Sometimes we want a little romance in our horror movies. So, we turn to gothic films — both the classics and their contemporaries — for a fix of dark, dreamy, but no less scary escape and entertainment. Here's a rundown of some of our favorite gothic horror movies. — Sharon Knolle
A high-strung Victorian governess (Deborah Kerr) believes her two young charges are possessed by the ghosts of two former servants in The Innocents, a psychological adaptation of Henry James's "Turn of the Screw." Is she imagining things or are the children really under the spell of evil?
The brooding, massive, labyrinthine Hill House is a major character in the subtle horror classic The Haunting. Paranormal researchers, including sensitive, shy Eleanor (Julie Harris), slowly unravel as Hill House's many ghosts make their malevolent presence known. Avoid the terrible 1999 remake!
In the spooky Spanish film The Orphanage, a woman buys the orphanage where she grew up, intending to raise her sickly adopted son Simón and other handicapped children there. She's troubled when Simón makes an unseen friend, Tomás, and becomes inconsolable when Simón disappears.
In this Hammer classic, the House of Usher is a decaying Gothic mansion where morbidly oversensitive Roderick Usher (a blondeVincent Price) and invalid sister Madeleine (Myrna Fahey) linger under the supposed curse on the family.
Based on an H.P. Lovecraft story: The Haunted Palace stars Vincent Price as a man who inherits a palatial house from his great-great-grandfather, who he learns was burned to death by angry villagers. Soon, he begins to take on the sinister characteristics of his ancestor, to whom he bears a remarkable resemblance.
In Suspiria, Italian horror master Dario Argento's most dazzingly visual film, Jessica Harper plays Suzy, a new student at a German ballet school whose arrival coincides with the murder of another student. She soon learns the school is home to an ancient coven of witches.
As Gothic as romance gets, Charlotte Brontë's swooning tale Jane Eyre might not technically count as horror, but it does have a mad woman in the attic who likes to set fires. Orson Welles is perfect as the brooding Rochester, and Joan Fontaine makes a sympathetic Jane Eyre.
Set in the aftermath of World War I, The Awakening follows Florence (Rebecca Hall), a woman who works to debunk supernatural hoaxes. But during an investigation at an boarding school, where a ghost is blamed for a boy's death, she can't explain away the strange occurrences.
Set after World War II, The Others relates the story of a widow (Nicole Kidman) who takes her two children to a remote country house in England. She is vigiliant about protecting them from the sun, to which they are deathly allergic. The house has its secrets, and she's not sure she can trust her creepy Irish housekeeper (Fionnula Flanagan).
The Hound of the Baskervilles In this version of The Hound of the Baskervilles, Peter Cushing stars as Sherlock Holmes, and Christopher Lee is Sir Henry Baskerville, who is under the curse that's claimed the rest of his bloodline: death by an unearthly black dog who roams the moors. It's one of many classic movies from horror specialists Hammer Films, the revered British production company that was founded in 1934 and recently relaunched in 2007.