Goth has come and gone and come back again from popular culture over the years, but it always seems to find its way into some pretty iconic spots in our minds. Goth is a wide-ranging term that can be interpreted in many ways, from a culture to a fashion, to a way of life. Let’s take a look at some of the most iconic goth looks throughout the years.
Movies and music are seemingly covered with classic Goth characters, and in many ways these are the people that have inspired the goth subculture. Being a child of the 80’s there is, for me, no singular character that embodies goth more than Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice. Played by Winona Ryder, Lydia not only dresses the part, she wholeheartedly embraces the goth mentality. She loves the paranormal and is obsessed with the dead, her makeup is perfectly pale with heavy eye shadow and jet-black hair, and she says things like “I’ve read through that handbook for the recently deceased. It says: ‘Live people ignore the strange and unusual. I, myself, am strange and unusual.” Not to mention, she almost married a dead guy, how goth is that?
Another less blatantly goth, but goth nonetheless 80’s character is Allison Reynolds from The Breakfast Club. An outsider, dressed in black, we all know Allison was listening to New Wave Goth music when she wasn’t busy killing time in detention.
Based on Peter Murphy (the Godfather of Goth), the character Eric Draven from the movie The Crow is probably one of the most copied goth makeup looks for men. The white makeup, black eyes and black lipstick with the extended smile line has haunted dreams of children and adults for years.
Next in line are mother and daughter Morticia and Wednesday from the Adams Family. That name, Morticia, just screams goth. Their long, straight black hair and pale faces are ghostly and scary, and theres a good argument to be made that they are the mother and grandmother of the goth movement. Goth has even wound its way into satire by appearing on Saturday Night live in the sketch starring Circe Nightshade and Azrael Abyss as they hosted a show called “Goth Talk.” While this parody may have been way over the top, the clothes, the makeup, and the fake teenager’s bedroom was pure goth. It showed that it’s important to be able to laugh at yourself, and not take everything too seriously.
Finally, no list of goth characters can be complete without a dip into the realm of goth music. Most famously (and obviously) is Marilyn Manson, but we can’t forget Robert Smith of the Cure, HIM, Rob Zombie, and even Lorde – inspiring today’s goth youth for generations to come!