It was hauntingly 👻 good

publishedabout 2 months ago
3 min read




It would seem I was the only person in the tri-city area who wasn’t at the movies to see Taylor’s concert on the big screen this past weekend.

In fact, so many people wanted to see The Eras Tour we had to drive to the next county over just to find a screen playing what we actually wanted to see, A Haunting in Venice.

So how was it, you ask? Well, it was hauntingly good of course. Okay, sorry, not sorry, for the pun there.

But seriously, it was excellent. You should totally go see it. And if you haven’t seen the two previous Hercule Poirot movies Murder on the Orient Express and Murder on the Nile, you’re missing out.

A Haunting in Venice is an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Hallowe'en Party and was a masterfully shot and brilliantly acted period piece. Seriously, Michele Yeoh is a treasure in literally every role they put her in and Tina Fey shines in this more serious leading role while still lending a dash of her signature snark.

And then there’s the most brilliant part of all—the seamless blending of genres. Because, unlike the two previous Poirot tales which were just Great Detective Mysteries, A Haunting in Venice combines Mystery, Supernatural Thriller, and Gothic Fiction (AKA Gothic Horror) into one story.

Not an easy feat at all.

And since we’re in the middle of spooky month you might be wondering…

What Exactly is Gothic Fiction?

Gothic Fiction tends to play on both the thrill and fear of the unknown and it places great importance on atmosphere. Essentially the atmosphere—the environment—almost becomes a character itself.

The second—but arguably most important thing—is loss. The Legendary Character (the POV character) has been/or must be dramatically cut off from their past, their lover, their family, or life itself during the story.

And, no longer able to make or have this connection between themselves and this thing/person they’ve lost, the Legendary Character goes to dangerous, taboo, or violent extremes to reestablish it in the story.

Essentially, Gothic Fiction is about the transgression of boundaries and the sometimes horrific consequences of crossing them.

But they’re not meant to be morality sermons. In fact, the Gothic stories of the past were considered extremely progressive for their times.

So it would be accurate to say that Gothic Fiction shows us the lines that our societies have drawn and then points out that they’re not as clear-cut as they may seem.

And knowing that, it might not surprise you that Gothic Fiction surges in narrative media during times of sociopolitical crises and anxiety. Particularly highlighting our fears about unchecked scientific experimentation & urbanization, the growth of the poor and working classes, and the erosion of tradition, gender roles & religion/faith.

So do you have a Gothic Fiction story brewing inside you waiting to be told, Reader?

Next week I’ll break down the 5 story elements you need to write your own Gothic Fiction but in the meantime here are…

5 More Movies to watch to get you in the mood to create some Gothic Fiction

Crimson Peak

Sleepy Hollow

The Woman in Black

The Pale Blue Eye

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

I hope this sparked your curiosity, Reader, and that I’ll see you here again next week when I continue our spooktacular series on Gothic Fiction.

Your cohort in storytelling,

Kat Vancil


PS 👉 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is right around the corner and so I’m going to be releasing an Outline in an Hour workshop. This workshop will be exactly what you need to go from “What do I write?” to a flexible outline roadmap.

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1179 West A Street, Suite 137, Hayward, CA 94541

I’m Kat! Professional Storyteller & Neurodivergent Creative

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