Gothic castles have been seen in horror movies, and read about in horror literature, for a very long time. While most people think that gothic castles are simply a horror setting, there are very few that realize that there are deeper levels of horror symbolism that can be derived from the presence of a gothic castle. As a writer about horror symbolism, gothic castles in horror movies and horror literature have been a focus of mine for many years.
Mysteries Long Since Forgotten
One of the key ingredients that has gone into gothic horror for years is the possibility of mysteries that could cause someone to go insane that have been hidden for centuries. In many cases in horror movies and horror literature, gothic castles have held mysteries that should not get out.
Prime examples of gothic castles that hold mysteries from horror literature would be H.P. Lovecraft’s, “The Rats in the Walls,” and “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.” In horror movies, we could look at many of the early works of Roger Corman such as The Raven or The Terror to find excellent examples of gothic castles.
Maniacal Mad Men
Gothic castles have been used as a location in horror movies and horror literature as a location where insane rules, mad scientists, and all other kinds of evil does have held out. Just the outside look of a gothic castle could bring up references to Dracula or The Haunted Palace. The foreboding thought that there might be someone hiding something in a gothic castles is a strong point of horror symbolism.
While many horror movie and literature fans will automatically think of vampires when talking about the undead and gothic castles, some will think of other types of the undead that might be hiding out in the crypts below or behind a gothic castle. Many of the works of Poe will talk about ghosts, ghouls, and revenants that will haunt gothic castles. Many Hollywood directors and horror writers hope to instigate fears of these types of creatures when introducing a gothic castle to the story.
Phallic symbols have been a strong part of horror symbolism for many years. Gothic towers, which are attached to gothic castles, have been used as phallic symbols for years. By paying close attention to the shape of a gothic tower, one can understand the phallic symbolism involved. In the time when these kinds of castles were originally built, the height of your tower, and the secrets held inside were a statement of your importance.
If you pay close attention to gothic horror movies, and gothic horror literature, the secrets of the gothic castles are usually kept safe in the towers. They might include the workroom of a sorcerer, the body of a deceased loved one, the insane brother who is more monster than human, or even a captive who has been kept out of the light for years.
Keep these ideas in mind the next time that a gothic castle is introduced in a horror movie or in horror literature. You might find out that the castle is as much of a three-dimensional character as any in the story. In some cases, the castle even becomes the unsung main character of the story due to the amount of horror symbolism involved.