Our Top Gothic Characters in Literature and Film

Nothing beats diving into the world of our favourite gothic characters in literature and movies that have inspired us. With their vast influence on gothic culture and its origins, we thought it was time to shine a light on the famous gothic characters we adore. So, let's dive into the ultimate gothic characters in film and literature!

What are the common elements of a gothic character?

Famous gothic characters are as varied as gothic culture within itself! So, before we dive into our beloved gothic characters in literature and film, let's establish what exactly makes a character 'gothic'. 

A gothic character's physical appearance is particularly striking.  Gothic characters in film and literature will usually have a mysterious past, an unrequited love, and inner turmoil. Many gothic characters are underdogs and outcasts, which makes us connect with them even more as an alternative culture. Elements of the supernatural like vampires, werewolves, witches, and shapeshifters have been ever-present in gothic characters' lives. Often they'll be gifted with an extraordinary skill or be highly knowledgeable of a subject.  

What's more, a desire for vengeance or justice can be at the heart of a gothic character, and many gothic characters are the anti-hero in a story.

Famous gothic characters in movies and literature

Morticia Addams
from The Addams Family

The matriarch of the Addams family is known to be a badass witch with a family tree that dates back to the Salem witch trials. Her black hobble dresses, long black hair, and otherworldly intelligence make her one of the most famous gothic characters. Portrayed on television by Lily James in the tv shows, Oscar-winner Anjelica Huston immortalised the role in the 90s movie adaptation because Morticia reminded her of her mother!

Lydia Deetz
from Beetlejuice

For many growing up during the 90s, witnessing Lydia Deetz, played by Winona Ryder, was the first time they'd seen a gothic character on-screen. Many identified strongly with Lydia, who is sensitive, artistic, interested in the occult, and sarcastic. She's a proper goth at heart, as well as in the way she dresses. One of her most famous quotes is, "My life is a dark room. Just one. Big. Dark. Room."

Nancy Downs
from The Craft

Nancy developed her supernatural powers after she began practising 'the craft' to empower herself. As the rebellious leader of her coven, she is drawn to the darker side of magic and she invokes the all-knowing spirit of Manon with enormous consequences. Her choker, eyeliner, dark lipstick, and needle-thin eyebrows will certainly invoke major nostalgia. The Craft has not managed to escape the 90s revival, and in The Craft Legacy, it's Nancy's daughter who continues her rebellious spirit.

Eric Draven
from The Crow

Here's another famous gothic character from the 90s! What can we say? The 90s was a real renaissance for gothic culture! The Crow is a classic gothic tale of love, death, and revenge. The main character, Eric Draven, played posthumously by Brandon Lee, is as quintessentially goth as you can be. After being murdered alongside his fiancée, Draven is later revived by a supernatural crow on Devil's Night (Halloween), to exact vengeance on their killers so that he can finally rest in peace. His distinctive makeup, monochromatic wardrobe, and the charisma of Brandon Lee made Eric Draven one of the most famous gothic characters on film.

Lisbeth Salander
from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

During the 2010s, Lisbeth Salander inspired a new generation of alternative people to be true to themselves.  The troubled computer hacker with a mysterious past was first brought to life by Noomi Rapace in the Swedish films, then by Rooney Mara in the American remake. With her mysterious history, hacking skills, and inner conflict that unravels as she tries to solve a decades-old missing person case, she ticks all the boxes of what makes a gothic character.

Severus Snape
from Harry Potter

This may seem a little left-field but hear us out! Think back to our gothic character checklist above:  A mysterious past that is to be revealed? Check. Unrequited love and inner turmoil? Tick.  Elements of the supernatural and a striking physical appearance? Double tick! Thanks to Alan Rickman's nuanced portrayal on-screen in the Harry Potter movies, we fully stand by our decision to add Severus Snape to our list!

From the anti-heroes with a lust for vengeance to the strong female characters who succeed against all odds, which gothic character is your favourite? At Attitude Clothing, we're proud to be a cornerstone of the alternative and showcase the many facets of goth culture.

Express your individuality with us, and check out our women’s clothing, homewares, and accessories online now.