Wondering how you can celebrate Goth Day on May 22nd? Set the mood with a list of binge-worthy, macabre films. Following are a few of my favorite flicks that either feature goth characters or exude a dark vibe. By no means an exhaustive compilation, this should at least give you a good start. So, drape yourself in black, dim the lights and enjoy the feature presentation.
You’re probably not too surprised to see this classic on the list. Let’s be honest, nearly all of Tim Burton’s filmography can be mentioned here. This one stands out in particular because of the morose and gloomy air of Lydia Deetz (Winona Ryder). Her dark looks and attitude have inspired many baby bats, including myself. And, let’s not forget she has the ability to befriend the dead. How goth is that?
The Craft (1996)
Four Catholic schoolgirls get involved with witchcraft, casting spells and placing curses on unlucky souls. Trouble arises, though, when the group begins to abuse their powers. There’s no doubt the movie popularized Wiccan practices when it was released. A High Priestess named Pat Devin was consulted to ensure proper representation of Wicca and for assistance in creating the chants.
Creepy things also happened on set. Reportedly, during one take while filming the invocation scene on the beach, after Nancy (Fairuza Balk) proclaimed, “Manon, fill me,” the crew lost power. The occult influence, plus Nancy’s morbid flair make this a fantastic pick for Goth Day.
The Addams Family (1991)
Ah, the Addams Family—the spookiest clan to grace the big screen. The 1990s film was based on both cartoonist Charles Addams’ creations and the 1964 TV series. From their grand, Victorian-inspired home to the eccentric company they keep, there’s no doubt this household is the epitome of macabre. Plus, Morticia (Anjelica Huston) and Wednesday Addams (Christina Ricci) slay with their raven-colored locks, black attire and omniscient stares. The 2019 animated movie is another great option to watch.
The Crow (1994)
The Crow debuted in theaters during a time when the goth scene was seeing tremendous growth and it remains a popular cult film within the subculture today. Eric (Brandon Lee) and his fiancée plan to marry on Halloween but are viciously murdered the night before their wedding. He’s resurrected by a crow and seeks revenge on the killers. Crows are widely viewed as mysterious creatures, and Edgar Allan Poe’s Gothic poem “The Crow” further solidified the birds’ grim nature. Eric’s risen-from- the-grave look is also to die for (no pun intended). With a visage painted in pale white, dark-rimmed eyes and black garments, he looks like a dark angel.
Sadly, real tragedy struck the set when Lee was fatally shot in what turned out to be a terrible freak accident while filming a scene. The movie is a great way to pay homage to not only Goth Day, but to the memory of Brandon Lee as well.
Queen of the Damned (2002)
Fans of Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles were greatly divided on this film adaptation, which combined the plots of The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned. I love the movie. Although there are parts that diverge from the original storylines, the movie itself is a fun watch.
Lestat rises from his coffin after a long slumber and sets out to turn the vampire and human worlds upside down through hard core rock n’ roll. He leads his band to super stardom and then awakens the mother of all vampires, Akasha. That’s when hell really breaks loose.
I have to say the music of the film makes it all the more entertaining to see. Jonathan Davis, lead singer of metal band Korn, and Richard Gibbs produced the soundtrack. Davis provided vocals in the film, but for legal reasons, couldn’t perform on the album, so different artists sing the tracks. The songs have such a raw sound and Davis did a wonderful job with the lyrics. I had the fortune of seeing Jay Gordon, front man of Orgy, perform “Slept So Long” live at the 2020 Endless Night Vampire Ball!
Vampires and werewolves are at war in this gritty horror film. Kate Beckinsale is exquisite as Selene, a bad ass death dealer vampire who’s at the forefront in the fight against lycans. She unexpectedly finds herself having to protect a human named Michael who is being hunted by the enemy. Why the werewolves want him so badly is a mystery to her, one that she’s determined to discover.
The story continues in four proceeding films, which I recommend if you enjoy the first part. And, since I can’t keep from commenting on the goth-inspired fashion in these movies, I must say a few words on Selene’s attire. The all-black outfit consisted of a faux leather cat suit, corset and high-heeled buckled boots. I’ve been trying to get my hands on a replica of the ensemble since I saw the movie in 2003.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009 & 2011)
The late Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series was brought to life in both Swedish and American movie adaptations. I’m mentioning the movies here because the central character, Lisbeth Salander, embodies a goth style. I’ve read the books, and although I don’t recall the term “goth” being used to describe her, she is portrayed as having an alternative look and lifestyle. The films unquestionably imbue the heroine with a dark side. In both versions, Salander sports spikes, piercings and adapts a primarily black wardrobe. One of the reasons I appreciate the books and films is because Lisbeth is a powerful, female character that defies mainstream society by her appearance, beliefs and actions. She is a force to be reckoned with and, I think, a fascinating, goth-inspired figure. Read more about the book series and author in this blog post.
Do you have other movie recommendations that’d be great for Goth Day or are just really dark? Leave a comment below!