A big theme for January movies seems to be all things gothic, which makes my inner edgy teenager very happy. I’ve always been a huge fan of Tim Burton, Rocky Horror, Frankenstein, and basically anything that celebrates the dark side of being wild and weird.
What makes a “gothic” movie is not very strict, ranging from dark and scary to camp and wacky. Some common themes include big creepy houses, supernatural creatures such as ghosts and vampires, a misfit protagonist, dark scenery, and a general feeling of rebellion against standards.
This month across various streaming services there are some great gothic films and TV series to help you embrace your dark side in 2023. Here are the ones I am excited about and will definitely be checking out when they drop.
‘The Pale Blue Eye’
Fans of Edgar Allen Poe will love this creepy upcoming mystery inspired by his work. In this historical thriller, Christian Bale plays Detective Augustus Landor, an investigator skilled in interrogation and code breaking. In West Point, New York in the 1830s, a series of murders shakes the prestigious West Point Military Academy. Det. Landor is on the case, but he may need some help from the inside. He finds it in a young cadet at the academy, Edgar Allen Poe (Harry Melling). Landor and Poe team up to solve the case and stop a ruthless killer in his tracks.
“The Pale Blue Eye” is sure to bring plenty of suspense and a great gothic aesthetic when it comes to Netflix on Jan. 6.
‘House of Darkness’
Hap (Justin Long) thinks he’s hit the jackpot when he meets a beautiful girl in a bar and offers her a ride home. He isn’t even put off when he discovers her house is an ominous secluded mansion straight out of a horror story. He comes inside for drinks and meets her intense sister, which makes him all the more excited about the night’s prospects. These girls aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, however, and Hap might just find himself the prey rather than the predator. Dracula fans will love this modern female twist on the ultimate gothic classic.
If you love spooky mansions, vampires, and revenge, check out the streaming premiere on Hulu of “House of Darkness” on Jan. 7.
‘Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre’
Junji Ito is a master of horror manga who has gathered a cult following for works like “Tomie,” “Uzumaki,” and “Gyo.” This new Netflix anthology anime features 20 tales from Ito’s twisted mind. From stories about a girl with a special power to drive people to madness and even murder to a troublemaking nail-eater with a penchant for the occult to the malicious ghost of a pop star, this series will not disappoint.
Anime is always a good source for highly original gothic material, with some of my personal favorites including “Death Note,” “Mushishi,” and “Gosick.” I’ll definitely be tuning in when “Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre” premieres on Netflix on Jan. 19.
‘Death in the Dorms’
True crime fans have a new binge-watch with “Death in the Dorms,” which is on our favorite streaming services Hulu. College is meant to be a safe and supportive community where young people can learn and grow. The six stories included in this procedural miniseries would illustrate otherwise, however. From a fire that consumes a sorority house to the death of a star athlete to murder on a weekend getaway, “Death in the Dorms” shows us the dark side of college life no one expects. Through telling the tragic stories of these students, the series raises awareness about the need for better protection of vulnerable young people.
‘The Walking Dead’
Although I have a soft spot for “The Walking Dead” after my cousin played a zombie in it, that’s not the only reason for its inclusion on this list. Zombie stories are goth staples. There’s just something about the idea of the undead that throws society’s greatest fears about mass contagion, primitive cultures, and existential threats back in its face. In “The Walking Dead,” the survivors in a post-zombie-apocalypse America must not only face the threat of infection, but the dark forces of human nature among the other survivors as rival tribes form.
If you haven’t already seen the ultimate zombie-apocalypse TV series, find out if Netflix is worth it to watch seasons 1 to 10 before season 11 premieres on Jan. 6.
‘Teen Wolf: The Movie’
Werewolves are another favorite of the gothic genre. Who wouldn’t want to shapeshift into a powerful, independent creature who can take on any foe? That’s what began happening to teenager Scott McCall (Tyler Posey) in the hit TV series “Teen Wolf.” In this sequel film, Scott is no longer a teenager, but an alpha wolf who must call the shots to protect his California town. It seems like Scott may be facing an enemy like never before, and to top it off, there’s something very strange going on with his love interest.
Jump back into the dark supernatural world of “Teen Wolf” when “Teen Wolf: The Movie” comes to Paramount Plus on Jan. 26.