Gothic Film Directors / Writers

by WingedCreature | created - 18 Oct 2012 | updated - 24 Jan 2014 | Public

Gothic films are described as films that draw from the Gothic tradition in literature. This means that they have dark and sometimes supernatural elements like the Gothic novels of the 18th and 19th centuries such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818) and Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897). The tragic theme of forlorn love is re-current in Gothic literature and film. Here I will focus on contemporary Gothic films. Many Gothic artists, musicians and film directors are Surrealists and rely on their subsonscious to produce their art. A lot of people seem to think that Goths like horror for myself I despise gore but do love all things dark. I think that there is a big difference between things that are dark and things that are evil.

Read more about Gothic films, actors and movies at the What is Goth website.

1. Tim Burton

Producer | Edward Scissorhands

Timothy Walter Burton was born in Burbank, California, to Jean Rae (Erickson), who owned a cat-themed gift shop, and William Reed Burton, who worked for the Burbank Park and Recreation Department. He spent most of his childhood as a recluse, drawing cartoons, and watching old movies (he was ...

American film director, film producer, writer and artist. Tim Burton is very active in the field of stop motion animation. One of Burton's first films, Vincent, is a six minute stop motion animation about a young boy who wants to be Vincent Price. Several of his early live-action films such as Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Beetlejuice made use of stop motion. In 1993, Burton produced the all-stop motion animation The Nightmare Before Christmas. His movies include: Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Big Fish, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Batman, Batman Returns, Planet of the Apes, Mars Attacks, Ed Wood, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. He is married to Helena Bonham Carter.

2. David Lynch

Writer | Twin Peaks

Born in precisely the kind of small-town American setting so familiar from his films, David Lynch spent his childhood being shunted from one state to another as his research scientist father kept getting relocated. He attended various art schools, married Peggy Lynch and then fathered future ...

An American Surrealist filmmaker and visual artist. Lynch's films are known for their nightmarish and dreamlike images and meticulously crafted sound design. Dreams and dreamlike imagery are often used within his works, relating to the "surrealist ethos" of relying on the subconscious to provide visual drive. His films include Twin Peaks, Dune, Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, The Elephant Man, Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive.

3. Neil Gaiman

Writer | Good Omens

Neil Gaiman is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre, and films. He is best known for the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book.

As a child and a teenager, Gaiman read the works of C. S. ...

English author of science fiction and fantasy short stories and novels, graphic novels, comics, audio theatre and films. Gaiman wrote the 1996 BBC dark fantasy television series Neverwhere. He cowrote the screenplay for the movie MirrorMask with his old friend Dave McKean for McKean to direct. He also cowrote the script for Robert Zemeckis's Beowulf with Roger Avary. Some of his original works have been adapted to film such as Stardust and the stop-motion film Coraline. Other movies in the works are an adaptation of The Graveyard Book and Death: The High Cost of Living who's executive producer will be Guillermo del Toro. He lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota in an "Addams Family house". He is engaged to Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls. He is friends with Tori Amos and the godfather of her daughter Tash. She has made numerous references to him in her songs. Amos has penned the introduction for his novel Death: the High Cost of Living, and posed for the cover.

4. Dave McKean

Director | Mirrormask

Dave McKean was born on December 29, 1963 in Taplow, Slough, Berkshire, England. He is a director and writer, known for Mirrormask (2005), Luna (2014) and N[eon] (2002). He is married to Clare. They have two children.

English illustrator, photographer, comic book artist, graphic designer, filmmaker and musician. Directed the movie MirrorMask and a number of television intros and music videos as well as several short films, such as The Week Before. His artwork can be seen in The Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman who he often collaborates with. He also has done cd covers for Tori Amos, Download, Front Line Assembly, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, Skinny Puppy and Stabbing Westward.

5. Guillermo del Toro

Writer | El laberinto del fauno

Guillermo del Toro was born October 9, 1964 in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico. Raised by his Catholic grandmother, del Toro developed an interest in filmmaking in his early teens. Later, he learned about makeup and effects from the legendary Dick Smith (The Exorcist (1973)) and worked on making his ...

Mexican director, producer, screenwriter and designer of horror films with a dose of fantasy. His films draw heavily on sources as diverse as weird fiction, fantasy and war. His films include: Pan's Labyrinth, Mimic, The Orphanage, Cronos, Hellboy, Blade II, and The Devil's Backbone.

6. Tarsem Singh

Director | The Fall

Indian director Tarsem Singh is the son of an aircraft engineer. He was educated at Bishop Cotton Boy's School in Shimla and relocated to the USA to study business at Harvard and, significantly, film studies at the Art Center College of Design in California. Upon graduating he embarked on a career ...

An Indian born film director, producer and screenwriter. His films include: The Cell, The Fall and Immortals. He also was the second unit director on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

7. Terry Gilliam

Writer | Brazil

Terry Gilliam was born near Medicine Lake, Minnesota. When he was 12 his family moved to Los Angeles where he became a fan of MAD magazine. In his early twenties he was often stopped by the police who suspected him of being a drug addict and Gilliam had to explain that he worked in advertising. In ...

An American-born British screenwriter, film director, producer, animator and actor. Terry renounced his American citizenship after George Bush became president. I too left the country soon after. His films include: 12 Monkeys, Brazil, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Brothers Grimm, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Time Bandits, Jabberwocky and The Fisher King.

8. Jan Svankmajer

Director | Otesánek

After studying at the Institute of Industrial Arts and the Marionette Faculty of the Prague Academy of Fine Arts in the 1950s, Jan Svankmajer started working as a theatre director, chiefly in association with the Theatre of Masks and the Black Theatre. He first experimented with film-making after ...

Czech surrealist stop-motion animator. His works have greatly influenced other artists such as Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, The Brothers Quay, Shane Acker, Sir Tijn Po, and many others. Some of his films include Alice, Faust, Little Otik, Lunacy, Conspirators of Pleasure, Punch and Judy, Jabberwocky and The Fall of the House of Usher.

American identical twin brothers who are surrealist stop-motion animators and film directors. The Quay's films are influenced by those of Jan Švankmajer. Their films include: The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes, The Epic of Gilgamesh, or This Unnameable Little Broom, Street of Crocodiles, The Cabinet of Jan Švankmajer, Stille Nacht II: Are We Still Married and Punch And Judy (Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy). They also directed an animated sequence in the film Frida.

American film and art director. His films include: The Sober and Prison Sex music videos for TOOL and The Three Little Pigs music video for Green Jellÿ.

11. Adam Jones

Special_effects | Jurassic Park

Adam Jones was born on January 15, 1965 in Libertyville, Illinois, USA as Adam Thomas Jones. He is known for his work on Jurassic Park (1993), Escape from L.A. (1996) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). He has been married to Camella Grace since September 18, 1999.

Welsh-American musician, songwriter, make-up artist, visual artist and animator. He is the guitarist in the band TOOL. His stop motion animation can be seen in their Sober video (on which he collaborated with Fred Stuhr), Prison Sex, Stinkfist, Enema, Schism, Parabola and Vicarious. The techniques and style of Tool's music videos, particularly Sober and Prison Sex, borrow heavily from the work of The Brothers Quay. Adam also worked as a sculptor and special effects designer for such films as Jurassic Park and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

12. Robert Morgan

Director | Bobby Yeah

Robert Morgan was born in 1974. He is a director and writer, known for Bobby Yeah (2011), The Cat with Hands (2001) and ABCs of Death 2 (2014).

“One of the most visionary filmmakers working today. Imagine a fusion between the sensibilities of Salvador Dali, David Cronenberg, Ingmar Bergman, Tim Burton and the Quay Brothers, and you’ll have a partial idea of the sheer brilliance of this man’s work.” - Mitch Davis, Rue Morgue Magazine An English filmmaker who is, in his own words, obsessed with monsters and things that hide under rocks. He lives in a haunted house in London. His films include: The Cat with Hands, Monsters, The Man in the Lower-Left Corner, The Separation and Over Taken.

13. Marilyn Manson

Soundtrack | Detroit Rock City

Marilyn Manson was born Brian Hugh Warner on January 5, 1969 in Canton, Ohio, to Barbara Jo (Wyer) and Hugh Angus Warner. He has German and English ancestry. During his childhood, one of his neighbors molested him several times until the young Brian broke down one day and told his mother what ...

American singer-songwriter, musician, artist, poet, producer, actor, writer and film director. He is currently working on his directorial debut, Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll. In this film which he wrote, he plays Lewis Carroll, author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

14. Mark Romanek

Director | One Hour Photo

Mark Romanek was born on September 18, 1959 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He is a director, known for One Hour Photo (2002), Never Let Me Go (2010) and Michael Jackson Feat. Janet Jackson: Scream (1995). He is married to Brigette Romanek.

American music video director who has also moved into directing theatrical films. He has directed some beautifully dark music videos such as: The Perfect Drug and Closer for Nine Inch Nails and Bedtime Story for Madonna. For The Perfect Drug video he used many elements from the work of the artist Edward Gorey. Mark's videos he directed for Nine Inch Nails were the inspiration for some of the scenes in the movie The Cell.

15. Chris Cunningham

Make_up_department | Judge Dredd

Chris Cunningham made his directorial debut in 1997 with the music video for "Come to Daddy" by Aphex Twin, which was instantly praised, banned, and raved about by many people in the business. He followed up by making the music video for "Windowlicker" by Aphex Twin, and the astounding "All is Full...

English music video film director and video artist. His music videos include: Frozen for Madonna, Come To Daddy for Aphex Twin, All Is Full of Love for Björk, Only You for Portishead and 36 Degrees for Placebo.

An Australian director, writer, producer, animator and Production Designer. His films include: The Steampunk animation The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello (which was inspired by the works of Edgar Alan Poe and Jules Verne), Holding Your Breath, Slim Pickings and My Rabit Hoppy.

17. Anne Rice

Writer | Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles

Anne Rice began life as "Howard Allen O'Brien", second of four daughters born to Howard and Katherine Allen O'Brien. She decided to call herself "Anne", when she enrolled in first grade at the Redemptorist Catholic School. Her mother (who had long suffered from alcoholism) died when Anne was nearly...

The following films were adapted from books written by the American author Anne Rice: Interview with the Vampire, The Queen of the Damned, Exit to Eden and The Feast of All Saints. Her work has been very influencial to film and music. Many bands have created songs influenced by her writing and some bands have even taken their band names from her wrtings. Here are some of the bands or singers that have been influence by Anne Rice: Savage Garden, Malice Mizer, Last Minute, Atreyu, Sting, Concrete Blonde, Steve Vai, Cradle of Filth, The Damned, Theatres des Vampires, Aiden, Santa Sabina, Talamasca and Versailles.

18. Jhonen Vasquez

Writer | Invader ZIM

Jhonen Vasquez was born and raised on San Jose's East Side. He graduated from Mount Pleasant High in 1992 and was a one-time film student at De Anza College. Even though he has little formal artistic training, he entered the world of alternative comics, as the writer/creator/artist of such titles ...

American cartoonist, comic book artist and writer. He is the creator, head writer, original character designer and voice actor for the animated cartoon Invader Zim. He also directed Mindless Self Indulgence's "Shut Me Up" music video. He created the comics: Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Happy Noodle Boy, I Feel Sick, Fillerbunny, Everything Can Be Beaten, Jellyfist, Bad Art Collection and Squee. The Gothic magazine Carpe Noctem first published his comics.

19. Matthew Barney

Director | Drawing Restraint 9

Matthew Barney was born on March 25, 1967 in San Francisco, California, USA. He is a director and writer, known for Drawing Restraint 9 (2005), Cremaster 2 (1999) and De Lama Lamina (2007).

An American filmmaker, Video artist, sculptor and photographer. His early works were sculptural installations combined with performance and video. Between 1994 and 2002 he created the Cremaster Cycle, a series of five films described by Jonathan Jones in The Guardian as "one of the most imaginative and brilliant achievements in the history of avant-garde cinema." He is married to Björk.

20. Floria Sigismondi

Director | The Runaways

Floria Sigismondi is a photographer and director. Apart from her art exhibitions she is best known for directing music videos. Her trademark dilating, jittery camerawork, noticeable as early as her video for Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People", has been replicated by a great number of directors...

An Italian born Canadian Surrealist filmmaker, music video director, photographer and installation artist. Floria started her career as a fashion photographer and then became a music video director. Her very innovative, but also very disturbing video works, located in sceneries she once described as "entropic underworlds inhabited by tortured souls and omnipotent beings", attracted a number of very prominent musicians. Her films incorporate images derived from hallucinary dream-states. Apart from her art exhibitions, she is best known for writing and directing The Runaways, starring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning. Sigismondi has also directed music videos for Marilyn Manson, David Bowie, Björk, The Cure, Christina Aguilera, The White Stripes, Sigur Rós, Muse, Interpol, Incubus, and commercials for Old Navy, MAC, Adidas and Eaton's. Her trademark dilating, jittery camerawork, noticeable as early as her video for Manson's The Beautiful People, has been replicated by a great number of directors since. Her parents were opera singers. Floria's videos that she directed for Marilyn Manson inspired scenes in the movie The Cell.

21. Jane Goldman

Producer | Kick-Ass

Jane Goldman was born on June 11, 1970 in England. She is a producer and writer, known for Kick-Ass (2010), Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) and Stardust (2007). She has been married to Jonathan Ross since August 1988. They have three children.

• co-writer of the screenplay for "Stardust", based on Neil Gaiman's novel

• wrote the screenplay for the 2012 film adaptation of Susan Hill's novel "The Woman in Black".

• Goldman appears as a character in author Neil Gaiman's short story "The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch" (1996)

• Between 2003 and 2004 she fronted her own paranormal series, "Jane Goldman Investigates", on the channel Living.

• She is working on the screen play for an upcoming Tim Burton film "Pinocchio".

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