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200 of the Best Gothic Romance Movies and TV Shows – Period Drama Style

Halloween is the perfect time to watch these gothic romance stories!

I love gothic romance movies and gothic TV shows – and I especially love when they also happen to be period dramas or have touches of the supernatural! Call it my never-ending interest in everything Jane EyreBeauty and the Beast stories, history, paranormal romance, and moody Byronic Heroes. The intense emotion and other ingredients of Romanticism draw me in every time.

gothic romance movies featured image. It is a collage of gothic period dramas including Crimson Peak in the center.
Gothic Romance Movies & TV Shows. Photo Credit: Phantom of the Opera (Warner Bros), Wuthering Heights (Paramount Pictures), Crimson Peak (Universal Pictures), The Making of a Lady (ITV), and Jane Eyre (BBC).

Still, while incredibly popular today, there’s not a whole lot of information out there about the gothic romance genre beyond classic gothic fiction. And even less about the period drama examples from film and television besides the discussion of gothic horror.

So, I think it’s the perfect time to spotlight gothic romance movies that also happen to be period dramas this Halloween season. Now, on this list, you’ll also see some paranormal romance because when it comes to elements of classic gothic stories and paranormal romance, the two often intersect.

Not always. But often enough. Mainly because of the frequent amalgamation of classic monster literature and the romantic Byronic Hero of the Brontë persuasion – what I like to call the Byronic Monster (Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, etc.).

RELATED POST: Top 20 Bad Boys – The Best Byronic Heroes in Television You’ll Love

In a nutshell, you take the classic horror monsters of Shelley, Polidori, and Stoker, the gothic elements of Radcliffe or Du Maurier, and the redeemable Byronic Heroes of the Brontë sisters to create today’s Byronic Monsters in stories that combine aspects of all three.

However, not all gothic romance period dramas on this list are about the gothic Byronic Monster. This list reflects a large variety of gothic romance movies and gothic TV shows. So, everyone reading this list should find different films or shows that interest them.

I include examples of classic gothic stories, gothic period dramas steeped in romance without the supernatural, gothic paranormal romances or urban fantasies, gothic horror, and period dramas using aspects of gothic storytelling techniques. Most examples include a suggestion of romance. At the very least, the period drama has qualities of Romanticism.

So, what then is a gothic romance film or gothic TV show? Let’s explore the genre.

GOTHIC ROMANCE MOVIES

In a gothic story, you may see elements of mystery, horror, romance, an old-run down structure (like a castle), foreboding environments with the setting as a character, isolated characters, hidden secrets, Romanticism (IE: high emotions), troubled or innocent women, and sometimes even elements of the supernatural. The gothic romance film genre also typically has a feminine appeal. 

A few famous examples include the 1940 adaptation of Rebecca and Gaslight, Jane Eyre, and Suspicion.

So if you love stories with romantic suspense, Byronic Heroes, and darker story elements, you should enjoy gothic and gothic romance stories. However, for this list, I’m focusing on period-based gothic romance films and TV shows.

THE RULES OF GOTHIC PERIOD DRAMAS IN THIS LIST

The period dramas chosen on this list must take place (at least partially) in this world. So, no stories that only take place in a fantasy world. The gothic period drama must also occur (at least partially) in the past no later than the 1980s.

THE GOTHIC ROMANCE FILM AND SERIES LIST 

Now, this is not a complete list of every gothic romance movie or show out there. Instead, these are numerous examples from around the world to get you started. It is, however, currently the most extensive list available.

So, bookmark this page and return to whenever you’re looking for a gothic romance period drama to watch!

Note: This list was first published in October 2018 and has been updated and re-published for October 2021. Unlike the original list, some of the gothic romance movies and TV shows do include explicit content. But there are content notes for every film and show, so you’ll know what to expect.


200 GOTHIC ROMANCE MOVIES & TV SHOWS – PERIOD DRAMA STYLE

(In Alphabetical Order)


#1 Affinity (2008)

Affinity 2008 poster

Why You Should Watch: The film is based on a Sarah Waters novel, and while it isn’t a true gothic tale, it does have gothic romance elements incorporating themes of madness and obsession while also featuring a strong female protagonist and a forbidden attraction. The lighting and costumes are gorgeous with exquisite period authenticity.

Content Note: NR, but it is for mature audiences.

#2 Alias Grace (2017)

Alias Grace
Photo: Netflix

Why You Should Watch: The gothic miniseries from Sarah Polley is fantastic! This gothic thriller is based on a true story with some appealing romance and intriguing turns. It features a fascinating female protagonist with a mystery at its core. Also, Sarah Gadon absolutely kills it as Grace Marks!

Plus, Road to Avonlea fans will appreciate seeing Mag Ruffman (Aunt Olivia) in a role, too. You can currently watch it on Netflix.

Content Note: TV-MA for a moderate amount of violence, mild profanity, and a couple of assault scenes.

#3 The Alienist (2018)

The Alienist publicity photo
Photo: Warner Bros. Television

Why You Should Watch:  While gothic romance isn’t a focus of the series (but hey, who isn’t rooting for Sara and John?), it does have gothic elements and features fabulous period costumes that add to its authenticity.

It’s also a gothic thriller and gothic mystery series. Just be warned this show has some disturbing content.

Content Note: TV-MA for violence, disturbing imagery, profanity, and sexual references/innuendo.

#4 An American Haunting (2005)

An American Haunting; 150 of the Best Gothic & Paranormal Romance Period Dramas
Photo: After Dark Films/Freestyle Releasing

Why You Should Watch: Part horror, part gothic mystery, this 19th-century period drama includes a romance between a tortured teenager (Rachel Hurd-Wood) and her teacher (James D’Arcy).

And while the romance is questionable and the film overall mediocre, one can’t help but appreciate a swoony James D’Arcy in the role. An American Haunting also includes a stellar cast with Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland playing Betsy’s parents.

Content Note: PG-13 for violence and disturbing content.

#5 Angel (1999)

Angel publicity photo
Photo: 20th Century Fox

Why You Should Watch:  The gothic drama/romance is a fun and action-packed supernatural romp from the creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. While it takes place mainly in the modern-day, numerous flashbacks take place in historical times.

Content Note: TV-14 for fantasy violence and mild profanity.

#6 Anne with an E (2017)

anne with an e
Photo: CBC/Netflix

Why You Should Watch: The writers and filmmakers chose to give this Anne series a Brontë/Gothic feel showcasing a darker color scheme with frequent references to Jane Eyre.

There’s brilliant acting and cinematography with romance and great characterization. Season two is also a significant improvement over season one if you had problems with it. You must, however, recognize it as a unique narrative from the novels!

Content Note: TV-PG for some thematic elements and mild violence.

#7 Arang and the Magistrate (2012 Limited TV Series)

arang and the magistrate poster
Photo: MBC/Viki

Why You Should Watch: This popular Korean drama stars two of Korea’s biggest and most likable stars in this fun historical paranormal romance between a ghost and a magistrate.

Plus, you won’t want to miss the secondary love story, which is just as good! The ghost mythology is also fabulous.

Content Note: TV-PG for some violence.

#8 The Awakening (2011)

The Awakening publicity photo
Photo: StudioCanal

Why You Should Watch:  Part gothic suspense and part gothic mystery, this period drama stars Rebecca Hall as a ghost hunter. While it isn’t the best film of all time, there’s good chemistry between Rebecca Hall and Dominic West. Plus, the film is beautifully shot with atmospheric cinematography for gothic fans.

Content Note: R for violence and brief language.

#9-11 Beauty and the Beast adaptations 

beauty and the beast adaptations
Photo Credits: Disney/DisCina/Pathe

Why You Should Watch: Since it’s a tale as old as time, there are numerous fairy tale adaptations of the story. I included three of the most recognizable versions of the story and focused on live-action productions that take place in 18th century France.

  • La Belle et La Bete (1946)
  • Beauty and the Beast (2014)
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017)

While all three of these Beauty and the Beast adaptations have fantastic qualities, my heart belongs to the superior 1946 adaptation. Still, this gothic fairy tale is worth watching in almost every incarnation.

Content Note: The 1946 and 2017 adaptations are PG, while the 2014 adaptation is PG-13.

#12 The Beguiled (2017)

The Beguiled publicity still with Nicole Kidman and other castmembers
Photo: Focus Features

Why You Should Watch: Sofia Coppola’s gothic thriller/romance is a gorgeous film with a fantastic cast, including Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning. The gothic atmosphere is stunning, and the music score is haunting!

Content Note: R for mild violence and moderate sexuality. Mild overall for an R-rated film.

#13-14 Being Human (Original U.K. and U.S. remake) 

Being Human BBC; urban fantasy show
Photo: BBC

Why You Should Watch: While most of these two shows take place in the modern-day, there are period flashbacks connected to the vampires. And while the U.S. remake is good, the U.K. adaptation is superior with brilliant writing and a fantastic cast.

Expect to see Byronic Heroes, paranormal romances, not to mention a young and swoony Aidan Turner. So, you’ll definitely want to check out this urban fantasy show with gothic influence.

Content Note: Both shows range from TV-14 to TV-MA, depending on the episode. The U.K. adaptation has a few explicit scenes scattered throughout the show and some strong language (most noticeably in season 2).

The U.S. remake has some moderate sensuality though the language is milder. Both shows include violent scenes.

#15 Black Sunday (1960)

Black Sunday promo photo

Why You Should Watch: This Italian gothic horror film about a witch is considered a classic masterpiece for a reason. However, this one is not for the faint of heart!

Content Note: A couple of scenes of innuendo/sensuality, fantasy violence, and creepy scenes.

#16 Bleak House (2005 Limited Series)

Bleak House promo photo
Photo: BBC

Why You Should Watch: This urban gothic Dickens’ adaptation has a stellar cast and an addicting binge-worthy quality with memorable romances. However, Gillian Anderson steals the show!

Content Note: TV-PG for mild language.

#17 Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Bride of Frankenstein
Photo: Universal Studios

Why You Should Watch: A sequel to the 1931 adaptation of Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein is one of the best classic films in the gothic genre and superior to the original!

And you don’t want to miss the infamous scene of the introduction of the Bride.

Content Note: NR – but only includes mild horror.

#18 The Brothers Grimm (2005)

Brothers Grimm promo photo
Photo: MGM/Dimension Films

Why You Should Watch: This Terry Gilliam gothic historical fantasy about con artist/bounty hunters who masquerade as Grimms has a great cast and fun gothic elements such as the prominent wolf (aka big bad wolf).

It also has a stellar cast, including Matt Damon and Heath Ledger.

Content Note: PG-13 for some fantasy horror and suggestive content.

#19 Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997 TV Series)

buffy and angel promo image
Photo: 20th Century Fox

Why You Should Watch: If you like gothic heroines and gothic romance, Buffy is the gothic fantasy series for you. Like Angel, it mostly takes place in the modern-day, but there are numerous period flashbacks.

The show is heavily inspired by gothic genre tropes such as darkness and shadows, a gothic mansion, gothic high school settings, and gothic dream sequences or gothic literary allusions.

Content Note: TV-14 – Moderate language, sensuality, and violence (with some intense scenes).

#20 Byron (2003 TV Movie)

Byron 2003 poster

Why You Should Watch: This gothic tale about the life and romantic adventures of poet Lord Byron (the man who inspired Byronic Heroes) has a stellar cast, including Jonny Lee Miller and Vanessa Redgrave.

Content Note: TV-MA for some sexuality.

#21 Byzantium (2012)

byzantium publicity photo
Photo: IFC Films

Why You Should Watch: This gothic-influenced vampire flick starring Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton is full of dark Romanticism and a depressing atmosphere. The period drama parts are flashbacks. Be warned; this is a vampire film for grownups.

Content Note: R for graphic violence, gothic horror/fantasy elements including vampires, some moderate sexuality.

#22 The Canterville Ghost (1997)

The Canterville ghost poster

Why You Should Watch: This gothic period romance may be one of the most accurate adaptations of Oscar Wilde’s book. If you can find a copy, you’ll be in for a treat.

Content Note: NR but not explicit.

#23 A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

a chinese ghost story poster

Why You Should Watch: This gothic romance from the Golden Age of Hong Kong Cinema combines Chinese ghosts, gothic horror with a love triangle.

It’s also one of the films included in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

Content Note: NR but has a moderate amount of fantasy violence and some sensuality.

#24-27 A Christmas Carol Adaptations

A Christmas Carol photo
Photo: RHI Entertainment/TNT

Why You Should Watch: This classic gothic Christmas story (with a little bit of romance in Scrooge’s flashbacks) is one of the most famous stories for a reason. Below, I’ve listed four of the best adaptations.

  • (1935) Scrooge
  • (1938) A Christmas Carol 
  • (1984) A Christmas Carol 
  • (1999) A Christmas Carol 

Content Note: Ratings range from G to PG on these adaptations. Nothing to come after.

#28 Corpse Bride (2005)

corpse bride photo
Photo: Warner Bros

Why You Should Watch: Corpse Bride showcases the best of the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp/Helena Bonham Carter team.

Corpse Bride is the perfect gothic, and supernatural Halloween treat about a young groom during the Victorian Age who accidentally marries a ghost.

Content Note: PG for mild scary images and brief mild language.

#29 The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)

the count of monte cristo photo
Photo: Buena Vista

Why You Should Watch: Jim Caviezel shines in this excellent adaptation of the beloved classic novel. Now whether or not the book is or should be considered a gothic novel is up for debate! 

But there are at least elements of the gothic and romantic in this tale of revenge.

Content Note: PG-13 for adventure violence and sensuality.

#30 Crimson Peak (2015)

Crimson Peak promotional poster
Photo: Universal Pictures

Why You Should Watch: Crimson Peak is a personal favorite gothic romance film of mine with a Victorian gothic setting, gothic supernatural elements, and gothic horror.

It is another excellent example of the gothic-influenced fantasy genre that has been popular in Hollywood from The Twilight Saga to Penny Dreadful. The film also pays homage to Jane Eyre with a beautiful Byronic romance included.

Content Note: R for gory violence, a moderate amount of sexuality, and brief strong language.

#31 Crooked House (2017)

Crooked House
Photo: Sony Pictures

Why You Should Watch: Part film noir, part gothic romantic mystery, this new adaptation of Crooked House (while flawed) is a fun watch with a fantastic cast!

Content Note: PG-13 for sensuality and thematic material.

#32 Dark Shadows (2012)

dark shadows - gothic romance movie
Photo: Warner Bros

Why You Should Watch: While I prefer the classic show, the original series is not technically a period drama.

That said, this remake about a vampire and the quirky family he lives with during the 1970s is still imperfect fun with a distinct Tim Burton charm and a fabulous cast!

Content Note: PG-13 for horror violence, innuendo, and language.

#33 Death Comes to Pemberley (2013 Mini-Series)

death comes to pemberley
Photo: BBC

Why You Should Watch: If you love Pride and Prejudice and everything Jane Austen, this fun continuation with popular period drama stars is worth a watch.

Darcy and Elizabeth receive gothic treatment amid a murder mystery.

Content Note: TV-14 but nothing explicit or vulgar. Expect sensuality and murder.

#34 Dickensian (2015 TV Series)

Dickensian photo
Photo: BBC

Why You Should Watch: If you love Charles Dickens novels, you should enjoy this gorgeous BBC period drama series. The story takes place in a fictional version of the 19th century, where characters from many different Dickens novels appear.

Like Once Upon a Time…but only about Dickens! Characters mostly come from Bleak House, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, and A Christmas Carol. So expect plenty of soapy gothic goodness.

Content Note: TV-PG.

#35 A Discovery of Witches (2018 TV Series)

Diana and Matthew time travel in A Discovery of Witches season 2
Season two of A Discovery of Witches. Photo: Courtesy of Sundance Now

Why You Should Watch: A Discovery of Witches is another gothic romance that is part contemporary fantasy, part historical fantasy (with the second season taking place in Elizabethan times), and part mystery that is sure to please Harry Potter and Twilight fans.

It’s based on the book with the same name by Deborah Harkness and is a brilliant British romance series starring Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer.

Content Note: Ranges between TV-14 and TV-MA depending on the episode. There is some violence, some love scenes, and strong language – but mild overall for TV-MA.

#36 Doctor Who (2005 TV Series)

The Doctor and Rose in season one's The Unquiet Dead.
Photo: BBC

Why You Should Watch: While the classic series is great fun, it’s the 2005 continuation that’s all about paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Although both the classic and modern series include numerous gothic-influenced episodes, including “Hide” and “The Unquiet Dead.”

Seasons one through four include one of the best TV romances ever between the immortal Doctor (a Byronic alien Time Lord) and Rose, a young human who brings out the best in him – a bit Jane Eyre/Beauty and the Beast-like if you ask me. Together they travel through time (including to the past).

Overall, Doctor Who is an addicting fantasy/sci-fi series you won’t want to miss. Also, make sure to watch the spinoff show, Torchwood, about a Byronic Hero time-traveler, Captain Jack Harkness.

Content Note: TV-PG (for most episodes). Fun for the whole family.

#37-38 Dorian Gray Adaptations (1945 & 2009)

The Picture of Dorian Gray photo

Why You Should Watch: Both gothic romance movies (the first an American classic starring Hurd Hatfield, and the second a contemporary adaptation starring Ben Barnes and Colin Firth) are interesting interpretations of Oscar Wilde’s novel.

Both are worth watching for their gorgeous gothic atmosphere and Byronic brooding gentlemen who prize beauty above all else. Although the 2009 version is much more explicit, so be warned.

Content Note: PG-like in the 1945 adaptation, while the 2009 adaptation is R for sexual content.

#39 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde photo

Why You Should Watch: This adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novella is all about the brilliant cast! A must-see for classic film and gothic period drama lovers.

Content Note: Not rated but PG-like. 

#40-47 Dracula Adaptations

Dracula adaptations
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

Why You Should Watch: Bram Stoker’s Dracula has been retold time and time again because it’s such a great story. Some adaptations attempt to be faithful to the novel, while others retell the story with their own vision of the iconic vampire.

Most are worth watching if you love gothic stories. Below include some of my favorites, but there are many more.

  • Nosferatu (1922) – A German adaptation with changed names.
  • Dracula (1931) – Old Hollywood classic starring Bela Lugosi.
  • Horror of Dracula (1958) – Hammer classic starring Christopher Lee.
  • Brides of Dracula (1960) – A sequel that doesn’t focus on Dracula.
  • Dracula (1979) – A gothic romance starring Frank Langella and Kate Nelligan
  • Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula (1992) – A romantic gothic epic with Gary Oldman and Winona Ryder.
  • Dracula Untold (2014) – A gothic romantic fantasy about Vlad the Impaler and his famous (non-Dracula) vampire backstory.
  • Dracula TV Series (2013) – A romantic steampunk retelling. This one’s so underrated!

Content Note: All are PG-13 or less except Coppola’s version of Dracula. That is R for violence and sexuality.

#48 Dragonwyck (1946)

dragonwyck - gothic romance movie

Why You Should Watch: Often compared to the famous gothic romance, RebeccaDragonwyk is pure gothic entertainment you shouldn’t miss if you love stories like Jane Eyre. An atmospheric, chilling tale that takes place in 1844.

Content Note: PG-like.

#49 A Duel of Hearts (1991)

A Duel of Hearts
Photo: Gainsborough Pictures/TNT

Why You Should Watch: Based on a romance novel by Barbara Cartland, this gothic romance TV movie is easy, fun, and an underrated romance to watch if you’re a fan of the genre.

Content Note: NR but TV-PG-like

#50 Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Edward Scissorhands - gothic romance movie
Photo: 20th Century Fox

Why You Should Watch: This gorgeous gothic fantasy romance starring Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder is about a man with scissors for hands. If you love Beauty and the Beast type of stories, you should enjoy this costume drama.

It tells the story of an innocent young man and his love interest, Kim – a girl who sees beyond Edward’s frightening appearance. And while not technically a period drama, it feels like one.

Content Note: PG-13. A few suggestive moments, language, and a couple of scenes of violence.

#51 Effie Gray (2014)

Effie Gray photo
Photo: Adopt Films/Universal Pictures

Why You Should Watch: This historical movie (with a gothic romance influence) is based on the true story of Victorian art critic John Ruskin and his young bride, Effie Gray.

The period drama stars Dakota Fanning as Effie (a fresh-faced girl who experiences an awakening), Greg Wise as Ruskin, Tom Sturridge as John Everett Millais, and Emma Thompson as the controlling mother-in-law.

Content Note: PG-13 for thematic elements and mild nudity.

#52 Emily of New Moon TV Series (1998)

Emily of New Moon TV show

Why You Should Watch: If you enjoy family period dramas like Avonlea or Anne of Green Gables, then you’ll want to check out this other lesser-known Canadian series based on an L.M. Montgomery novel.

While it’s not a faithful adaptation of the books and certainly not to the quality of a Sullivan production, if you’re a fan of the books (they’re my favorite Montgomery books), you’ll enjoy seeing some of the stories on the small screen. Some of the gothic, supernatural elements of the books do make it into the series.

Content Note: TV-G

#53 Fall of the House of Usher (1960)

Fall of the House of Usher

 Why You Should Watch: Based on a story by Edgar Allen Poe, House of Usher showcases Vincent Price at his gothic horror best.

Content Note: NR but includes no explicit content. 

#54 Forever Knight (1992-1996)

Forever Knight flashback
Photo: Columbia/TriStar Television

Why You Should Watch: I LOVE romantic vampire series (mainly because they’re like Brontë novels with immortals), and Forever Knight is one of the best. A precursor to many of the shows that came after, this Canadian urban fantasy series includes fantastic writing.

The Beauty and the Beast love story between Nick and Natalie is also lovely. Still, like many series about immortal characters, only a portion of the series takes place in the past. But the gothic storytelling in the flashbacks makes for compelling television.

Content Note: TV-14 for vampire violence and sensuality. There are also some incredibly sexist scenes with female objectification, particularly in season 3.

#55 From Hell (2001)

from hell poster

Why You Should Watch: Johnny Depp and Heather Graham star in this gothic romance crime drama about the Jack the Ripper murders.

Graham is a prostitute who falls in love with Depp, the sympathetic detective. Based on a graphic novel, many gothic elements are present.

Content Note: Rated R for graphic violence and sexuality with moderately strong language.

#56 From Time to Time (2009)

From Time to Time

Why You Should Watch: From Time to Time is a gothic adventure for the whole family. It’s also written and directed by Julian Fellowes (the creator of Downton Abbey).

Content Note: PG

#57-58 Gaslight (1940 & 1944)

gaslight photo
Photo: MGM

Why You Should Watch: While the 1944 adaptation includes the more famous cast, both versions are fantastic examples of Gothic suspense.

Content Note: PG

#59 The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

the ghost and mrs. muir artistic photo
Photo: 20th Century Fox

Why You Should Watch: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir includes one of the best ghost/human romances to date. A true classic and wonderful film with gothic elements everyone should watch.

Content Note: NR but no explicit content.

#60 The Ghost Bride (2020)

the ghost bride - gothic romance TV show
Photo: Netflix

Why You Should Watch: The Ghost Bride is a gothic Chinese-Malaysian Netflix original series. It combines supernatural elements, gothic romance, and mystery in this period piece.

Content Note: TV-14-like for mild horror elements.

#61-62 Ghosts (British & US Versions) (2019 & 2021)

ghosts bbc photo
Photo: BBC

Why You Should Watch: Ghosts is a gothic sitcom that takes place in the modern-day inside of a haunted house, but it does include numerous period flashbacks related to the different ghosts living inside the home.

Overall, the British version is better, but both make for fun entertainment and include romance and lots of hilarious moments. The new US remake is currently airing weekly on CBS.

Content Note: Both are TV-14-like for innuendo and language. Mild overall.

#63 Goblin (2016)

goblin photo
Photo: tvN

 Why You Should Watch: If you haven’t watched this BRILLIANT K-Drama yet, check it out on Amazon before it disappears. While most of the story takes place in the present day, you’ll also love the backstory and period flashbacks.

Goblin is a genuinely unique paranormal romance series with gothic elements (including the perfect setting).

Content Note: TV-14, but most episodes feel PG.

#64 Gormenghast (2000)

gormenghast photo
Steerpike and Lady Fuchsia: BBC Worldwide

 Why You Should Watch: This British miniseries boasts a fabulous cast, high production values, and an unforgettable story. Gormenghast is gothic fantasy at its best. Jonathan Rhys Meyers stars.

Content Note: NR but would likely be TV-14.

#65-68 Great Expectations adaptations

Miss Havisham from Great Expectations - Costume Ideas
Photo: BBC Films/Lionsgate

Why You Should Watch: From the mind of Dickens, Great Expectations is one of his best novels. And below are four outstanding adaptations.

Content Note: PG/PG-13 depending on adaptation.

#69 The Haunted Palace (1963)

the haunted palace - gothic film

Why You Should Watch: The masters of horror, Vincent Price and Lon Chaney, star together in this atmospheric gothic period drama!

Content Note: NR but has some violence.

#70 Haunted Summer (1988)

haunted summer poster

Why You Should Watch: This period drama follows the lives of famous gothic authors Lord Byron, Mary Shelley (and her husband Percy), and their friend Polidori.

Content Note: R for a moderate amount of sexual content.

#71 Haunted (1995)

haunted 1995 movie photo
Photo: American Zoetrope/Entertainment Film Distributors

Why You Should Watch: Haunted is a gothic horror supernatural film with some dark elements, romance, and suspense. It’s based on the horror novel by James Herbert and takes place in 1928.

Aidan Turner and Kate Beckinsale star.

Content Note: Rated R for a sex scene.

#72 The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)

the haunting of bly manor - gothic romance tv show
Photo: Netflix

The Haunting of Bly Manor is a sequel to The Haunting of Hill House, but the sequel (in part) takes place in the ’80s. It’s a great gothic romance series for Halloween and is inspired by The Turn of the Screw.

Content Note: TV-MA for a moderate amount of violence and frightening situations.

#73 A Hazard of Hearts (1987 TV Movie)

hazard of hearts
Photo: Gainsborough Pictures/CBS

Why You Should Watch: This lesser-known British gothic miniseries stars period drama queen Helena Bonham Carter. And it’s a fun, guilty pleasure with mystery and romance.

Content Note: Unrated but not explicit. There is mild violence and a brief scene of sensuality.

#74 Hotel Del Luna (2019)

Hotel Del Luna poster

Why You Should Watch: Hotel Del Luna, a gothic fantasy, Korean rom-com drama, is one of the highest-rated Korean dramas ever and comes from the talented Hong Sisters.

It takes place in part in present-day with numerous historical flashbacks. The gothic atmosphere makes this a fun watch!

Content Note: TV-14-like but mild.

#75 The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Why You Should Watch: It’s Sherlock Holmes, gothic style! And a fun, brilliant watch.

Content Note: NR.

#76-77 The House of the Seven Gables (1940 & 1960)

The House of the Seven Gables adaptations
Photo: Universal Pictures/NBC

Why You Should Watch: Based on the gothic novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, House of the Seven Gables is the perfect American gothic story.

The 1940 adaptation is better, but the lesser-known one with an older Shirley Temple is a fun treat!

Content Note: Nothing explicit.

#78-79 The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939 & 1997)

The Hunchback of notre dame montage

Why You Should Watch: Based on the famed French Gothic Romantic novel by Victor Hugo, these are two lovely adaptations. The ’39 adaptation is an unforgettable classic, and the ’97 one is entertaining because of the cast, including Salma Hayek and Mandy Patinkin.

Content Note: The 1997 version is not rated because it’s a TV Movie, but it would likely be TV-14.

#80 I am Dragon (2015)

i am dragon photo
Photo: Netflix

Why You Should Watch: This gothic paranormal romance from Russia is simply delightful! The design of the dragon is gorgeous!

Content Note: NR but would likely be PG-13.

#81 The Illusionist (2006)

the illusionist poster

Why You Should Watch: While not a full-blown gothic, The Illusionist has enough gothic romance elements to put it on the list!

However, you should watch this tale of magic and romantic mystery because the movie is incredible and will keep you glued to your seat from start to finish.

Content Note: PG-13

#82 In Secret (2013)

in secret movie - gothic movie
Photo: Roadside Attractions

Why You Should Watch: In Secret is a gothic thriller set in the 1860s and is the story of a young woman stuck in a loveless marriage.

It’s based on the novel Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola, and while it has some gothic elements, it technically falls under the category of Naturalism.

Content Note: R for sexual content and brief violence.

#83 An Inspector Calls (2015)

An Inspector Calls Promo image
David Thewlis as Inspector Goole. Photo: BBC.

Why You Should Watch: Based on a play, this adaptation has a gothic feel with low-key lighting and a touch of the supernatural. It’s also quite brilliant—a must-see movie.

Content Note: TV-PG

#84 Interview with the Vampire (1994)

interview with the vampire publicity photo - gothic romance movie
Photo: Warner Bros

Why You Should Watch: The gothic novel by Anne Rice was made into a gothic horror-romance film with Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst, Antonio Banderas, Stephen Rea, Christian Slater…

It’s hauntingly beautiful and sensual.

Content Note: Rated R for violent content and nudity.

#85 The Irregulars (2021 TV Series)

The Irregulars Netflix poster

Why You Should Watch: It’s a fun urban fantasy series with gothic elements and some romance set in Victorian times about a group of misfits investigating supernatural crimes for Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

Content Note: TV-14

#86-88 Jamaica Inn Adaptations

jamaica inn photo - gothic romance tv series
Photo: BBC

Why You Should Watch: If you love Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, then you should also love the various adaptations of her other gothic novel, Jamaica Inn. My favorite of the three is the 2014 adaptation, partly due to the fabulous cast, including Downton Abbey’s Jessica Brown Findlay and Lark Rise to Candleford’s Matthew McNulty.

Content Note: The 1983 and 2014 adaptations are TV-14-like due to sensuality and violence.

#89-96 Jane Eyre Adaptations

Jane Eyre adaptations - gothic romance movies and TV shows

Why You Should Watch: If you love gothic romance, then likely you’re familiar with the famous story of the orphan Jane Eyre! If not, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is up there with the best. 

There are many adaptations of Jane Eyre, so I decided to include the top eight.

  • (1943) Jane Eyre
  • (1970) Jane Eyre
  • (1973) Jane Eyre
  • (1983) Jane Eyre
  • (1996) Jane Eyre
  • (1997) Jane Eyre
  • (2006) Jane Eyre
  • (2011) Jane Eyre

Content Note: Ratings vary for each adaptation, though none of them are more than PG-13.

#97 Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (2015)

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell photo
Photo: BBC

Why You Should Watch: Byronic Heroes, Gothic Romanticism, and even the supernatural… what’s not to love about this miniseries adaptation of the popular novel?

Content Note: TV-14 for nudity.

#98 A Korean Odyssey (2017)

A Korean Odyssey - Lovable Rogues
PHOTO: tvN

Why You Should Watch: Journey into this surreal gothic fantasy series about a young woman who can see ghosts! It’s part horror, romance, comedy, and a very entertaining show with period flashbacks.

Content Note: TV-14 for some violence and brief sexuality.

#99 Lady Audley’s Secret (2000)

Lady Audley's Secret - gothic romance movie
Photo: Warner Sisters

Why You Should Watch: An entertaining historical mystery with a talented British cast (including a young Jamie Bamber) based on the 1862 sensation novel, there are enough gothic elements to include this one on the list!

Content Note: Not rated but PG-like.

#100 The Lady Vanishes (2013)

the lady vanishes promo photo
Photo: BBC

Why You Should Watch:  This period thriller with gothic components is a delightful homage to films from the 1930s and has an accomplished cast including Tuppence Middleton, Tom Hughes, Gemma Jones, Keeley Hawes…Fans of Rebecca and Rear Window will like this one. 

Content Note: TV-PG

#101 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)

the league of extraordinary gentlemen photo
Photo: 20th Century Fox

Why You Should Watch: It’s gothic fun with great production design and costumes, not to mention Sean Connery as Allan Quatermain! It’s a silly film overall, but the abundance of characters from gothic novels make it an entertaining watch if you don’t take it too seriously.

Content Note: Rated PG-13 for fantasy violence, language, and innuendo.

#102 Legacies (2018)

legacies tv show promo photo
Photo: CW

Why You Should Watch: This spinoff of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals takes place in the gothic Salvatore mansion. And while it is set in the future, there are period flashbacks, lots of gothic storytelling, and characters influenced by gothic novels. It’s a witty, well-written teen show adults will also enjoy.

Content Note: TV-14 for fantasy violence and sensuality.

#103 Let the Right One In (2008)

let the right one in poster

Why You Should Watch: If you love gothic literature and horror, then you should like the Swedish artistic film, Let the Right One In, about a gothic romance between a young boy and a vampire girl! It’s set in the 1980s, so it’s technically a period drama.

Content Note: Rated R for graphic violence.

#104 The Limehouse Golem (2016)

the limehouse golem publicity photo
Photo: Lionsgate

Why You Should Watch: This gothic mystery with Jack the Ripper-like murders has fascinating characters and a wonderful gothic atmosphere. Plus, it stars Bill Nighy and other period drama favorites like Douglas Booth, Olivia Cooke, and Sam Reid!

Content Note: Rated R for violence, sexuality, and nudity.

#105 The Little Stranger (2018)

The-Little-Stranger promo photo
Photo: Pathé/20th Century Fox

Why You Should Watch: This gothic ghost story is a period drama that’s more chilling than gory. But there are enough gothic elements to make it an appealing watch…especially since Ruth Wilson and Domhnall Gleeson star.

Content Note: Rated R for disturbing images.

#106 The Living and the Dead (2016)

The Living and the Dead Promo photo
Photo: BBC

Why You Should Watch: This BBC supernatural series will both frighten and intrigue. With romance and engaging drama, it’s a great show that the BBC canceled too soon.

Content Note: TV-14

#107 The Making of a Lady (2012)

the making of a lady
Photo: ITV

Why You Should Watch: This lesser-known gothic romance is based on the classic sensation novel by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. A must-watch for fans of the genre.

Content Note: TV-PG

#108 The Man in Grey (1943)

the man in grey

Why You Should Watch: This is a fun gothic melodrama and incredibly entertaining to watch.

Content Note: NR but mild.

#109 Mary Reilly (1996)

mary reilly publicity photo - gothic romance movie
Photo: TriStar/Sony Pictures Releasing

Why You Should Watch: This gothic romance is worth watching for Julia Roberts’ underrated performance. While flawed, it’s still an engaging gothic film with a brilliant cast.

Content Note: Rated R for some violence.

#110 Mary Shelley (2017)

mary shelley photo - gothic romance movie
Photo: IFC Films

Why You Should Watch: Mary Shelley takes front and center in this gorgeous period drama about the life of the famous author who created Frankenstein.

Content Note: PG-13 for sensuality and substance abuse.

#111 Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)

frankenstein photo - gothic romance movie
Photo: TriStar Pictures

Why You Should Watch: Fans of classic gothic romance literature will love this take on Frankenstein. It’s beautifully made and features brilliant acting all around. Kenneth Branagh directs.

Content Note: Rated R for horror images and violence.

#112 The Miniaturist (2017)

The Miniaturist, Romola Garai, BBC, Period Drama, Amsterdam
Photo: BBC

Why You Should Watch: The Miniaturist is a gothic-influenced period drama with a feminist twist. Set in 17th century Amsterdam, the story follows a young woman who has been married off to a wealthy merchant.

She is soon sent a gilded miniature replica of their house and begins to receive more items from her mysterious secret admirer. This gothic romance is worth watching for Anya-Taylor Joy’s performance alone. Romola Garai also stars.

Content Note: TV-14 but mild overall.

#113 Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

miss peregrine's home for peculiar children
Photo: 20th Century Fox

Why You Should Watch: This strange YA paranormal gothic fantasy film includes a unique story, a fabulous cast, and a sweet young-love romance.

Content Note: PG-13

#114 Miss Scarlet and the Duke (2020)

Miss Scarlet and the Duke publicity photo
Photo: Alibi/PBS

Why You Should Watch: This romantic mystery is set in Victorian times and follows a female private detective solving crimes with a Scottish Yard Inspector.

While it’s not technically a gothic period drama, it does have gothic elements – particularly in episodes like number four, “Memento Mori,” when Eliza solves a case connected to a Death Photographer.

It’s an excellent series with a slow-build romance everyone will root for!

Content Note: TV-14 for violence – but it’s mild.

#115 Moonlight (2007)

Mick and Coraline in Moonlight
Photos: CBS/Warner Bros

Why You Should Watch: While most of this gem of an urban fantasy series takes place in the modern-day, the historical flashbacks are captivating.

This romantic vampire series tells of a Beauty and the Beast story of a private detective vampire (and Byronic Hero) who falls in love with a human woman. A personal favorite.

Content Note: Ranges from TV-PG to TV-14.

#116-117 The Moonstone Adaptations (1997 & 2016)

the moonstone adaptations

Why You Should Watch: With gothic elements, both of these adaptations are engaging interpretations of Wilkie Collins’ classic detective novel.

Content Note: TV-PG

#118-119 The Mummy & The Mummy Returns (1999 & 2001)

The Mummy Returns
Photo: Universal Studios

Why You Should Watch: The Mummy movies are a great choice if you’re in the mood for romantic horror/comedy.

There’s some fabulous paranormal romance in these big-budget blockbusters with some gothic romance moments. Also, see the 1932 adaptation.

Content Note: PG-13

#120-121 My Cousin Rachel (1952 & 2017)

My Cousin Rachel adaptations - gothic romance movies
Photo: 20th Century Fox/Fox Searchlight Pictures

Why You Should Watch: If you’re a fan of gothic romance, then both adaptations of My Cousin Rachel are must-see period dramas. My Cousin Rachel is based on the novel by the famous author (and gothic romance expert) Daphne du Maurier.

Content Note: The new film is PG-13.

#122 The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (2012)

mystery of a hansom cab photo
Photo: Burberry Productions/ABC

Why You Should Watch: While not a full-blown gothic, this Victorian murder mystery uses filmmaking techniques that bring out some of the gothic qualities of the story.

And if you enjoy a mystery with a touch of romance, then this Australian film should catch your interest!

Content Note: There is brief nudity as well as non-explicit violence connected to a murder.

#123 The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2012 Mini-Series)

The mystery of edwin drood photo
Photo: BBC

Why You Should Watch: With great acting (starring Matthew Rhys) and fantastic production quality, fans of Dickens and gothic romance will love this lesser-known adaptation of Dickens’s final novel.

(There is also a 1935 adaptation starring Claude Rains.)

Content Note: TV-PG

#124-125 Northanger Abbey Adaptations (1987 & 2007)

Northanger Abbey
Photo: ITV

Why You Should Watch: While I prefer the 2007 adaptation (JJ Feild and Felicity Jones are adorable), both adaptations of Jane Austen’s gothic romance are worth watching.

Plus, Mr. Tilney deserves more love as a Romantic Hero. Something is charming and lovable about him, and he often gets overlooked.

Content Note: PG

#126-131 Oliver Twist Adaptations

Oliver Twist BBC
Photo: BBC

Why You Should Watch: There are SO many adaptations of Oliver Twist (another gothic story from Dickens), many of them quite good. I’ve included some of the best. But know, there are more…many more.

  • (1948) Oliver Twist
  • (1968) Oliver!
  • (1997) Oliver Twist
  • (1999) Oliver Twist
  • (2005) Oliver Twist
  • (2007) Oliver Twist

Content Note: Overall, PG-like.

#132 Once Upon a Time (2011)

once upon a time hook and emma
Photo: ABC

Why You Should Watch: This fun fantasy series is all about romance and happily-ever-afters. And while it’s not entirely a gothic series, many episodes feature gothic plots like episodes about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or the period fantasy flashbacks about the Byronic Heroes, Rumplestiltskin, and Hook.

Content Note: TV-PG

#133 Ordeal by Innocence (2018)

Ordeal by Innocence
Photo: Mammoth Screen/BBC

Why You Should Watch: If you’re looking for a mystery, then Ordeal by Innocence is definitely for you. Starring Bill Nighy, the miniseries is a gothic adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel where family secrets are revealed after a murder.

This British miniseries has a fantastic cast and is entertaining despite some changes from the book.

Content Note: TV-MA for brief strong language and sexual references.

#134 The Originals (2013)

the originals marcel and rebekah
Photo: CW

Why You Should Watch: Yes, this TV show (a spinoff of The Vampire Diaries) mostly takes place in the modern-day; however, there are numerous backstories for the Original vampires in this underrated CW series. So, have fun exploring different time periods through the eyes of these villainous immortals and fall in love with the gothic romance and Modern Romanticism of the series.

Fans of the genre and Beauty and the Beast stories will especially appreciate the romances between Klaus/Cami, Hayley/Elijah, and Marcel/Rebekah. This series is a must-see if you love Byronic Heroes, Shakespearean melodrama, paranormal romance, and Romanticism.

Content Note: TV-14 for fantasy violence and sensuality.

#135 The Others (2001)

The others 2001 photo with Nicole Kidman
Photo: StudioCanal

Why You Should Watch: The Others is an incredible gothic suspense ghost story with a touch of romance.

If you haven’t seen this great film, then you won’t want to miss it for the memorable performances, the jump out of your chair moments, and especially the perfectly chilling twist ending. Nicole Kidman is simply sublime.

Content Note: PG-13 for frightening scenes.

#137 Penny Dreadful (2014) 

Penny Dreadful episode still
Photo: Showtime

Why You Should Watch: Penny Dreadful is an amazing gothic horror series that blends elements of gothic literature like Frankenstein, Dracula, and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde with new characters like Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) and Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton). It’s thrilling, action-packed, romantic, and just plain fantastic!

One of the best gothic series ever. While the series is explicit, the storytelling is masterful.

Content Note: TV-MA for gory, disturbing violence and sex & nudity.

#138-139 Phantom of the Opera Adaptations (1925 & 2004)

The Phantom of the Opera (2004) Gothic Romance Movie
Photo: Warner Bros.

Why You Should Watch: Both of these adaptations (there are others) of the classic novel by French novelist Gaston Leroux are worth watching. The silent film is classic horror at its best.

However, I have a soft spot for the adaptation of the Broadway musical. The gorgeous costumes, infectious tunes, and twisted Beauty and the Beast story make it one of my go-to gothic romance period dramas.

Content Note: The silent film is unrated (not explicit), and the musical version is PG-13.

#140 Phantom of the Theatre (2016)

Phantom of the Theatre
Photo: Bona Film Group/ Huaxia Film Distribution

Why You Should Watch: This Chinese gothic paranormal romance is absolutely gorgeous. While imperfect, you won’t want to miss this beautiful ghost film with a memorable romance and fantastic production design.

Content Note: While unrated, the film would likely be PG-13.

#142 The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

Pit and the Pendulum

Why You Should Watch: Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s Gothic story, Pit and the Pendulum is campy gothic horror starring Vincent Price. A must-see for those who love the classic horror films of the ’60s. 

Content Note: Unrated but includes campy violence and implied sexuality.

#143 The Prestige (2006)

the prestige photo
Photo: Buena Vista/Warner Bros

Why You Should Watch: While not technically a gothic romance, there are enough gothic elements to include it on the list. If you love the cast (Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Scarlett Johansson, and Rebecca Hall), magic, and historical mystery, you should enjoy this darker period drama.

Content Note: PG-13

#144 Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

pride and prejudice and zombies dancing photo - gothic romance movies
Photo: Sony Pictures

Why You Should Watch: This is Pride and Prejudice as a gothic romance mixed with zombies! Not for every Jane Austen fan, but still great romantic fun if you enjoy paranormal romance and don’t mind a supernatural twist on the classic story. I loved it.

Content Note: PG-13

#145 Queen of the Damned (2002)

queen of the damned photo
Photo: Warner Bros

Why You Should Watch: While gothic romance is not the focus (the gothic elements are used to enhance the film’s gothic atmosphere), Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles gets a Hollywood gothic-style adaptation in this vampire horror epic that also includes a splash of paranormal romance and period flashbacks. Aaliyah stars.

Content Note: Rated R for vampire violence.

#146 Quills (2000)

quills photo with Kate Winslet
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Why You Should Watch: A gothic period biopic, Quills tells the story behind the Marquis de Sade’s incarceration in an insane asylum. Starring Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix, and Michael Caine.

Content Note: Rated R for disturbing sexuality & violence. So, only watch this one if you’re okay with explicit content.

#147 The Raven (2012)

the raven publicity photo
Photo: Relativity Media

Why You Should Watch: This gothic thriller is loosely based on the Edgar Allan Poe poem, “The Raven.” John Cusack stars as Poe as he partners with a detective trying to solve a series of murders inspired by Poe’s stories.

With plenty of gothic elements and some romance, it’s worth watching if you like crime stories.

Content Note: R for violence and some language.

#148-149 Rebecca (1997 & 2020)

Rebecca 1997 poster

Why You Should Watch the 1997 Adaptation: While it’s not as good as the 1940 Hitchcock adaptation (technically not a period drama), this 1997 miniseries is still an excellent adaptation of the famous gothic suspense novel.

The story of the young Mrs. De Winter, who moves into a large estate, only to be haunted by the memory of her husband Maxim’s first wife, is unforgettable. A real treat for fans of Byronic Heroes and stories similar to Jane Eyre.

Content Note: The 1997 adaptation claims to be TV-PG, but one of the episodes includes nudity with an implied sex scene.

Why You Should Watch the 2020 Adaptation: This version doesn’t quite capture the novel’s essence, but it has an excellent cast with gorgeous costumes and production design. Gothic romance movie fans are sure to enjoy this stylish film despite its flaws. Period drama darling Lily James stars.

Content Note: PG-13 for sensuality and suspense.

#150 Rowing with the Wind (1988)

rowing with the wind photo
Photo: Ditirambo Films

Why You Should Watch: Rowing With the Wind is an unusual period drama about the famous summer of 1816 when Lord Byron challenged each of his friends to write a gothic horror story. This movie puts a twist on the historical event by having Mary Shelley believe Frankenstein is real.

Content Note: R for brief nudity.

#151 Salem (2014)

salem tv show photo - gothic romance tv show
Photo: 20th Television

Why You Should Watch: This gothic romance period drama is a loose adaptation of the actual events in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. It has beautiful sets and costumes, a strong cast, and an intriguing premise.

Content Note: TV-MA for violence, disturbing thematic content, and some sexuality.

#152 Sanctuary (2008)

sanctuary publicity photo of Helen
Photo: Syfy

Why You Should Watch: While this gothic urban fantasy TV series primarily takes place in the present day, the backstory and flashback episodes are fantastic – all of which lead to what’s happening in the present.

The love triangle between the immortal (and one of the best female characters ever) Dr. Helen Magnus, the snarky vampire Tesla (who has the best lines in the series), and Jack the Ripper (yes, Jack the Ripper…) is fabulous. It’s the ultimate Byronic Hero love triangle.

Content Note: TV-14 for fantasy violence.

#153 Scholar Who Walks the Night (2015)

Scholar Who Walks the Night poster

Why You Should Watch: This historical paranormal romance series about a scholar vampire and a human girl is simply addicting to watch and absolutely wonderful.

Scholar Who Walks the Night is a must-see series with swoon-worthy scenes, a perfectly evil Byronic villain straight from a gothic novel, and great performances.

Content Note: TV-14-like for fantasy violence and sensuality.

#154-158 The Secret Garden Adaptations

The Secret Garden 1993 photo in the garden
Photo: Warner Bros.

Why You Should Watch: There have been quite a few adaptations of this beloved children’s novel, so I included my personal favorites.

Steeped in Romanticism with hints of romance, the tale of a young orphan girl and her discovery of a secret garden is the perfect family-friendly introduction to gothic stories.

  • (1949) The Secret Garden 
  • (1975) The Secret Garden 
  • (1987) The Secret Garden 
  • (1993) The Secret Garden 
  • (2020) The Secret Garden 

Content Note: G/PG

#159-160 A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004 & 2017)

A Series of Unfortunate Events movie still
Photo: Paramount Pictures

Why You Should Watch: Both adaptations are fantastic and full of gothic fun for the whole family. The new Netflix adaptation is clever and witty with some romance too. And while there’s no specific time period presented, both feel like period dramas.

Content Note: PG

#161 Shadowhunters (2016)

Shadowhunters publicity photo
Photo: Freeform

Why You Should Watch: This gothic paranormal romance series follows a young human girl who, after the mysterious death of her mother, discovers she’s a shadowhunter and is then thrust into an angel-demon war. She teams up with a group of young shadowhunters to try and save the city.

Like some other urban fantasy shows on this list, Shadowhunters mostly takes place in the modern-day but incorporates historical flashbacks into the story – especially with the immortal Magnus Bane character. Gothic romance fans should love this show as it has lots of Byronic Heroes and a gothic setting.

Content Note: TV-14 for fantasy violence and sensuality.

#162 The Shape of Water (2017)

the shape of water photo
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Why You Should Watch: While not technically gothic, this romantic period fantasy showcases Guillermo del Toro’s signature gothic style.

Sally Hawkins plays a mute janitor who falls in love with an amphibian humanoid sea creature held captive at a secret government facility where she works during the Cold War. It won four Oscars.

Content Note: R for sexual content, nudity, violence, and language.

#163 Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (2016)

Sherlock The Abominable Bride
Photo: BBC

Why You Should Watch: If you love the popular BBC series, Sherlock, then you’ll love this period drama episode – a la gothic historical mystery style.

Content Note: TV-14

#164 Shutter Island (2010)

shutter island promo photo with Leonardo Dicaprio
Photo: Paramount Pictures

Why You Should Watch: If you’re looking for gothic horror, this psychological thriller with gothic elements starring Leonardo DiCaprio is a great choice.

Content Note: R for disturbing violence and language.

#165-166 Sleepy Hollow (1999 & 2013)

sleepy hollow 1999 photo
Photo: Paramount Pictures

Why You Should Watch: Both adaptations of the famous tale are entertaining to watch. One is a gothic romance period drama from Tim Burton and the other a gothic urban fantasy series (with time travel and historical flashbacks) that follows Ichabod Crane as he’s resurrected and thrown into the modern world to partner up with a female cop to battle evil forces.

Content Note: The 1999 version is R for graphic violence and sexuality, while the TV show is TV-14 for fantasy violence (much milder).

#167 Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

Snow White and the Huntsman promotional art
Photo: Universal

Why You Should Watch: Surprisingly, this romantic fairy tale film does take place in this world and not a fantasy one. According to an interview with the Director, the film takes place in 1480 during the Middle Ages.

That said, this gothic fairy tale is a fun watch and incredibly worth it for the implied romance between Snow White and the Byronic Huntsman.

Content Note: PG-13

#168 Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997)

Snow White A Tale of Terror promo photo
Photo: Gramercy Pictures

Why You Should Watch: This underrated fairy tale adaptation is fantastic. It’s gothic, original and full of romance. If you enjoy the horror elements of the original fairy tales, then you’ll appreciate this dark version of Snow White.

Content Note: R for violence and sexual references.

#169 The Spiral Staircase (1946)

the spiral staircase

Why You Should Watch: It’s a Victorian gothic thriller that’s one of the best in the genre.

Content Note: NR

#170 Stonehearst Asylum (2014)

Stonehearst Asylum photo
Photo: Millennium Entertainment

 Why You Should Watch: This gothic romance period drama is a must-see film starring Kate Beckinsale based on an Edgar Allen Poe story!

Content Note: PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, sexual content, and language.

#171 Stranger Things (2016)

stranger things publicity photo
Photo: Netflix

Why You Should Watch: If you’re one of the few that hasn’t watched this supernatural horror series with gothic elements, then you definitely should! It’s a great series with nostalgic throwbacks to the ’80s as well as memorable performances.

You’ll also enjoy the young paranormal romance love story between Eleven and Mike.

Content Note: TV-14 for frightening sequences, violence, and language.

#172 Sweeney Todd (2007)

sweeney todd promo photo
Photo: Paramount Pictures

Why You Should Watch: If gothic horror is what you seek, this musical thriller with dark romance elements has it in spades!

Content Note: R for graphic violence.

#173 The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1996)

Tenant of wildfell hall TV miniseries

Why You Should Watch: Anne Brontë may have been the most revolutionary of the Brontë sisters by depicting a woman’s escape from abuse.

While this isn’t as “gothic” as Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, there are certainly elements of the gothic in this classic story – including the depiction of a tyrannical rake.

This adaptation is fantastic and includes a tremendous cast, including a young Toby Stephens.

Content Note: TV-14

#174 And Then There Were None (2015 Mini-series)

and then there were none promo cast photo
And Then There Were None. Photo: BBC/Acorn TV

Why You Should Watch:  One of Agatha Christie’s darker mysteries, this newer adaptation includes an all-star cast such as Poldark’s Aidan Turner, Jane Eyre’s Toby Stephens, and more. A gothic whodunit miniseries with a twist of romance that leaves you guessing until the end.

RELATED And Then There Were None (2015) – Agatha Christie’s Dark and Mysterious Miniseries

Content Note: TV-14/TV-MA for disturbing images, gory deaths, and some language.

#175 The Thirteenth Tale (2013)

The Thirteenth Tale adaptation photo
Photo: BBC

 Why You Should Watch: This lesser-known TV movie is a fabulous gothic story based on a popular novel. It also has a fantastic cast, including Olivia Colman, Vanessa Redgrave, and Sophie Turner.

Content Note: NR but covers topics like incest, murder, and suicide.

#176 To Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters (2016)

To Walk Invisible Bronte sisters
Photo: BBC

 Why You Should Watch: A brilliant look behind the talented sisters who brought us some of the greatest novels (many that were gothic) ever written. The performances are excellent.

Content Note: TV-PG to TV-MA depending on which version you watch. The unedited version includes brief strong language and a scene of sexuality.

#177 The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)

The Tomb of Ligeia photo

Why You Should Watch: Gothic horror classics are always worth watching when Vincent Price stars!

Content Note: NR but would likely be PG-13 for violence.

#178 True Blood (2008)

True Blood's Eric and Sookie in promo photo
Photo: HBO

Why You Should Watch: True Blood is an American paranormal romance series based on Charlaine Harris’s The Southern Vampire Mystery novels, about humans and vampires co-existing in the fictional town of Bon Temps, Louisiana.

In this gothic romance show, there’s a love triangle between Eric, Sookie, and Bill. Eric is clearly drawn as a Byronic hero: he can be cruel and dangerous but ultimately goodhearted. Bill is the enigmatic vampire trying to transform into a better man for Sookie and is also Byronic.

On the other hand, Sookie is drawn as both victim (when attacked) and heroine (in the gothic style). The show is often darkly atmospheric and does include historical flashbacks. Warning: The series finale is up there with being one of the worst finales of all time.

Content Note: TV-MA for gory violence, sexuality, and language. It is way too explicit, in my opinion, with too much violence against women, and I personally only watched for the love triangle.

#179-181 Turn of the Screw Adaptations

the innocents photo
The Innocents. Photo: 20th Century Fox

Why You Should Watch: All three of these adaptations are worth watching for different reasons! Based on the gothic Henry James novel, the story is full of mystery and suspense.

While The Innocents is probably the “best” of the three, the other two films boast casts, including Colin Firth, Michelle Dockery, and Dan Stevens.

  • The Innocents (1961)
  • Turn of the Screw (1999) – Colin Firth has a small role in this film!
  • Turn of the Screw (2009)

Content Note: All three are NR but include frightening sequences and disturbing thematic content.

#182 The Vampire Diaries (2009)

the vampire diaries katherine and stefan - gothic romance TV shows
Photo: CW

 Why You Should Watch: This popular paranormal romance series (with gothic elements) mainly takes place in the present day but includes frequent flashbacks to past time periods – mostly The Civil War era.

However, you’ll want to watch the show for the romance and numerous Byronic Heroes/Villains! There’s a couple for everyone to root for.

Content Note: TV-14 for violence and sensuality.

#183 Van Helsing (2004)

Van Helsing photo - gothic romance movies
Photo: Universal

Why You Should Watch: It’s good, campy fun that happens to star Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale.

Content Note: PG-13 for fantasy violence and sensuality.

#184 Victor Frankenstein (2015)

Victor Frankenstein movie photo - gothic romance movies
Photo: 20th Century Fox

Why You Should Watch: It’s a fun gothic romance that stars James McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe, and Jessica Brown Findlay.

Content Note: PG-13 for violence and disturbing images.

#185 The Village (2004)

the village 2004 photo
Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix) and Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard) in The Village. Photo: Touchstone Pictures

Why You Should Watch: SPOILERS! DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU’VE SEEN THE FILM. Okay, technically, this film’s not a period drama – though it is a costume drama! But it feels and looks like one. And if you recognize the movie as a gothic romance, you’ll see just how brilliant The Village is.

In recent years, more and more people have come to recognize why the movie is much better than people gave it credit for in the past! So, give it a re-watch with an open mind!

RELATED | Defending M Night Shyamalan’s The Village

Content Note: PG-13

#186 Voice from the Stone (2017)

voice from the stone promo image
Photo: Zanuck Independent/Code 39 Films/Producer Capital Fund

Why You Should Watch: The gothic film with a touch of romance tells the story of Verena, an American nurse hired as a governess by a grieving father to look after his mute young son.

Set in 1950s Tuscany, the film is gothic and mysterious – but above all, it’s just very atmospheric.

Content Note: R for some sexuality, nudity.

#187 We Have Always Lived in the Castle (2018)

we have always lived in the castle photo
Photo: Brainstorm Media

Why You Should Watch: Based on Shirley Jackson’s final novel, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a gothic psychological thriller about an isolated family fractured by suspicion and paranoia. It’s a decent adaptation with a strong cast.

Content Note: NR but would probably be PG-13.

#188 Winchester (2018)

winchester promo photo with Helen Mirren - gothic films
Photo: CBS Films

Why You Should Watch: It’s a gothic mystery/horror based loosely on the true story of Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester fortune, and the woman who created The Winchester Mystery House. The film stars Helen Mirren.

Content Note: PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, and language

#189-190 The Woman in Black Adaptations (1989 & 2012)

the woman in black photo
Photo: CBS Films

Why You Should Watch: These films are authentic gothic period dramas – though they lean on the horror side of the genre.

  • The Woman in Black (1989)
  • The Woman in Black (2012)

Content Note: The 1989 adaptation is NR but mild – though it can be frightening. The 2012 adaptation is PG-13 for violent/disturbing images.

#191-193 The Woman in White Adaptations

The Woman in White (2018) Review – A Mystery Shrouded in Darkness
Credit: Courtesy of The Woman in White Productions Ltd. / Steffan Hill / Origin Pictures

Why You Should Watch: Based on one of the first detective gothic novels by Wilkie Collins, all three of these adaptations are worth watching.

There are elements of the gothic with mystery, romance, and memorable actors. You can also check out the 1948 adaptation.

#194-198 Wuthering Heights Adaptations

Wuthering Heights adaptations - gothic romance movies

Why You Should Watch: While there has yet to be a “definitive” adaptation of the novel (can we PLEASE get an adaptation starring Aidan Turner?), this classic gothic story is one of the best of all time. The five adaptations below all have great things about them.

  • (1939) Wuthering Heights 
  • (1970) Wuthering Heights
  • (1992) Wuthering Heights 
  • (1998) Wuthering Heights 
  • (2009) Wuthering Heights 

Content Note: The 2009 adaptation includes a couple of scenes of sexuality.

#199 The Wyvern Mystery (2000)

The Wyvern Mystery - gothic romance movie
Photo: BBC

Why You Should Watch: If you enjoy mystery, you’ll likely enjoy this lesser-known gothic period drama. It stars a young Naomi Watts and is beautifully filmed.

Content Note: NR but would likely be TV-14 for sexuality and violence.

#200 Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)

Young Sherlock Holmes
Photo: Paramount Pictures

Why You Should Watch: If you like Sherlock Holmes, then you’ll enjoy this movie and its gothic atmosphere!

Content Note: PG-13

So, what are your favorite gothic romance movies and gothic period dramas? Sound off below. And if we left any off the list, let us know! We’re always looking for new recommendations to add to our list of the best gothic romance period dramas in film and television!


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By on October 29th, 2021

About Amber Topping

Amber works as a blogger/writer full-time and fell in love with stories and imagination at an early age. She has a Humanities and Film Degree from BYU, co-created The Silver Petticoat Review, contributed as a writer to various magazines, and has an MS in Publishing from Pace University, where she received the Publishing Award of Excellence and wrote her thesis on transmedia, Jane Austen, and the romance genre. Her ultimate dreams are publishing books, writing and producing movies, traveling around the world, and forming a creative village of talented storytellers trying to change the world through art.

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