Gothic is a genre of writing that was most popular in the eighteenth century. Gothic novels were mainly romantic novels and as Elizabeth MacAndrew defined it, “gothic was a literature of nightmare’1. The literature has evolved out of exploration of the inner self with all of its non-rational, controversial and spontaneous aspects. Gothic literatures evolved and emerged as a form of romantics that is confronted by a darker shadowy side and makes the reader to consider all those that are taunted as evil in the society. Some of the Gothic dealt with intellectual movements for instance, existential philosophy, nihilism and Gothic horror. As in Roger Corman’s film, ’fall of the house of usher’, a sickly Madeline falls in love with the narrator much to Roderick’s horror 2.
Gothic work, as Thompson summarized, created three complex mixture which entails; terror, which is the threat of pain physically, mutilation and death. Secondly, horror, which is the direct altercation with a revolting evil force or creature and lastly, mysterious, which is the intuitive realization that the world was far much larger than our powers of understanding could clutch
To reach the gist of the self assigned task the Gothic literature came up with a set of conventions which were generally action placed in out of the ordinary settings. As witnessed in the film, ‘the mask of Satan/la maschera del demonio’ by Mara Bavi. The dramatic stories occur during night times when the weather is stormy 3.
In this film an evil princess Asa is killed for witchcraft and vampirism together with her brother Javutich. But two centuries later two doctors traveling discover Asa’s crypt and Unintentionally revive the evil princess who has her scheme of vampire revenge at her own Identical Princess Katia who is innocent but whose lifeblood will make Asa immortal.4 as is witnessed in the film, ‘pit and the pendulum’ by roger Corman, ‘the energy of the story is often dependent on the combined attacks on the naïve and innocent and the defender of present day by the overwhelming forces of ghosts and human agents of Satan.5
The re-emergence of Gothic in the 1960s was due to the New Gothic Movement which was Heir to the gothic traditional which was mixed with elements from the psychedelic or rock music subculture of the 1960s and 1970s. The Gothic music which was another name for rock music was articulated and explicit nonconformist which opposed narrow sexual mores and traditional religions. The music celebrated the darker side, shadowy side of life and had such distant fascination with death. These gothic bands traversed the world and the high priest, congregation and churches were replaced with rock musicians, fans and night clubs.
Those that were thrilled with the gothic music and culture found that the vampire was the single most appropriate image for the movement. The slow but driving sound was described as gloomy, melancholic and morbid. Tim Burton’s film’ Sleepy Hollow’ has the sound track in form of gothic rock music. With heavy metals played when suspense is heightened.6
It is musical groups that formed the Gothic Movement with the most prominent of these groups being the Bauhaus which is a rock band that was formed in 1978. Their single ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ was the most popular and has been used in many films as the sound track and with Whitley Strieber ‘the Hunger’ film being notable interested party 7. The Bauhaus was immediately joined by other groups such as the cure, the cult, the sisters, the banshees and siouxsie. They formed a variant music which they called the gothic rock or death rock.
Ken Russell in his film ‘Gothic’ has it that the members of the gothic movement have particular dressing code which includes; black clothing which can be loose fitting and revealing or a tight leather with combed hair which is uncurled, razor cut and might be blonde or black 8. Their accessories include symbolic jewelry for instance, ankh, daggers and crosses and chain mail. The dark clothing when accentuated with pale make-ups and dark lipsticks pulls off a general image of death.
The pleasure and meanings to gothic lifestyle is simply the fusing of the strangely and unfriendly extreme parties together for instance the way the lights is made to accept darkness and that pleasure should recognize the role played by pain. As seen in Anne Rice’s ‘the vampire chronicles’ we see the character Lestat as androgyny and an androgyny is a part of duality which encompasses its opposite just like mentioned when a pleasure recognizes the pain and the light accepts darkness 9. Many members of the gothic bands present a stage personality that is hard to tell whether one is a female or a male. They also choose names that are unisex or those that are opposite their sexes
The homosexual aspect of gothic world has been well written by Poppy Z Brite who states that just beyond the demand for sexual freedom and acceptance of homosexuality, some gothic literature and music argue that the taboos related to that surround the sado-machosim, fetishism and all sexual activities which are considered pervert even by those who say they are sexually liberated 10.
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Lastly, there is a general agreement that Gothicism is related to romanticism but how they are related is what is still elusive. Chronologically the two movements are connected; they also use the same themes and deal with psychological processes. The eighteenth century Gothic writers are described as precursors to Romanticism because they also valued sensibility, appealed to the reader’s imagination and exalted the sublime
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