Ravens, filigree, coal smoke, pocketwatches, and lots of brass fittings
March 5, 2014 7:28 PM   Subscribe

Moviefilter: I love the imagery and atmosphere of Victorian fantasy. I don't (necessarily) mean stories that were written in the Victorian era, but rather stories which are set in the Victorian era (or in an imaginary analog of it). The genre I'm thinking of tends to have a certain mythologized and aestheticized vision of the era: melancholy, mysterious, perhaps a bit of Gothic horror or the supernatural—i.e., not necessarily a realistic period piece. Wikipedia's entry on gaslamp fantasy is suggestive. (For the record, I am emphatically not talking about romance or novel-of-manners stuff.) Now: are there any movies like this?

I've already seen The Illusionist, and it's a good example; City of Lost Children also has a little bit of what I'm looking for.

In video games, the Thief series (but especially Thief 2) is a good example; there's also The Last Door, a little Flash adventure game that hits a lot of the buttons in question.

Hope me!
posted by escape from the potato planet to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Hugo, maybe?
posted by odinsdream at 7:35 PM on March 5, 2014

The Peter Weir film PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK from 1975 is perhaps the best example of this. A few schoolgirls and their teacher go missing during a field trip on St. Valentine's Day in 1900. It's an incredibly enigmatic, haunting film, and right up your alley.
posted by theartandsound at 7:37 PM on March 5, 2014

Burke and Hare? Based on a true story of Victorian grave robbers, but is really very funny and even whimsical at points, so not a gritty/realistic slog. Great cast in my opinion.
posted by Lardmitten at 7:40 PM on March 5, 2014

It's animated, but Howl's Moving Castle is straight up Victorian-esque fantasy.
posted by Diagonalize at 7:51 PM on March 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Monster Blood Tattoo Trilogy. It's a book but it has nice pictures too. It's really good or I wouldn't jump outside the bounds of the question.
posted by mearls at 7:53 PM on March 5, 2014

The 1989 telemovie version of The Woman In Black, springs to mind. I haven't seen the 2012 version with Daniel Radcliffe, but that might also do. The Elephant Man would be another pick. Haunted (1995) is another Victorian ghost story that might do as well.
posted by ninazer0 at 7:56 PM on March 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Possibly The Crimson Petal and the White which I ultimately hated but a lot of people seem to have liked.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:30 PM on March 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

From Hell
posted by jaguar at 8:30 PM on March 5, 2014

The Others
posted by jaguar at 8:31 PM on March 5, 2014

The Prestige
posted by scody at 8:52 PM on March 5, 2014

The Woman in Black

I happen to think that this version of Dracula is the best ever, and it fits your description.

There's also the Grenada Television "Sherlock Holmes" series, described in this MeFi post.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:01 PM on March 5, 2014

oh my god, speaking of Dracula... Coppola's version is like a postmodern fever dream of what you're describing. It's sort of insane. I love it like mad.
posted by scody at 9:11 PM on March 5, 2014 [4 favorites]

On the subject of Dracula, the Hammer horror films might be up your alley.
posted by MrBadExample at 9:35 PM on March 5, 2014

Would any of the many Jekyll and Hyde movies count? (Seems obvious, so maybe I missed something in the question.)
posted by trip and a half at 1:25 AM on March 6, 2014

Dorian Gray
posted by drlith at 4:38 AM on March 6, 2014

Are you open to TV shows? If so, the Doctor Who story "Ghost Light" will be right up your alley (and is basically movie-length, consisting of three 25-minute episodes).
posted by jbickers at 6:11 AM on March 6, 2014

Does it have to be Victorian England? Like say would Gangs of New York count?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:27 AM on March 6, 2014

Doesn't have to be England.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:37 AM on March 6, 2014

This list has some duplicates from above but seems like a start.

Certainly that query will help this kind of search...
posted by milqman at 7:43 AM on March 6, 2014

Queen Victoria's Book Of Spells is an anthology. As with most of these, the quality varies, but it's worth reading.

You should also be looking forward to the Showtime series Penny Dreadful coming in May. I am.

Although it's not Victorian, the Neil Gaiman book and miniseries Neverwhere has some of the feel you are looking for as well.
posted by Philbo at 8:51 AM on March 6, 2014

Speaking of animated: the Triplets of Belleville owes a debt to City of Lost Children and is full of delightful pre-War Paris stuff.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:17 AM on March 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

One of my favorite schlock movies is "The Raven". It's a Roger Corman movie starring Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Vincent Price, and a young Jack Nicholson (with a full head of hair!).

It's exactly what you're looking for. Much recommended.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:20 AM on March 6, 2014

Another series: Ripper Street (season 2 has just started in the U.S.)
posted by scody at 9:27 AM on March 6, 2014

How about Sweeney Todd? Provided you don't mind musicals...
posted by warm_planet at 10:03 AM on March 6, 2014

Avram Davidson's Dr. Eszterhazy stories are about a Holmes-type detective having adventures and unraveling mystical enigmas in the fin-de-siecle Austro-Hungarian Empire Triune Monarchy of Scythia-Pannonia-Transbalkana.
posted by Iridic at 8:28 PM on March 6, 2014

Others have suggested the fantastic Bram Stoker's Dracula. I would also urge you to seek out any of the old horror films (based on Edgar Allan Poe's short stories) in which Vincent Price starred in. The sets are gorgeous, the plots are deliciously Gothic, and the acting divine (of course - after all it`s Vincent Price).
posted by partly squamous and partly rugose at 8:15 PM on March 7, 2014

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