Suburban Gothic is an aesthetic based around feelings of alienation and the uncanny in suburban neighborhoods. Common motifs include coming-of-age, familial/generational trauma, facades, and the shallowness of capitalistic culture. The motifs and photographs are American-centric, with parodies and dark interpretations of the 1950s nuclear family and 1980s economic boom. There is a heavy emphasis on the use of Liminal Space, supernatural beings, and tropes typically found in suburban culture, such as housewives and cheerleaders. Those characters and locations tend to have a dark secret, such as drug addiction or infidelity to emphasize the darker nature of the restrictiveness of social norms.

While sharing similar traits with Southern Gothic and Midwest Gothic, there is no specific region or nation that appears prominently in suburban gothic. The aesthetic has its origins in literature, film, and television, but later gained a visual aesthetic and more examples through short bullet-pointed lists with the regional gothic trend on Tumblr in the mid-2010s.


Visuals

  • Animals that evoke the supernatural, such as black dogs or deer
  • Beings/items that seem misplaced in the setting
  • Convenience stores
  • Drug addiction
  • Empty diners
  • Fog
  • Ghosts, especially sheeted
  • Graffiti
  • Grocery stores
  • Laundromats
  • Lights that are an unusual color, such as red or blue
  • Malls
  • Playgrounds
  • Roads and highways
  • Run-down cars
  • Street lamps
  • Suburban neighborhoods at night
  • Traumacore style edits of depressing messages layered over images
  • Technology from the 60s-80s, such as box TVs and telephones


Media

Books

  • White Noise by Don DeLillio


Movies

  • Edward Scissorhands (1990)
  • Beetlejuice (1988)
  • Blue Velvet (1986)
  • Carrie (1976)
  • The Stepford Wives (1975)
  • The Virgin Suicides (1999)
  • American Beauty (1999)
  • Heathers (1988)
  • The Burbs (1989)


Podcasts

  • Welcome to Nightvale


TV Shows

  • Stranger Things
  • The Twilight Zone (specifically episodes centering around suburbia, such as "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street")
  • Twin Peaks

Music

Albums

  • The Suburbs by Arcade Fire
  • Pure Heroine by Lorde
  • The Normal Album by Will Wood


Playlists

my life as a dark indie coming of age film

Strangerhood

suburban gothic

suburban haze


Gallery

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