Gothic Clothing in the World of Film

September 24, 2016

Vampire Film

Cinema has produced some memorable films with a Gothic theme, and the wardrobe department of each of these is crucial to developing the look of the film. Getting Gothic clothing to look just right in a film is essential in looking like the genuine article to those who enjoy films, books, TV and music inspired by this style. This article looks at the common themes found in Gothic clothing, as they have appeared in several films.

The original Blade, starring Wesley Snipes, hit the big screen in 1998 and grossed 130 million dollars worldwide. Its success is sometimes credited with starting a revival of comic book characters in film. Central to the film’s look was Wesley Snipe’s (Blade’s) Gothic clothing. A long black leather jacket with metal buckles provides the main piece of clothing, while Snipe’s face is perpetually dominated by a pair of dark sunglasses. Heavy boots and of course the rather sharp armament complete the look which could arguably have influenced subsequent films. Blade is based on a Marvel comic character, which was developed in 1973 by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan.

It could be argued that Underworld (2003) starred a character with a similarly icy disposition to Snipes – in Kate Beckinsale. She coolly deals out death a plenty to ‘Lycans’ (a form of Werewolf) in a similar manner to Snipes, though naturally adding a little more sex appeal for the male audience. In terms of dispatching the enemy, Beckinsale opts for a handgun – and prefers to give her victims eye contact – as she does not sport sunglasses as she delivers her killer blows. Her Gothic clothing is however similar to Snipes, with a long black overcoat, with a general feeling of PVC and blackness pervading her look.

Beckinsale sticks with the Gothic clothing and film theme in 2004’s Van Helsing, in which she co-starred with Hugh Jackman. Grossing 300 million dollars, the film did well financially, although did not receive glowing reviews from critics. The gothic theme however, saw the film through – with a Kate Beckinsale dressed in similar black Gothic clothing as in Underworld – but in this flick the male lead get the trench coat, notably though, the producers have broken with tradition and gone for a brown one. This innovation might be considered the only one of the film, which gave us some pretty standard gothic-vampire fare.

These three movies display some notable common themes in terms of Gothic clothing, particularly associated with the main characters. Black leather or PVC crop up again and again, along with long, dramatic trench coats – usually of the black order. Black trousers and heavy boots complete the outfit, ideal for the soldier-like duties of these blood thirsty characters.

As an aside, the weaponry wielded by Blade, Van Helsing and to a lesser extent Underword’s Selene all provide ample opportunity to spill blood a plenty. Dripping, spurting and splodging, fresh red blood is one of the pre-requisites for any self respecting vampire or gothic film – no wonder then, that these characters choose black gothic clothing, a shade which hides a multitude of sins, i.e. – blood.

Shaun Parker is a movie expert with many years of experience in the film industry. Find out more about gothic clothing at

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