Daily Archives: September 28, 2013

Gothic WHO

Gothic novels have formed a part of horror and science fiction literary exploration from the 18th century onwards.

While one of the strengths of Doctor who is that it can flip styles and genres on a dime, Gothic is one of the more popular and more frequent.

Yes, the Phillip Hinchcliffe and Robert Holmes “Gothic Era” of Seasons 13 & 14 was the heyday. But it has done it before and since.

1965’s The Rescue, Koquillion is kind of Jekyll & Hyde character and his is a very Gothic downfall, the return of the repressed., but you really go Jekyll and Hyde in the The Planet of Evil.

The Cybermen, have that gothic horror feel at the beginning because they are people who were stitched together with replacement parts until they become Frankenstein’s Monster in a sense, but The Brain of Morbius will out do them in spades 2 decades later.

Fear Her, Decades later, I must say one of my least favorite episodes of the relaunch, has elements of it in the father who is both father and demon in the closet and it all comes from the mind of a child. The horror of the being in the closet and the romance of Dad and husband who passed.

The Daemons, During Pertwee’s run is not only a classic of Doctor Who but with the occult, the vicar, demons, witchcraft and all the trappings it’s very Gothic. Jo wanting to sacrifice herself for her love, The Doctor and so on.

The Ark in Space, The claustrophobia, the horror, the possession, the love Vira has for Noah and Noah has for humanity in the end, etc.

But it is Season 13 & 14 where you have the peak of “scaring the kiddies” with Victorian Gothic horror.

Pretty much everything left got thrown in: walking mummies in Pyramids of Mars, Vengeful Gods, underground labyrinths in The Deadly Assassin, all of The Talons of Weng-Chiang is even set in Victorian London and The Doctor and Leela even dress for the part. The Masque of Red Death, Frankenstein- Brain of Morbius. A Witch coven also in Brain of Morbius acts as the “villagers” who eventually chase down and kill the Monster, with torches in hand even!

And then there’s the Seeds of Doom, which the Doctor Who remake of The Thing (or Day of the Triffiids if you like).

But The Brain of Morbius out does them all, with Frankenstein, stitched up monster an all. “Chop Suey the Galactic Emperor” as The Fourth Doctor mocked.

You even have the blind girl, in Sarah Jane.

But it’s a bloody good episode none the less!

The most Gothic of the re-launch is undoubtedly The Crimson Horror. Like Talons it’s even set in the Victorian time period.

With allusion to Sherlock Holmes, death bodies, possessions, horror, A Mother and Daughter who love and hate each other, etc. (played by a real mother and daughter!).

Caves of Androzani is in effect Phantom of The Opera in space, done by the master of Gothic style Doctor Who, Robert Holmes.

But one that you may not think of, Revelation of The Daleks. The galaxy is starving and the Great Healer has come to save you all. Only problem is that like Soylent Green the food source is people and the Great Healer is none other than Davros (but he’s only a head like Morbius was just a brain), the Creator of the Daleks.

But the episode has lots of very creepy characters, body horror, people becoming Daleks…

It becomes slightly more disturbing in a later scene where the in-process of conversion Dalek mutant is trying to speak with his daughter and then begins to change into a full Dalek. His voice becomes electronic and cries out a sentence about purity and dominance while at all times trying to battle against it; ultimately demanding his daughter to kill him.

Much like the horrific scene in Doomsday where Mrs. Hartman is converted and has this speech about the conversion process. Very dark and very creepy. Mirrors the Age of Steel also.

Everything I love about the Cybermen, and the body horror they represent. They are Gothic Horror combined with modern technology and fear.

Doctor Who has even done Vampires a couple of times.

State of Decay in the E-Space Trilogy of Tom Baker’s Doctor is the most obvious. But The Curse of Fenric has them to, and curses, possessions and a dark and creepy mystery with lots of secrets.

Vampires of Venice even has it in the title!

The Plasmavore in Smith & Jones.

The Weeping Angels is many ways are Gothic Statues but their episodes are not really very Gothic in nature.

Hide had haunted house genre but I wouldn’t call it Gothic, myself. But it does have overtones.

The Greatest Show in the Galaxy Has many of the elements of Gothic horror in also with the masks, the creepiness, the claustrophobia, fear, ancient gods and curses…

But you want a creepy Victorian Gothic house, ghosts, creepy maids and butlers and mysteries, curses and secrets, look no further than Ghost Light. A supremely gothic set tale.

Even the very first New Adventures Novel was Gothic.

“The time of humanity on this world has come to an end. The long night is starting. The age of the undead is upon us.”
So Doctor Who and Gothic go together like Chocolate and Peanut Butter and is always a fertile ground for stories.