Our favourite Goth Icons

by Molly Dixon

World Goth Day is approaching us. It’s a day for the gothic subcultures to embrace and show who they really are from the inside, as usually a generic part of their social group shy away from the public eye and feel much more at ease amongst people interested in the same things, like music, clothing, art and more.


Events all over the world will be hosted with one thing in common, the grungy, dark culture.

So, in recognition of this day and to show our appreciation of some of the well-known faces almost worshipped in this culture, we have put together some of our favourite Goth Icons!

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Gaze upon your mortal reflection under the scrutiny of Poe’s mocking Raven.

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13 top Goth Icons

01. Lydia Deetz

Played by Winona Ryder, Lydia Deetz is a young 14-year-old girl in this bonkers blend of comedy and horror, Beetlejuice.

From the trauma of her parent’s distant relationship and her mother’s love for strange pieces of art, Lydia seems to be a quiet introvert of a child and is ever curious about whats behind closed doors. She’s a key character in the film because she’s the only one who can see the deceased couple, the Maitland’s, who once owned the house, and helps them get it back.

In the original script, Deetz would move in with the Maitland family in Connecticut whilst the rest of her family moved back to New York. The origional though consisted of the iconic song “Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora).” which made the movie more playful than gruesome, eventually winning it an Oscar.

Actresses Lori Loughlin, Diane Lane, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brooke Shields, Justine Bateman, Molly Ringwald, and Jennifer Connelly are among the young actresses who allegedly turned down the role of Lydia Deetz. Juliette Lewis auditioned, but Winona Ryder won the part once Burton saw her performance in the teen dramedy Lucas.

“Enter Lydia, with her stark black hair, parchment-pale skin, perpetual bags under her eyes, and an array of statement hats. Within the tone of the film, she doesn’t feel like an anomaly, but her mere presence as one of the main protagonists is huge — and not only for members of the goth subculture, which is used very rarely in the film (and when it is, usually for sight jokes). Seeing someone who challenges the bullshit idea of “movie different” is refreshing. It paved the way for ’90s angst-ridden characters like Angela Chase and Daria Morgendorffer to helm their own shows.”

02. Edward Scissorhands

This magical fairytale romance is one of Tim Burton’s masterpieces and shows no sign of losing its status as one of the best gothic films with it’s hauntingly powerful story.

A reinterpretation on the Frankenstein story, Edward’s inventor unfortunately dies before he finishes his creation leaving him to grow up all alone in an eerie castle with cumbersome blades in place of his hands. A humble and gentle soul, Edward eventually makes contact with the real world and what ensues is a delightfully pastel-coloured vision of an outsider trying to fit in. Featuring Johnny Depp in the first movie of his eight brilliantly weird Burton collaborations to date, and with a wonderfully playful score from Danny Elfman, Edward Scissorhands an emotional and unforgettable comic fable, one that definitely makes the list.

03. Morticia Addams

Morticia A Addams is the fictional matriarch of The Addams Family, created by cartoonist Charles Addams. Charles Addams gave her the name “Morticia”, implying “death”, he did this with many of his characters names. She was the real head of the family and smiles were rare. Some would say she’s witty, loyal and deadly…

We were first introduced to Morticia Adams in 1966 until 1999 and one of the most iconic names playing Morticia was Anjelica Huston who had to be laced into a metal corset. Because she couldn’t lie down in the corset, she quickly became exhausted during the long hours of shooting.

Huston knew she couldn’t imitate the beloved 60s, Morticia Addams, so she turned to the documentary Grey Gardens to find inspiration for a spin on the character. It’s about the aunt and a cousin of Jackie Kennedy who lost their fortunes and had to live in a dilapidated mansion. Bleak.

04. Wednesday Addams

Wednesday Addams is a fictional character created by American cartoonist Charles Addams in his comic strip The Addams Family. The character has also appeared in television and film and had her first appearance in 1938!

If you’re wondering where her name came from, it takes after the nursery rhyme of ‘Wednesday’s child is full of woe’. Wednesday’s most notable features are her pale skin and long, dark twin braids. She seldom shows emotion and is generally bitter.

In the 1991 film, she is depicted closer to the original cartoons. She shows sadistic tendencies and a dark personality and is revealed to have a deep interest in the Bermuda Triangle and an admiration for an ancestor (Great Aunt Calpurnia Addams) who was burned as a witch in 1706. In the 1993 sequel, she was even darker: buried a live cat, tried to kill her baby brother Pubert, set fire to Camp Chippewa and (possibly) scared fellow camper Lucas to death.

05. Vampira

Maila Elizabeth Syrjäniemi, known professionally as Maila Nurmi, was a Finnish-American actress and television personality who created the campy 1950s character Vampira.

Every show started with Nurmi approaching the camera from a smokey, dark and gloomy corridor. Then staring directly ins=to the camera and boasting a chilling scream. Nobody could turn off the TV. It was 1954.

Nurmi had explored the tangled underside of the country since the mid-1940s; an underground gothic land lived beneath the sunlit world of postwar America. As a young runaway, she performed in a New York horror/burlesque show known as “Spook Scandals” that had called for her to rise out of a coffin and scream. There she had begun to craft the character of Vampira, thinking about how the sexy and the horrific could intertwine, a dance between Eros and Thanatos.

06. Elvira: Mistress of the Dark

Elvira was the main protagonist played by Cassandra Peterson in the Fantasy Thriller cult movie Mistress of the Dark back in 1988.

She’s on our list because whenever you hear the name Elvira only one person comes to mind… Halloween icon and quintessential symbol of all things spooky, the one and only Mistress of the Dark.

In 1981, who could have imagined the hostess of a local Hollywood Horror movie show would grow to become a household name? Elvira was the first horror host ever to be syndicated nationally and has emerged as one of the most original and outrageous characters in popular culture today!

07. Lily Munster

Lily Munster was a must when it comes to our favourite goth icons. She is the daughter of the viscously terrifying Count Dracula and is over 137 years old! She’s a strict, full-time housewife and is completely devoted to her family. Her husband is Herman Munster and moved away from Transylvania to live with him.

Played by the wonderful Yvonne DeCarlo in The Munsters which aired in 1966, the show was a hit with the younger generation and was shown on TV in black and white!

Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis were not pleased when they heard that Yvonne De Carlo had been hired to replace Joan Marshall. They’d never met the film actress, but they were intimidated by her reputation as a Hollywood glamour queen. “She was a bona fide movie star,” Al Lewis recounted in a 2003 interview for A&E’s Biography, “and we didn’t think she would fit in with our brand of comedy. We were wrong.”


08. Marilyn Manson

Brian Hugh Warner, better known as the globally famous Marilyn Manson is an American singer, songwriter, musician and more…

He became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950’s, from his outrages outfits and on-stage antics he created visual art and music for a culture he was literally creating, he describes his work as an escapism because he didn’t like the current world he was living in.

Marilyn Manson is the ultimate goth.

09. Siouxsie Sioux

Siouxsie Sioux is best known as the lead singer of the group Siouxsie and the Banshees, whose most popular singles include “Peek-A-Boo,” “Cities in Dust,” “The Killing Jar” and “Kiss Them For Me.” Their music was popular around the time of the Sex Pistols fans’ provocative clothing and public antics.

Their music videos and the lyrics of the songs they where producing set a fiery tone with some having deceiving and distressing meanings as “Candyman” is actually about child abuse!

Nonetheless, they were successful and have been widely influential, both over their contemporaries and with later acts.

10. Robert Smith

Robert Smith, 59, is an English singer-songwriter and musician. He is the lead singer in the rock band The Cure. Smith is on the list for his peculiar looks in the internationally popular band.

The music video ‘Friday I’m In Love’ boasts the word grunge with band members looking hagged wearing poorly applied red lipstick. Their black eye makeup goes well with the gothic look and Smith kept up this look for a good 20 years, needless to say, he’s enjoying the pale face sinister look

12. Krysten Ritter (Jane – Breaking Bad/Jessica Jones)

Born December 16, 1981, Krysten Alyce Ritter is an American actress best known for her lead role as Marvel superheroine Jessica Jones. In 2009, Krysten was cast as a former tattoo artist and recovering drug addict Jane Margolis in the hit series Breaking Bad. Although she first appeared aloof, she and Jesse soon became a couple, a fact she hid from her father, Donald Margolis, the owner of the building in which she and Jesse lived.

Jane’s death in the season two finale was one of the most shocking story-lines of the show’s entire run as Walt watches Jane overdose and chooses not to try and save her. She’s been in the public eye for many years and her distinct dark dolly like hair, pale skin and big eyes make her hard to forget as a dark haunting character.


13. Tim Burton

Timothy Walter Burton is an American film director, producer, writer and artists. You may recognise his name from the credentials on some of the creepiest yet quirky movies such as Corpse Bride, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and blockbusters such as Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Tim Burton over the years has brought cinematic excellence to our screens, leaving us confused, in awe and slightly freaked out but he has us no doubt searching for the release of the sequel.

Did you know: Tim Burton is the eighth-highest-grossing director by the worldwide box office.


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