In exploring the good vs evil motifs in Gothic cinema let us start by exploring the villain motifs of Gothic film. Of particular note is the malevolence which has had many incarnations over the years. By malevolence we mean casting of characters that have or show the desire to cause harm to others. It can also refer to having or showing a particularly harmful or evil effect. Gothic film has featured a wide range of representations of malevolence in a bid to show the source of evil in the world. One such representation has been the human psychosis that predictably must turn evil.
Secondly, elements of evil style in Gothic cinema have featured malevolence consequent to supernatural entities, afflicting humans with little or no power over the supernatural. Thirdly, malevolent evil in Gothic film has been consequent to nature gone awry, specifically like when mutation results in villainous creatures or turns human characters into wanton villains. The elements of evil style in Gothic cinema are in most cases based on or revealing the archetypical perception of evil. The evil motifs of Gothic cinema cannot be achieved without a comparison with the good. However, you will be surprised when you start venturing into the relationship held between good and evil in Gothic cinema. For now, let us exemplify some of the most notorious villains that have ever been filmed in Gothic movies.
The first type has been the supernatural villains which have adopted many forms over the years. These have included ghosts, haunted spirits, vampires, haunted objects, haunted locations, haunted buildings and zombies. All these have been used to wreak havoc and mayhem in Gothic film with a wide range of thematic intents. To find these try out the movie ‘Poltergeist’. In the movie, malignant spirits terrorize a family and even kidnap a young girl. The family stands to fights for her recovery.
Secondly, elements of evil style in Gothic cinema have featured vampires as the mainstay of most of the horrors. We can all remember Tom Cruise featured as Lestat in ‘Interview with the Vampire’. The bloodthirsty monster was not only a sophisticated seducer but also a villainous predator who enjoyed toying around with prey.
Another interesting example of Gothic movies is that of the series ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ where Freddie Krueger becomes a supernatural serial killer. Having been a child murderer in his first life, Freddie Krueger was killed by a vigilante mob. He later returns to haunt Elm Street children in their dreams. In a way this helps elaborate the perception of good vs evil motifs in Gothic cinema where the good always wins but only after a big, big hustle.
Let’s go over to the religious representation of the relationship between good and evil in Goth cinema. In most filmed instances, villainy based on religious belief has demanded a high level of creativity and ingenious storytelling. Actually, religious villainy is a prominent revealing of the supernatural aspects of good and evil in Goth cinema. In this archetype, evil is manifested in its most pure form as Satan, demons or devils.
Can you remember the movie ‘Omen’, where a child son of Satan is the child antichrist? Can you remember how the boy is reflected as the ultimate bad seed when he terrorizes the mortal family towards fulfilling the prophecy? Another one is ‘The Exorcist’ where Satan possesses Regan Mac Neil until she claims to be Satan himself. Can you remember how she terrifies her mother and invited clergy by spinning her head, vomiting, speaking in tongues and causing an earthquake during exorcism? Other Gothic movies you might have watched with the same good vs evil motifs include Rosemary’s Baby where the villain is Rosemary’s son with Lucifer.
In all these examples, we see themes of sin being a cause of evil, we gawk at the true nature of evil, we examine our perception of morality, reassess our spirituality and appreciate the exploration of the afterlife. Even if these examples of good versus evil motifs in Gothic cinema are considered in some quarters as subversive films, the one constant thing they evoke and catalyze is debate. That ingenious ability is central to all elements of evil style in Gothic cinema.
The same manifestations are achieved through archetypes of evil in “Psycho” logical movies. These are perhaps the single most horrific villains ever devised for Gothic cinema. These are guys gone awry, without any supernatural influence. They are results of humanity gone crazy, and perhaps it’s that derived reality that makes them so disturbing. Examples of such Gothic film productions have included ‘Halloween’ where an escaped mental patient, Michael Myers, undertakes murderous rampages every October 31st. Another example is ‘Silence of the Lambs’ where a psychiatrist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, adds sophistication and class to cannibalism – a most memorable villain being an erudite psychopath in search of human flesh.
Without touching on incidences where nature goes crazy to become villainous, it is now clear how elements of evil style in Gothic cinema have been crafted over the years. Keep watching out on the ever-changing representation of good versus evil motifs in Gothic cinema