Ten macabre movies adopted by the pop goth community
The Crow film series hit Hulu last summer, bringing the franchise to the eyes of adoring fans and young audiences who might not yet have experienced the gothic phenomenon.
As the AV Club put it, “The Crow is so weighed down with eerie, tragic coincidence that it’s almost hard to look at it as a real movie, rather than some mystic totem.” As you will likely remember, Brandon Lee – the young lead and son of Bruce Lee – died on set during a freak accident while filming his character’s death scene.
It was a harrowing end, one that gave The Crow a haunted air as there was a feeling of romantic tragedy surrounding his death. But it didn’t end there. Based on the same name Frank Miller-esque comic book series, the 1994 film adaptation garnered unexpected worldwide attention and financial success.
Pulling together an alt-rock and grungy soundtrack and gothic costume design, the film launched the mall goth scene and became a sort of 90s poster for teens looking to rebel. In celebration of the film’s legacy and its Hulu release, we’re looking at some of the other films that add to the goth canon. So smoke out those eyes, put on your fave lace gown, and flex those bad attitude muscles – here are the top ten films goths have adopted over the ages.
A comic book adaptation featuring vampires, long black coats, a buttload of violence and gore, and Wesley Snipes (Demolition Man) as a bloodsucking badass? Blade is basically a goth’s wet nightmare.
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
With his pop goth visuals, macabre narratives, and eccentric characters, Tim Burton (Ed Wood) truly earned his reputation as the king of the gothic fairytale. Sleepy Hollow is a vivid contribution to his collection, full of humor, satire, and wit. (As well as Christopher Walken as a headless horseman – what’s not to love?)
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Goths and vampires go hand in hand, so it’s no surprise that Francis Ford Coppola’s big-screen adaptation of the classic gothic horror novel is an absolute staple in the macabre subgenre.
Starring Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) as Count Dracula and goth pinup Winona Ryder (Stranger Things) as Mina Harker, this blood-soaked, highly sexual flick follows the night dweller as he travels to England to seduce his barrister’s fiancée and inflict havoc in the foreign land.
The Addams Family (1991)
On the lighter side of the goth film canon is Barry Sonnenfeld’s classic horror comedy. There’s not one goth in the world who didn’t want to be Wednesday Addams (Christina Ricci) with her badass attitude and oh-so-cute pigtails.
Donnie Darko (2002)
Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko was basically the embodiment of every struggling goth / emo kid across the world, with Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler) starring as the troubled teenager who is plagued by visions of a dude in a sinister looking rabbit suit.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
The weirdly attractive Edward Scissorhands (a young Johnny Depp definitely had something to do with these feelings) brings a new community to life after living in isolation, the story of which is closely compared with Mary Shelley’s gothic novel Frankenstein. Looks wise, Eddy had it all – Robert Smith-esque hair, a full black leather suit, and scissors for hands. Meanwhile, the prom queen blonde Winona Ryder served as the perfect chalk to his cheese.
The Craft (1996)
Inspiring goth girls across the country to start their own coven, don wet-look leather and black lipstick, and attempt (and fail) to play “light as a feather, stiff as a board” at every single slumber party, The Craft is the absolute teen goth classic, following a high school student who falls in with a trio of outcast teenage witches.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
What lover of the pop goth genre doesn’t own a Jack Skellington backpack? With Burton as writer and Henry Selick (Coraline) as director, this stop-motion dark fantasy about the king of Halloweentown is filled to the brim with gothic elements and was quickly adopted by members of the subgenre as the only acceptable film to watch during the holidays.
When a young ballerina enrols in a prestigious European dance academy, she discovers occult secrets hidden within the department and realizes that the school is a front for something sinister amidst a series of grisly murders. It’s a horrific and gruesome ride that’s as terrifying and surreal as the ins and outs of a goth’s nightmare.
Securing Winona Ryder as the 80s goth icon, Tim Burton proved himself as the playful goth auteur with this comedy fantasy film about a recently-deceased ghost couple who find their home invaded by an obnoxious family and take on the help of a sleazy ghost to help get rid of the new residents.