Snippets Issue 33 : The Gothic Issue

Gothic Horror History

A lifetime of gothic horror movies

Gothic Horror History

By Raz

Well first of all let me wish you all a HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I've been asked to talk to you all about Gothic Horror films, a great sub-genre of the movie world that sadly seems to get overlooked.

It's a genre that has a wide variety of choice to it and has a very rich history and my goal here is try to guide you through what I consider to be some of the best Gothic Horror films to suit all tastes, from classic to modern. So let's get to it!

If you love the old classic style then you simply can't go wrong with the iconic films such as Dracula (1931) or even have a double billing of Frankenstein (1931) and Bride Of Frankenstein (1935), something I absolutely love doing. You can go even further back than these and watch the silent films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) Nosferatu (1922) or The Phantom Of The Opera (1925), though I know they aren't for everyone. There are releases that often get overlooked though, those that helped shape the Gothic Horror genre. There's Rebecca (1940), Cat People (1942), The Uninvited (1944), Gaslight (1944), The Picture Of Dorian Gray (1945), The Body Snatcher (1945), Dragonwyck (1946), The Spiral Staircase (1946) and Les Diaboliques (1955). These were the films that helped lay a very strong foundation for this genre. During the 60's we were treated with some amazingly made Gothic Horror features where directors such as Maro Bava and Roger Corman made their mark with both releasing some incredible films like Black Sunday (1960), House Of Usher (1960), The Pit And The Pendulum (1961), Premature Burial (1962), Black Sabbath (1963), Evil Eye (1963), The Haunted Palace (1963),The Masque Of The Red Death (1964), Blood And Black Lace (1964), The Tomb Of Ligeia (1964), Kill, Baby... Kill! (1966) and there was more out there for viewers to enjoy such as Eyes Without A Face (1960), The Innocents (1961), The Haunting (1963), The Terror (1963) and Rosemary’s Baby (1968).

When the 70's came round the Gothic Horror releases slowed down but we still got a few great films with Murders In The Rue Morgue (1971), The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), Countess Dracula (1971), Demons Of The Mind (1972), The Creeping Flesh (1973), From Beyond The Grave (1974), Burnt Offerings (1976) and Suspiria (1977). Once the 80's kicked in Gothic Horror took a back seat and the Slasher genre was in full swing but we still got a few gems with The Changeling (1980), Gothic (1986), Near Dark (1987) and The Woman In Black (1989). The 90's saw the genre start to fade out with only a handful of releases, the notable ones being Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Cronos (1993), Interview With The Vampire (1994) and Sleepy Hollow (1999).

Then the Noughties happened and people once again started gaining an interest in Gothic Horror as film-makers who grew up on those earlier films were using them as their inspiration and the wheels were put in motion for a comeback. We had releases such as The Shadow Of The Vampire (2000), The Devil's Backbone (2001), Session 9 (2001), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street (2007) and The Orphanage (2007). Once the Noughties closed Gothic Horror was still going strong and that was evident with releases like The Awakening (2011), The Woman In Black (2012), The Conjuring (2013), Crimson Peak (2015) and The Witch (2015). Now I know some of you reading this may point out that I've missed a ton of films made by a certain company called Hammer Films. I didn't mention many of these as I tried to give you a deeper look into the genre but there's no doubting that Hammer Horror was the definitive Gothic Horror film making machine and are easy to seek out, though I do find that it's an acquired taste, you either love them or you hate them.

If you are a fan of Gothic Horror then I'd like to point you in the direction of the amazing TV show that is "Penny Dreadful". If you aren't aware of this show then I urge you to seek it out immediately. It has such a talented cast such as Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Billie Piper, Timothy Dalton and it features some of the best writing I've seen in quite a long time. Gothic Horror may not be as popular as it once was and releases may be more sporadic than they once were, but it most certainly still has a very strong fan base: there's a good reason that these films I've listed are still very much loved. In my opinion we're in the midst of a huge revival and I'm certain we will see more and more of this style of film being made.

My name is Raz and I run the blog Raz's Midnight Macabre, I have a huge passion for the Horror genre and if you like what you've read then feel free to head on over to my website.


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