the peak of Goth Season. Whether it’s horror, romance, or a combination of the two, there’s something here that’s sure to keep you spellbound.