Goth fashion may not always hold the spotlight in pop culture history but through the changing times, no one can deny that gothic culture is deeply embedded in our daily consumption of films, tv shows, books, and fashion. Goth subculture is enriched with varying influences. It initially emerged from the 70's post-punk bands, goth rock. It is a music genre characterized by dark lyrics with romantic, existentialism and morbid undertones. It also drew inspiration from the 18th and 19th-century gothic literature plotted with a sinister priest, cruel parents and helpless heroes.
Looking down the memory lane, you would realize that some of the most eye-catching, fascinating and iconic characters we've seen on television and on the big screen are dressed black gothic outfits. Obviously, there is something appealing about the dramatic dark makeup, the tortured soul, the outcast stereotype that makes gothic characters truly captivating. To commemorate the gothic icons that brought us to the dark side, here's a list of our favorites.
"Live people ignore the strange and unusual. I, myself, am strange and unusual." Perhaps one of the first unforgettable icons on the big screen, Lydia Deetz played by Winona Ryder is the queen of playing dark roles. Her portrayal of the unusual goth girl had a kind of depth that made any misfits feel comfortable about themselves. Lydia may be sporting an all-black ensemble, pale skin, and jet black hair but beyond her casual goth outfits lies an artistic and intelligent kid. She's memorable because Lydia's gloomy spirit was able to transform as the film progress, to become more cheerful and animated. A trait usually removed from gothic icons. The best part is that her mood might have become brighter, but she stayed firmly rooted in goth style.
2. Jack Skellington in 'Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas'
Gothic symbols such as monsters, death and macabre make Nightmare Before Christmas an unusual Disney movie. Jack's gothic image, made him a misunderstood character. With his skeleton frame and black and white tuxedo, his horrifying look had immediately spread fright in Christmas Town. Making the film a metaphor for loneliness and melancholia that some people feel amidst the holiday season. In fact, during the peak of the emo era, Jack Skellington often appeared on emo kid's everyday outfits from hoodies, shoes, bags and more. From the movie, Jack Skellington proves that good intention is not always met with enthusiasm. In Jack's case, his desire to bring joy on Christmas brought terror and fright in Christmas Town, as he delivered gory and decapitated gifts to children.
Funny how most goth icons are hidden underneath the pretense of a children's movie. However, if you look closely there are dark themes and gothic symbols playing around the plot lines of Coraline. Stuck with an unloving mother, Coraline was surprised to find herself in an alternate universe where she's swarmed with parental care. It didn't take long for her to realize, that Coraline's other parent is actually the evil spider-like Beldam with intentions to feed on her love. The subtle elements of grotesque, suspense and horror make Coraline a child-friendly welcome to the gothic world.
Angelina Jolie is already a goth icon in her own right, but her role as Maleficent made our dark side curl into an evil smile. Borrowing inspiration from Sleeping Beauty, Maleficient exposes the other side of happily ever after showing her complex relationship with Aurora. Maleficent has a crowd of haters because she looks like the devil's advocate with her leather cape, bat-like wings, and vampy horn headpiece. Her goth outfits are Halloween costume inspiration! Indeed, our goth hearts are captivated by Maleficent's fallen angel image.
5. Edward Scissorhands
"I didn't mean to cut your face." There is an underlying theme surrounding the most iconic gothic characters, and that is being misunderstood. In Johnny Depp's portrayal of Edward Scissorhands, a man with a heart of gold is shunned away by society because of his dangerously sharp scissor hands. His loneliness and anguished soul is depicted in his clothing, where he wears a steampunk inspired leather suit paired with a pale complexion and disheveled hair. This classic 90s dark romance fantasy is definitely a memorable goth movie, that inspired many to embrace the gothic subculture.
6. Emily in 'Tim Burton's Corpse Bride'
"Tell me, my dear, can a heart still break once it's stopped beating?"
If there's a man that should be held responsible for the perpetual fascination towards death, isolation, and eccentricities it would probably be Tim Burton. He's the man behind pop culture's most favored goth icons. One of his clay-animation heroin, Emily or the Corpse Bride is Halloween costume favorite. Aside from that, this movie also inspired gothic skull fashion with its strong linkage towards death, ghost, and zombies. The movie literally tackles love beyond the grave. Our icon, Emily is a young zombie bride waiting for his husband to take her hand in marriage. The Gothic Victorian influence is emphasized in the film as shown in buildings, cobblestone, and the gothic architecture.
7. Wednesday Addams in 'The Addams Family'
You know you've reached the peak of being a goth icon when high-fashion brands like Prada display your look in the runways of Paris. There had been countless of Wednesday Addams portrayals both in movies, television, and cartoon but Christina Ricci version stood out among the rest of them. Styled with head to toe dark clothes, pale skin, and the iconic long twin braids, Wednesday is the true goth royalty. Her quirky personality comes with sadistic tendencies making her a fun character to watch.
8. The Swan Queen in 'Black Swan'
Natalie Portman a.k.a Nina Sayers a.k.a Swan Queen is the emotional embodiment of Gothicism. The Black Swan is a phycological horror film, making it the perfect setting to shed some light behind the enigma of gothic emotions. The Swan Queen had successfully convinced her audience to fall into the trap of her own dark mind. The goth emotion focuses on creating a sense of doubt, and the fear of the unknown. It's an element often seen in Gothic Literature where characters are gradually driven to insanity. Aside from that, the goth outfits shown in the film are influenced by Victorian Gothic corset dresses, which are the style of clothing popular amongst the Lolita subculture.