What Are Your Favorite Gothic Stories?
This month sees the release of our second Harlequin E Shivers Box Set! We checked in with all four authors to ask if they’d seen a resurgence of gothic stories lately, and to share any of their favorite gothic tales in movies or television.
Jane Godman, author of Echoes in the Darkness
Since Harlequin E Shivers launched with the first box set in January 2014, I am noticing gothic trends everywhere! All of a sudden, it seems everyone wants to explore the attics and cellars of our imagination. Films, television programs, books, computer games, websites—even clothing—are determined to take us to where the wild, shadowy things lurk.
This gothic related phenomenon could be easily explained, of course. It might be the same as when you think of buying a certain make of car. Suddenly, you see nothing but that particular type of car. I may be so tuned in to gothic-ness through my own writing that I’m noticing it everywhere. Or Harlequin E Shivers may be the trailblazers for a gothic resurgence. I like to think it’s the latter.
I have noticed a definite recurring gothic theme, although it is not labelled explicitly as such, in many of the Scandinavian programs on British TV. Dramas like Wallander, The Bridge and The Killing all rely heavily on atmosphere, cliff-hangers and secrets—the lynchpins of a good gothic. The BBC’s adaptation of Death Comes to Pemberley has been one of my favorite dramas recently. It was a masterpiece of gothic shivery-ness, making the viewer suspect everyone, even (whisper it quietly) Mr. Darcy.
Looking ahead, I’m excited to learn that, when it comes to the big screen, Tom Hiddleston will be starring in Guillermo del Toro’s gothic horror film Crimson Peak next year. I have no idea if the delicious Mr. Hiddleston was influenced in his choice of role by the fact that Harlequin E Shivers are leading a gothic revival. But who knows?
Barbara J. Hancock, author of Silent Is the House
I’m especially excited about the current popularity of gothic themes. For instance, does this sound familiar? “Vulnerable but brave woman travels to a mysterious new home in order to take on a challenging job under the supervision of a man who is as dangerous as he is intriguing.” Did you guess Jane Eyre? I was actually describing the dystopian YA, Divergent!
Gothic is timeless, but there seems to be a reawakening of the genre. And who isn’t drawn to stories about empowerment, bravery and the exultation of facing our deepest fears at our most vulnerable moment?
Favorite gothic movies? This will be where I resist talking too much about Michael Fassbender as Rochester in the remake of Jane Eyre. Is there anyone better at the sexy slow burn than Fassbender? *fans self*
I’m always drawn to gothic. Whether it’s a sensual ghost story like The Awakening starring Rebecca Hall and Dominic West or something a little more frightening like Jekyll, a BBC America series by Steven Moffat of Sherlock fame…if a show has dark secrets, atmosphere, suspense and forbidden attractions, I’m there! Michelle Ryan plays Dr. Jekyll’s assistant in Moffat’s show and her performance creates the sexiest and most poignantly endangered strong gothic heroine that I’ve seen.
Dawn Brown, author of The Witch of Stonecliff
I’m a big fan of the gothic genre. Whether it’s in books, television or movies, I love it all, and I believe there’s been definite a resurgence of gothic in movies and television lately. It’s evident in movies like The Woman in Black and The Raven. The popularity of television shows like Sleepy Hollow and American Horror Story show that gothic is making a comeback. However, looking back there’s been a number of television shows and movies that feature elements unique to gothic stories. Twin Peaks, which aired back in 1990, used atmosphere, mystery and a host of quirky characters with secrets to create a wonderfully eerie tale. Movies like The Gift (2000) and The Others (2001) with their dark oppressive moods, plotlines filled with twists and turns and horror elements are excellent examples of gothic. So perhaps gothic never really disappeared, after all. Instead, we’re just reminded of how much we love the genre.
As for my favorite gothic movies, I would have to pick The Changeling (1980), Half Light (2006) and The Orphanage (2007.) To me, these movies really epitomize the genre while just being delightfully creepy to watch. I highly recommend all three.
Jen Christie, author of House of Glass
Not only are we seeing a resurgence of gothic, we are also witnessing the gothic genre transforming into a more modern, relevant book for today’s woman. It’s really an exciting time to be a gothic romance writer, because the genre is reinventing itself and all bets are off! I think the image of a scared woman entering a crumbling mansion will evolve into different and exciting scenarios. I’m also happy that Amazon has a dedicated “gothic” bookshelf. Certainly the genre has staying power and it’s time for the next generation of gothics, and I personally vote for more sexy ones!
My favorite gothic movies are Rebecca, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre (Michael Fassbender—yum!) and of course the always terrific Phantom of the Opera! Sometimes I like a 1960s damsel in distress gothic. Those are fun, too! In 2015, Guillermo del Toro is coming out with a gothic movie called Crimson Peak. I have heard a lot of exciting things about the film, and the genre should get a lot more interest from the movie. Gothic is just starting to take off again!