Top 20 Horror Goth Characters in Film
Hey folks, did you know that the Goth subculture started in the UK during the early 80s? This group stemmed from the punk rock movement and spawned various sub-genres like gothic rock, death rock, and cold wave. Those who were fans of this music saw themselves as counterculture rebels who believed in free-thinking and the freedom of expression. But, in essence, it’s a way of expressing themselves and their values in way that goes against social norms. To celebrate this culture, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite Top 20 Horror Goth Characters in Film.
20 – Tiffany Valentine – Bride of Chucky (1998)
Tiffany Valentine, from the Child’s Play Franchise, is a woman who has a taste for murder and a strong fascination with the macabre. She was in a relationship with Charles Lee Ray, the infamous Lakeshore Strangler, but shortly after bringing “Chucky” back from the dead, was herself murdered and resurrected inside the body of a doll. Tiffany joins up with Chucky in a savage murder spree. This twisted femme-fatale tends to dress in gothic style clothing, often wearing black lingerie and tops which both accentuate her curvaceous body and show off her tattoos and buxom décolletage.
The actress behind Tiffany is gorgeous Jennifer Tilly, whose portrayal of the killer doll has skyrocketed her into one of the most iconic Horror Actress in modern horror. Not only is she a massively influential actress and roll model, her performance as Tiffany highlighted how desirable goths can be.
19 – Lisbeth Salander – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009/11)
Lisbeth Salander is a gifted, but deeply troubled, researcher and computer hacker. This goth-punk heroine who becomes an unlikely ally for a journalist involved in a twisted mystery. She most sports snug leather motorcycle jackets, baggy cargo pants, and has multiple piercings.
This fiery character has been played by five different actresses. Noomi Rapace, Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Beau Gadsdon & Tehilla Blad have all stepped into the shoes of Salander, over five films.
18 – Marla Singer – Fight Club (1999)
Played by the sensational Helena Bonham Carter, Marla Singer is the enigma shrouded in cigarette smoke who haunts the narrator of David Fincher’s Fight Club. This troubled young lady is the only female influence in a film filled with macho masculinity and unapologetic violence. Her very first appearance is intentionally designed to be reminiscent of the noir-era femme fatale, and her appearances beyond this are dark and sombre. Acting as catalyst in the life of the narrator, who deems the world to be demasculinized by woman, corporations and banks, Marla plays a heavy role in his transformation and absolution. Marla is a powerful and destructive force and one of cinemas great goths.
17 – Jess Browning – Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)
Jess Browning is goth-punk friend of Vicki Carpenter, a fellow student who becomes possessed by a revengeful spirit of Mary Lou. With big hair and a wild melange of mismatched clothing, Jess is by far the most colourful character in Prom Night II. The young student doesn’t last too long though, as the enraged unseen spirit brutally murders Jess, hanging her from a light fighting. Her death is believed to have been self-inflicted due to having fallen pregnant.
Actress Beth Gondek didn’t real go on to do too much in the years following, but she certainly left an impression on horror fans, who celebrate her unique and spirited performance.
16 – Kim Diamond – Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)
Kimberly Lynn “Kim” Diamond is a tourists and fan of The Blair Witch Project, who descend on the small town of Burkittsville, Maryland, to participate in the Blair Witch Hunt in November of 1999. Out of the five people in the group, Kim became one of two known survivors of the strange events that left the rest of the tour members dead.
The character of Kim Diamond is inspired by famous heavy metal singer Kim B. Petersen (aka King Diamond) of his solo project and Mercyful Fate fame. Kim is portrayed as a smart, but troubled, goth with psychic proclivities. She dressed all in black with pale makeup and long black hair. Whilst she may be a little hot-headed at times, she’s certainly one of the more dominant personalities in the group.
15 – Sweeney Todd & Mrs. Lovett – Sweeney Todd (2007)
Tim Burton delivered yet another gothic dream with his adaption of Sweeney Todd in 2007. Bringing in Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter as a beautifully twisted couple entwined in murder and mutilation. With the film featuring a heavily Victorian gothic style, the musical presentation is a love note to an earlier time and pace. But as gothic aesthetic , Sweeney Todd’s style and set design is second to none.
14 – Colin Gray – Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Colin Gray, who attended the same secondary school as Jennifer Check, was a teenage admirer of Jennifer. He was a part of a cluster of either gothic or emo adolescents at the school, representing the subcultures with his band shirts, guyliner and piercings. When Colin asked Jennifer out, she was already taken over by the succubus, this made it easier to isolate Gray so the creature could devour him. Gray was one tasty goth that even the succubus couldn’t keep her hands off.
13 – The Bowler – Mystery Men (1999)
Initially a financial failure, 1999’s Mystery Men has since steadily gained a cult following. One of the films biggest achievements was its creation of the very first feminist superhero movie icon. The group of lesser-known superheroes has a standout member – The Bowler – who is the only female and the only one who appears to be confident in her abilities from the start.
Despite the claims that there has been significant development in how females are represented in film, there are not many female characters who challenge the status quo in the same way. Amidst a trend of hyper-sexualized female superheroes, her no-nonsense attitude has made a lasting impact. Amidst decades of tight corsets and catsuits, The Bowlers nonchalant gothic dress and sensibilities was a breath of fresh-air.
Back in the day, Janeane Garofalo’s acting career took a hit due to her bold feminist views and antiwar stances. Her onscreen character mirrored her real-life self, and the movie’s initial flop only made it easier for people to brush her off. However, recent years have shown that Garofalo’s views were vastly justified and modern cinema is now open to re-thinking female representation.
12 – Eric Draven – The Crow (1994)
The Crow is enduring gothic touchstone based on the comic book by James O’Barr. The story follows Eric Draven, a young man who returns from the dead to avenge the murder of his fiancée, at the hands of a brutal gang. The films was crafted on the coattails of up-and-coming industrial bands and their growing popularity, playing a pivotal role in a revival of 90s goth culture. This makes Eric Draven the most influential force in 90’s goth resurgence, outside of the music industry. However, Eric is a musician..so potayto, potahto!
The accidental shooting of actor Brandon Lee during filming of The Crow has forever mired the film in controversy, but it should be heralded as one of the young actors greatest achievements on screen. A Performance so powerful we are still riding it’s wave 30 years later.
11 – Tosh Guaneri – Urban Legend (1998)
Actress Danielle Harris has had an epic career in horror having cut her young teeth in the Halloween franchise in 1984’s Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. However, it was her role in a late 90’s movie that solidified her status as a modern-day scream queen. In 1998, she starred as manic depressive goth girl student Tosh Guaneri, who ends up strangled in her bed by the films killer.
Tosh wore dark clothing, painted her half of the room black, and took Lithium to manage her condition. Unfortunately, Tosh’s use of the Goth 4 Goth dating site that led to her demise. Her roommate Natalie mistook the sounds of Tosh being strangled by the killer as just another sexual encounter due to her frequent hookups with other like-minded goths.
10 – Erin Ulmer & Ian McKinley – Final Destination 3 (2006)
In 2000, it was a mid-air explosion. Three years later, it was a massive motorway pile- up. For the 2006 threequel Final Destination 3, deaths plan involves a faulty ride at a theme park. Erin Ulmer and Ian McKinley survive the Devil’s Flight roller coaster derailment, only to realize that they are now playing a game of cat and mouse with death. Sounds like death just can’t get enough of these guys!
The gothic couple are both portrayed as being very smart, share a similar sense of dress and both work at a local ‘Build It’ store. Mostly goth are shown as oddball loners, but here in Final Destination, we see a very health and happy relationship, which would be epic if it was not for their horrible deaths throughout the run of the film.
09 – Angela Franklin – Night of the Demons (1988)
Angela Franklin, a loud-mouthed gothic teenager, was known for throwing the wildest parties in her school and had a keen interest in demons and spirits. Angela was once recognized as a talented student, and she was among the top students in her class. However, in her final year, she adopted a Gothic way of life, dressed only in black, and gained a reputation as a witch among her peers.
The films subtext of film may very well be about change, but in a film that features lip-sticks disappearing into breasts and arms being dismembered by coffin lids, it’s probably bets not to look too deeply at it. That said, Angela’s demonic transformation, whist hosting a part at the hellish halls of Hull House, is undeniably entertaining. Her flamboyant clothing choices and big 80’s hair make for an iconic character that has cemented herself firmly in the collective appreciation of horror fans the world over.
08 – Gypsy and Clive – Gypsy 83 (2001)
Gypsy 83 is a peculiar drama that portrays the journey of two goths who aspire to make their way into the music industry by attending a Stevie Nicks tribute concert. The film revolves around the lives of Gypsy and Clive, two friends grappling with the challenges of life in middle America. The crux of the movie lies in the close bond between the goth pals, which is depicted very effectively and emotionally.
The real highlight of this independent film is the authentic portrayal of the friendship between Gypsy and Clive, which is played with remarkable chemistry by the two young actors. This movie is not just for the goth and LGBT communities, but for anyone who seeks to break away from the mundane and explore something different.
07 – Adam – Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
Only Lovers Left Alive is a boldly unique entry to the vampire genre that is intelligently metaphoric. Introducing us to stylish blood suckers Adam and Eve. The two have been married for about 150 years and lead rather independent lives, Adam is a recluse living in an old Victorian two-story house on the abandoned outskirts of Detroit. This emo Vampire has grown despondent with the world and lives a lonely sad and angry life.
This fascinating character is more fully explored when he is reunited with his great love, Eve, and the film very heavily explores the world through the eyes of these creatures that have watched the world slowly destroy itself. Whilst the world never really needed another moping Goth, Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of Adam is one of the more interesting, if not mesmerizing , that cinema has seen in years.
06 – Wednesday Addams – (The Addams Family/Wednesday)
Wednesday Addams has gone through a bit of reinvention recently, going from a background presence in the original comic strip to the star of her own TV show. The original Child “full of woe”, Wednesday is the eldest daughter of Gomez and Morticia, who all live with her family in a large gothic mansion. She is defined by her gloomy yet confident and independent disposition, with the TV series also focus on her intelligence and ingenuity.
This original emo character has grown from strength to strength, with her latest journey into a TV series proving that she’s actually a thoroughly deep and more interesting character than we ever imagined. She’s got a few killer dance moves in her too…
05 – Lydia Deetz – Beetlejuice (1988)
Lydia Deetz, daughter of Charles Deetz and step-daughter of Delia Deetz, is a gothic teenager who finds solace in the macabre. She feels isolated in her father’s world but is one of the few who can see ghosts because of her “strange and unusual” nature. Her encounter with Maitland’s and Beetlejuice sets her on a thrilling encounter with the afterlife.
The character, played by Winona Ryder, is often seen in dark and gothic clothing with medium-length black hair and distinctive pointed bangs. Lydia was by far one of the most influential goths of the 1980’s and many a young person in the 90’s would probably site Lydia as being their very first encounter with this thrilling sub-culture.
04 – Megan – Mirror, Mirror (1990)
Mirror, Mirror is an important part of our horror history, being a female-scripted and directed gothic slasher that looks carefully at the toxic lifecycle of bullying and teenage despair. Yes it may very well be another “teen pushed too far” feature that came in the wake of Carrie (1976), but it’s very much more than the sum of its parts. Mirror, Mirror is also marked as being one of the final films for its enigmatic star Rainbow Harvest, who quit acting shortly after making this feature film, disappearing into the night like a beautiful mystical gothic whirlwind.
Mirror, Mirror follows shy goth teenager Megan who moves to a new town with her widowed mother. Thanks to her gothic sensibilities, she quickly irks the other girls in high school and is taunted mercilessly by her peers. But the dark shoe is certainly on the other foot, as Megan discovers a strange mirror that allows her to extract revenge upon her tormentors. This gem of the 80’s is certainly one that never gets enough attention, and now it’s on this list, you HAVE to track it down and watch it.
03 – Ginger Fitzgerald – Ginger Snaps (2000)
Ginger Snaps is absolute horror’s great feminist film, one whose influence can still be felt today in modern horror. Following Ginger Fitzgerald, portrayed by the stunning Katharine Isabelle, the young goth is the troubled anti-villain of the hit werewolf thriller.
Ginger and her sister share a twisted fascination with death and are introverted nihilists, which heavily isolates them form their other kids at school. However, a werewolf attack soon changes this, leading the sisters into dark path of death and self-destruction.
Karen Walton, the writer of the film, has emphasized that her movie focuses on the bond between two sisters and the unique struggles women face during puberty. Nevertheless, it can also be interpreted as an illustration of the feeling of physical betrayal, mirroring the experiences of transgender individuals who suffer from dysphoria. Alongside its theme of sisterly affection, Ginger Snaps also explores the impact of feeling alienated from one’s own body. This journey that ginger goes through is one seeped in anguish and fear, and it’s a journey that’s many others can relate too.
02 – Nancy Downs – The Craft (1996)
In 1996, cinema served up it’s very first alternative view of teen age life in The Craft, being a far flung ordeal from the bubble-gum world of preppy teenage life that Hollywood had delivered until that point. The Craft told the tale of a group of alternative teens who form a coven to help manifest a better life for themselves. The film did far more than just entertain, as it influenced an entire generation of goth teens and aspiring witches around the world with its magical themes and aesthetics.
The main protagonist of this piece is Nancy Downs whose ambition and craving for more power prompt her to summon a grand spirit, which turns her into an incredibly potent witch. However, her personality makes her highly manipulative, sadistic, and dangerous, with unstable and violent traits. Nancy is bar far the most unique looking characters in the film ,and he gothic dress-sense and strong personality makes her one of our top goths on this list. All hail Manon!
01 – Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)
The world of horror is filled with recognizable figures such as Freddy Krueger, Chucky, Ghostface, and Jigsaw, who have remained popular over time and maintained their influence on the genre. In this world of men and monster there is pretty much only one single female horror icon that has stood the test of time, Elvira.
Introduced to audiences in 1981 as the television host of Elvira’s Movie Macabre, Cassandra Peterson alter ego continues to endure. With her signature black dress, exposed cleavage and beehive hairstyle, Elvira is one of the most iconic and distinct characters in the genre, who is embraced by straight and LGBQT communities globally. Through strength of character and longevity, Elvira is queen.
Lets explore the films with the most interesting and noteworthy film credits to grace the silver screen
Sink your teeth into a treasure trove of details from this fang filled cult classic
Step Inside the Nightmare! Here’s a terrifying list of houses from horror films sure to creep you out
Other Posts Like This
Step Inside the Nightmare! Here’s a terrifying list of houses from horror films sure to creep you out
Looking at 10 scenes that you may never get to see!
10 moments in films that only HD versions revealed
“Hello Horror Fans – I love a list that I can really get my three teeth into, and this tasty little treat certainly is great read. The Goth subculture certainly doesn’t really get much love in the genre, usually being easy game for a quick kill, so it nice to celebrate, not just Goths, but all cultures and differences. After all, a quick slip of knife… and we all bleed red!
Until next time folks…