In horror Hollywood cinema, two common monsters used to be employed in many narrations. They are vampires and werewolves. Both of two them have various stories as they are represented in the movies, and they have been dominating the contemporary horror stories in Hollywood.
In a field of study as well-established as the Gothic, it is surprising how much contention there is over precisely what that term refers to. Is Gothic a genre, for example, or a mode? Should it be only applicable to literary and film texts that deal with tropes of haunting and trauma set in a gloomy atmosphere, or might it meaningfully be applied to other cultural forms of production, such as music or animation? Can television shows aimed at children be considered Gothic? What about food? When is something “Gothic” and when is it “horror”? Is there even a difference?
While lesser examples of the genre use stock scenarios like haunted houses, misty graveyards, and god-forsaken rock outcroppings, most of the finest pieces of horror writing explore the expression of place in highly specific and deeply innovative ways. Sometimes this engagement with place, as in the work of China Tom Miéville, involves the invention of new and weird topographies, while for other writers, the places described are known regions and even seemingly familiar locales.
Horror and humour have always been a part of civilisation, as Wheeler Winston Dixon states in relation to horror it “[…] may be traced back to the beginnings of narrative itself, or at least as far back as the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh (circa 2000 BC) […]” It is perhaps because these are two states of consciousness, both emotional and behavioural, that make it so hard to underpin a definitive theory or explanation of exactly what they are and how they work on the human psyche.
The Gothic style is an eclectic mix of ideas and gathered memories, focusing on the Victorian, and Edwardian dress with references to Medieval dress. The Victorian and Edwardian silhouette had extremes at both ends of their eras, but for this discussion, I want to investigate particular parts of the dress both male and female that have been transported into the later parts of the twentieth-century and beyond.
At The Haven Club, a Goth dance club, Goths adorned in black fetish wear, leather and Polyvinyl Chloride, dog collars and leashes gather weekly. While some men “gender blend,” wearing makeup and skirts, the women are dressed in sexy feminine outfits. The sidelines of the dance floor are populated by pairs and groups of people kissing, caressing, sucking on each other’s necks. This environment, Siobhan tells me, is “liberating.”
The emergence of the graphic novel has given way to a revolution. There is now a genre of books that even the most reluctant reader is interested in. The graphic novel works for everyone. It attracts boys as well as girls, English as a second language students, and visual learners, and is increasingly popular amongst young adults.
This week, I decided it was time to write about the most awe-inspiring festivals that still celebrate many of the gothic subcultures, featuring amazing artistic line-ups, cultural exchanges and some of the best places to shop for gothic items that make each weekend a recurring date in many a goth calendar.