Vintage Horror for the Gothic Heroine
As the autumn progresses from warm and golden to cold and dreary, many heroines may wish to pour a cup of tea, curl up in bed with blankets, and watch an old classic. These are a number of excellent movies, filled with horrors both supernatural and mundane.
An old favourite of Miss A’s, Nosferatu was the first film adaption of Dracula to survive, though many copies were destroyed after Florence Stoker sued the production company for copyright violations. But, much like the vampire, it rose again from obscurity, and the vampire Count Orlok had since become a pop culture phenomenon.
Perfect for: A stormy night, when the wind howls through the dark, and rain sounds like fingers tapping at the windows.
The Mummy (1932)
A monster, lost in time and searching for his love. A heroine, haunted by memories of a long distant past. Though the previous Universal movie, Dracula, was the more famous, the Mummy is a respectable Gothic in itself. Not to mention it appeals to any heroine who had an Egyptian phase - which is just about all of us.
Perfect for: An unusually warm autumn evening, where you find yourself nostalgic for places you never been, and people you’ve never known.
In a Cornish mansion by the sea, the newly-married Mrs. de Winter finds herself mystified by her new distant husband, while being tormented by his housekeeper, obsessed with his first wife, the eponymous Rebecca. Not only a classic in literature, the movie stars Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine at their best in a whirlwind romance with a dark outcome.
Perfect for: When you’re in a cottage by the grey and rough seas, and the wind rattles at the door and windows.
Jane Eyre (1943)
The Brontë novel had already been adapted to film numerous times before Joan Fontaine took up the lead role. A true Gothic, there is no supernatural monsters or hauntings - the horror of Jane Eyre’s life comes from humanity’s capability for cruelty, but is challenged by the hope she has for her life, and her questionable romance with the mercurial Mr. Rochester.
Perfect for: Those cold autumn days when it feels as though you could step out the door and find yourself on the misty moors.
Years after her aunt’s mysterious death, an up-and-coming opera star is whisked away from her friends and family by her new husband and taken back to her aunt’s home in London, where she is tormented by her spouse until she believes she is insane. This horrifying movie is famous for coining the term ‘gaslighting’.
Perfect for: A night when you’re in the mood for a psychological horror… and you’re single.
The Innocents (1961)
When a governess takes up two charges from their absent uncle, she finds herself trying to uncover a mystery surrounding ghostly sightings, the unnerving behaviour of the children, and the strange legacy of the previous governess and tutor.
Perfect for: A warm autumn afternoon, when you hear children outside playing in the leaves. Then suddenly, you hear nothing at all.
If you’d like a link to watch online, send me an ask. What is your favourite classic horror?