By Erinayo Oyeladun, Staff Writer

Guillermo del Toro own Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Gothic and Horror fiction was inspired by the aesthetic Gothic architectural style of the Middle Ages where the buildings looked more like ruins and had a creepy under- shadow to them. A millennia later, Gothic fiction has become a worldwide phenomenon that is greatly referenced and celebrated during the Halloween season. But beyond fiction,  Gothic and Horror represent very real issues in our world—it is not just a figment of the writer’s imagination but can actually be an extension of our reality. It can reflect insights about the shadow side of us all that, due to morals and societal standards, we may refuse to lean into, but actually can very well be if we are not careful.

As children, we tend to easily get spooked by horrific scenes in movies, wailing like a banshee as we drop our popcorn in fear. But that was not the purpose of authors who wrote Gothic fiction. Ghosts were used as a medium for each character to examine their own issues and fractured understanding of reality; Zombies were used to allude to humans acting irrational as if in a state of brainlessness.Witches and Vampires were used to represent the depths greed can take someone, sacrificing one another for one’s gain-showing the effects of constantly promoting individualism rather than fostering a sense of community. 

Those Gothic and Horror Characters all stood as metaphors to show the “horrific” harm humanity may inflict on itself, almost as if the writers were warning us more than entertaining us with their pieces. Having failed to listen, we are day by day morphing into the archetypes found in gothic fiction while the gothic characters that we deem as “barbaric and a disgrace to nature” appearing, at times, more humane than we are: they were intune with their desires and morals, translating into their fixedness on seeking revenge, for example. We on the other hand may have become our own Demons…

A sample gothic story that reflects humanity’s indifference towards their actions and choices is Frankenstein. Out of curiosity, Frankenstein created a monster that led to the death 0f 3 innocent loved ones, including his wife, and the false conviction of an innocent girl. Just like Frankenstein, we at times also fail to recognize that our ways and thoughtless actions may negatively impact those around us, including those we care and love. Frankestein died without being able to rectify his mistake. Don’t let this be something that haunts you too. 


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