I was walking in the mall the other day when I noticed Hot Topic was having its 25th anniversary. Had it really been two and half decades since I first started thinking horribly depraved things about its staff of part-time Suicide Girls? Apparently, it had. But in reality, I've been fascinated by darkly different women my entire life. Certain women came off the screen and spoke to me before I even had a distinct concept of sex or sexuality.
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A few years ago, Nathan Rabin coined the phrase "manic pixie dream girl" to describe the spate of quirky, unrealistic female characters that were dominating (and continue to dominate) scripts often drafted by men who have no true conception of women. Why do I mention that? No good reason actually, because I'll be doing no such thing here. No such consistent analysis is possible for the goth women of cinema. Yes, there have always been darkly sexual women on film, and it doesn't matter what you call them -- goth, punk, emo, bohemian-- they are the alternative to conventional beauty and charm. Still you can't group them all under one heading like "manic pixie dream girls," because they are more of an inkblot. Their ever-changing appeal depends on the viewer.
Are you impressed? Did you like that analysis? Good, because if it's alright with you, I'd like to now follow my personal timeline, counting off, chronologically, the goth chicks that drove me to distraction from birth to today, along with an analysis of their special appeal.
#5. The Wicked Queen From Snow White
So I guess it started here when I was about three or four. It's like the old Woody Allen joke from Annie Hall where he says all the little boys fall for Snow White, but he was instantly attracted the evil Queen:
But that always made sense to me. Yes, you'd have to agree that the Queen (in her non-crone form) is stunningly attractive. Big eyes, high cheek bones, defined lips, and seemingly a killer bod underneath all those black capes. But even if you overlook that she's murderous and cruel and, y'know, evil, there's another reason she's hot.
What's the Attraction?
The key to lusting after the Queen lies in rejecting Snow White. Sure that magic mirror says Snow White's the fairest of them all, but clearly that mirror is a silly nancyboy/pedophile, because Snow White is bland and frightened and, most of all, very much a child. She's a cute little girl. Sweet and unassuming, and with a big round face like a baby's. The Queen is a woman. The question is what speaks more to your sexuality: women or girls? Are you the type of guy who hits on the Vampiress on Halloween or the Sexy Girl Scout? Yes, the freak is YOU. You're the pervert here (Weirdo).
"Who's the fairest again, you twisted magic mirror pedo?"
#4. Catwoman From Batman
I don't know about you, but when I was about five or six, they used to show reruns of the old Batman TV show from the '60s on syndicated television. I was too young to realize how campy it was and how much it sucked. To me, it was just a superhero show I loved, one in which people got beat up a lot. But even though I was too young to appreciate its complete lack of quality dialogue or dramatic structure, I apparently wasn't too young to respond to the incredibly sexy BDSM vibe of Julie Newmar's Catwoman.
What's the Attraction?
Although not specifically stated, it's pretty clear that Newmar's Catwoman is a dominatrix. She dresses in black leather, likes tying dudes up as captives, and has a bunch of men minions to do her bidding. Newmar took an active role in designing her own costume to accentuate her long legs and tiny waist. She knew what she was doing. And also like a dominatrix, she seems to be engaging in all the bad behavior solely for her sub -- in this case, Batman. All her acting out, all her schemes, all this crime, is ultimately just to let Batman be the hero, which is the only way a guy like Adam West's Batman is really going to get off. There's no question that Newmar's sexy. The only question is: why was I responding to it at five years old?
Pictured above: 80-year-old Julie Newmar looking fantastic and responding to me informing her she was my first real crush at five years old (Also, my face appears to have been flattened with a shovel moments before this picture was taken).
#3. Lydia Deetz From Beetlejuice
Well, I got older, and as everyone except Cracked's own Felix Clay does, I went through puberty. And that was around the time Beetlejuice came out. Now, I was never into Winona Ryder, or even that movie really, but any list of gothy ladies of cinema would have to include this character.
Of course, the youngsters in the audience might know Ms. Ryder better from the nine seconds she was on film in Star Trek.
What's the Attraction?
Well, here's the interesting thing about Ryder's character in Beetlejuice. She's kind of a mix of the Queen from Snow White and Snow White herself. I mean, like the Queen, she's all in black and clearly rejects the kind of charming girl-next-door cutesiness of Snow White. But while the Queen or Catwoman would eat you alive, she's tiny and frail. She couldn't lash out with anything more than an eye roll. So she's like a happy medium for guys who want that dark dangerous chick, but are huge wussies frightened by grown women.