Still in the vampire theme, Anne RiceThe 1976 novel firmly established the notion of the gentleman vampire. The story is told by a 200-year-old vampire, Louis de Pointe du Lac, recounting his life experiences to a skeptical reporter. Louis recounts how he came to meet the charismatic Lestat de Lioncourt, the one who transforms him, and their life together thereafter, including the addition of their “vampire daughter” Claudia. A two-century adventure stretching from New Orleans to Paris, Rice’s pire and gothic fiction.
Neil Jordan‘s The 1994 film demonstrates another example of perfect casting. brad pitt plays the shy and sweet Louis while Tom Cruise plays his erratic sidekick Lestat with an intensity only suited to Tom Cruise. A young Kirstin Dunst stars as vampire child Claudia with her curls and porcelain skin, embodying the gothic element of female terror as a woman cursed to live in a girl’s body for eternity. AMC to come Interview with the Vampire TV series has big shoes to fill.
The Wuthering Heights (2011)
Poor orphan Heathcliff is taken in by the Earnshaw family, where he bonds with his adoptive sister Catherine. When the patriarch Earnshaw dies, Heathcliff is demoted to servant status and Catherine marries a member of the nobility. Heathcliff gets his revenge, eventually becoming master of Wuthering Heights but is forever haunted by the ghost of his beloved Catherine, with whom he could never be.
While Andrea ArnoldThe 2011 film isn’t particularly entertaining, sticking to gothic themes of isolation and emotional turmoil. The cinematography is gritty, using shots of the sublime landscape surrounding Wuthering Heights and drawing attention to the surprisingly cruel acts Heathcliff must endure. The lack of dialogue is annoying at times but works as a true portrayal of the book’s mysterious characters.
Based on Daphne du Maurier1938 novel, Rebecca tells the story of a widowed English gentleman, Maxim de Winter, and his new wife, known simply as “the second Mrs. de Winter”. After a whirlwind romance in Monte Carlo, they return to Winter’s estate in Manderley, only to encounter the lingering presence of the late “First Mrs. de Winter” Rebecca. Driven mad with jealousy and feelings of inadequacy, the second Mrs. de Winter makes it her mission to find out what exactly happened to Rebecca, even if it means uncovering the terrible truth about her new husband.
Ben WheatleyThe 2020 adaptation provides an accurate depiction of the book, with all the passion and angst you’d expect from a gothic story. One change Wheatley makes is to give Lily James‘ second Mrs. de Winter more agency. It also adds a bit at the end. The book ends with the de Winters heading towards a glowing Manderley that is on fire. The film, however, goes beyond that to show the de Winters as a happily married, globetrotting couple – arguably a more disturbing picture, especially after Maxim’s crimes come to light.
The haunting (1999)
Shirley Jackson1959 novel, The Haunting of Hill House, is your classic haunted house story (it’s even stated in the title!). In the book, supernatural enthusiast Dr. John Montague invites a team of three to stay at Hill House with him, hoping to prove the existence of ghostly phenomena. Specters knock on doors, there are mysterious writings on the walls, and even the house seems to “dance” at one point. It’s no surprise that they all go a little crazy in the end.
In Neeson takes on the role of Dr. Montague (except his name is Dr. Marrow), with Owen Wilson, Catherine Zeta Jones and Lili Taylor composes his team of three. For the most part, the film stays true to the book with a few tweaks here and there – for example, Dr. Marrow lures his subjects home under the guise of a sleep study, whereas in the book it’s to take notes for a scientist experiment. Owen Wilson’s character, Luke Sanderson, doesn’t say “wow” as much in the book either. For a different take on the story, it’s worth checking out Netflix 2018 TV Series The Haunting of Hill House.