OK, we know what you’re thinking: Disney and goths?! The two may not seem like obvious bedfellows but if you look for it there’s plenty of gothic in Disney’s films. As for the Happiest Place on Earth, have you seen the hearse parked in front of the Haunted Mansion? Disney wasn’t afraid of going over to the dark side long before they bought Star Wars.
In fact, the picture above (from Vice Magazine) was taken at last year’s Bats Day, a non-official goth gathering held annually at Disneyland California. Although the idea of hundreds of goths descending on Disneyland may seem a bit, well, batty at first you have to admit that their top hats and ballgowns certainly look more natural against the backdrop of castle spires than your typical shorts-and-t-shirt clad tourists (although, the same can’t be said for some of the other attractions: click on the Vice article for the surreal sight of goths riding teacups and queing at Toy Story Mania…)
Then of course, there’s the films themselves. Aside from the obvious (hello, Tim Burton – we’ll get to you in a second) Disney incorporates elements of literary gothic into many of its movies, from the enchanted castle in Beauty and the Beast and creepy forest in The Black Cauldron, to the villains themselves. And while not all Disney Villains are goths, per se, they all have the brooding, head to toe black thing pretty much down, especially Maleficent, from Sleeping Beauty (above). What with the black horns, floor-length cloak and pet raven (called Diablo), if Mal wasn’t so damn terrifying you could almost imagine her rocking out to a bit of Bauhaus.
And yes, then there’s Tim Burton. Disney continues to nurture its relationship with the reluctant goth icon, probably because Tim is always good for turning out a nice Halloween film to fill the October slate (not to mention that sales of Nightmare Before Christmas merch were probably responsible for keeping the studio afloat after John Carter). But while Jack Skellington-emblazened hoodies, headbands and handbags may appeal to goths, the film itself, dare we say it, is not really goth. Certainly not as much as Frankenweenie, Burton’s most recent stop-motion offering, which features a misunderstood brooding loner as the protganist and Winona Ryder voicing the raven-haired, stripey-socked goth next door, Elsa van Helsing (above).
Even Burton’s live-action remake of Alice in Wonderland featured more goths than Nightmare Before Christmas, namely in the form of Anne Hathaway’s White Witch. “But she’s dressed in white!” we hear you cry. True, but her pallid hue and all-white outfit teamed with dark nails, lips and eyebrows just makes her a White Goth, a lesser-known, sub-division of goth culture (you’ll also see one in the Vice article, above). Mind blown by the subversion of your expectations of goth culture? You may have just been goth-served.
But if you prefer your goths classic, check out these Disney Princesses, above, with a gothic make-over courtesy of HelleeTitch.
Whatever you decide to do today, may your World Goth Day be gloomy and dark!