Von Herling and Gothic fiction

Work is progressing on Von Herling’s further adventures.  I consider Von Herling to be a work of the Gothic genre, specifically Gothic horror.

When I saw “horror”, many of you readers out there conjure up images of Freddy Krueger, Jason, Leatherface and any number of characters from movies where there’s lots of blood and gross ways of dying.  That is one kind of horror (known as “splatter”), but it’s not the kind I use in Von Herling.  What I do is Gothic horror.  But what is Gothic horror?  

The Wikipedia entry on Gothic fiction (also equated with Gothic horror) defines the genre as ” literature that combines fiction, horror, death and Romance.”  Von Herling’s adventures, both his original (available on Indyplanet and Amazon) do fit this definition.  It it a work of fiction, there are elements of horror (the title hero hunts vampires, a common creature of said genre), there’s death and it fits the definition of Romance too.

Von Herling, Vampire Hunter page 84

Von Herling, Vampire Hunter page 84

More elements of Gothic fiction (as defined by Wikipedia) are present in Von Herling.  We have the virginal maiden who is young, pure and innocent (Peggy Jo); the older, foolish woman (Brittany); the tyrant/villain (the vampire Vlad Magnus); and the hero August Von Herling.  The setting itself is more of “Southern Gothic” as it is set in the fictional small town of Richten in the forested mountains of Eastern Tennessee.  Besides being treacherous terrain full of rocks and old trees, the town itself is isolated and incorporates elements of both Central European and Eastern European culture.  In fact, it’s as if someone took a piece of Transylvania and plopped it down in rural Tennessee.

In addition, we have a night journey (Von Herling’s hike in the dark through the wild to face Vlad Magnus), an element of fear (both from Von Herling and Peggy Jo) and even a haunted castle.

If you’re into Gothic fiction and want to incorporate such elements into your own work, there’s no end of inspiration and reference you can use.  Some good Gothic books to go check out are:

  • Dracula by Bram Stoker (naturally!)
  • The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • the works of Edgar Allen Poe
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