Everything You Wanted To Know About Gothic Architecture But Were Afraid To Ask

On Wednesday, August 22, 2018 Other Worlds Austin will present the World Premiere of THE PERFECT HOST: A SOUTHERN GOTHIC TALE. The screening begins at 7:30pm at Flix Brewhouse and will conclude with a Q&A from director/co-writer Derrick Sims.

In the film, a young woman, while sorting her dead grandmother's affairs, stays in an eerie, southern mansion and soon discovers the matriarch may desire more than just her company.

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Inspired by the World Premiere, OWA Programmer and Outreach Director, offers a primer on Gothic Architecture with a bent towards film:


Everything You Wanted To Know About Gothic Architecture But Were Afraid To Ask


In Classical Gothic literature most stories take place in eerie castles or grand mansions, however in American Gothic tales and film we trade the stone castles out for lovely and sometimes dilapidated homes with elaborate woodwork.

Today I am going to do go over Gothic Architecture and other styles of buildings in horror films. These large, creepy-yet-gorgeous homes that capture our imagination more often than not become characters in these stories in their own right. 

Classical (Medieval) Gothic architecture was an ornate style of building dating back to the mid-1100s and went into the 1400s. It took some basic principles of the Romanesque style and made them taller and more stable; utilizing spires, flying buttresses, high narrow arches, closely clustered columns, etc. A prime example of Classic Gothic architecture would be the Cathedral or Notre Dame in Paris, France. Gothic architecture during this time was mainly used to make castles, synagogues, cathedrals, etc. This style took a break and then came back with the Gothic Revival around 1840 and started to pick up momentum in the states in the early 1900s.

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The subset of the Gothic Revival we see most in America is the style called Carpenter's Gothic, also known as Rural Gothic. While this style is used to build churches, it is also implemented in the construction of houses and cottages. Its main identifying features being highly pitched roofs, one-story porches that often wrap around the entirety of the home, and pointed arches over windows. A prime example is the home in the 1930 painting "American Gothic" by Grant Wood.

While titular to the literary and film genre, Gothic isn't the only architectural style associated with the macabre. You have the Addams' Family House (21 Chester Place) which is a Queen Anne with a Colonial influence. The Addam's Family house looks a little different from the show because they matte painted some additions to it to fit the look they wanted.

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Then there is the Amityville House (112 Ocean Avenue) sporting the Dutch Colonial Revival style. The Timberline Lodge used for THE SHINING is another creature altogether with its Rustic Cascadian Neovernacular style.

The house in our feature THE PERFECT HOST: A SOUTHERN GOTHIC TALE, much like the Addams Family's dwelling, appears to be a Victorian Queen Anne style home with a dash of Colonial Revival, likely built in the late 19th century. There is the overall asymmetry of Queen Anne, but the centralized entryway is a more classical touch. 


So, if you are a fan of horror or architecture, you should come out to FLIX BREWHOUSE Wednesday, August 22 and join us for the World Premiere of THE PERFECT HOST: A SOUTHERN GOTHIC TALE!