Goth is [not] Dead: (Sub)Genre-Chat

culture, fantasy, fiction, gothic, history, inspiration, learning, novel, romance, sci-fi, short stories, themes, writing

C. M. Rosens

Horace Walpole is credited/blamed for kicking off the ‘Gothic’ literature genre in 1765 with his novel The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Tale, which was intended as a subtle joke. Walpole meant ‘Gothic’ in the sense of ‘barbarous’ or ‘derived from the Middle Ages’, but his supernatural tale of perverse obsession and melodramatic tragedy sparked something of a movement to which his epithet was permanently applied.

From the 1790s, novelists like Ann Radcliffe (surely the Grandmother of the Gothic Novel) rediscovered Walpole’s fevered imaginings and ran with them, even though her novels always had natural, Scooby-Doo-esque conclusions finally unravelled by her meddling-kid protagonists. They were beautifully trashy novels, (stereo)typically read by impressionable and repressed young ladies by candlelight (probably with their nightgowns delicately draped over heaving bosoms, which is how I like to imagine it). It took other, braver (or less inhibited) authors like Matthew Lewis and his…

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the horrors that linger

Black Horror, Film, genre, Horror, movie, response

self-titled

It’s interesting how horror works as a genre when combined with Black characters. Of course Black characters matter in terms of representing the population on a surface level, but presenting Black characters in horror stories, amidst our already horrific past, elicits a much deeper sense of dread when played out on screens. Horror by itself is already rooted in reality somewhat—everyone has seen a creepy doll like Annabelle or been spooked by the cemeteries that appear in several horror stories. I think what separates, and perhaps elevates, Black horror from general, superficially scary stories is the deep knowledge that the things typically depicted in Black horror were once (and still are) very, very real.

Related imageEve’s Bayou (1997) dir. Kasi Lemmons

What made me think about this, in particular, was Terence Taylor’s “Wet Pain”, which may not even be ‘typical’ horror with evil spirits and possession, depending on one’s interpretation of…

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