The creepy, gothic version of the rural Southeast United States. Scenes show dying vegetation, decaying plantations, rusty farm implements, forbidding swamps with something
lurking within, and frighteningly expressionless folk standing around doing...nothing, except staring at the protagonists.
The Southern Gothic is its own subgenre of Gothic media, characterized by bleak settings in the Deep South
, flawed (and often disturbing) characters, and the darker side of the Southeastern United States including racism, sexism, and poverty.
Unlike The Savage South
where the southern areas are teeming with life (most of which wants you dead), Southern Gothic settings have a constant feel of decay, death and malaise. Anything living there will feel unnatural on top of possibly being very dangerous. Supernatural elements are popular, especially with themes of the undead or "things that should not be" instead of the typical wild animals and hostile natives usually seen in The Savage South
See also Deep South
, Southern Gothic's mother trope. Compare Lovecraft Country
- To Kill a Mockingbird has elements of this, as well as being set in the Deep South.
- Anne Rice's Blackwood Farm has more mausoleums than people, not to mention an entire house sunk to the second story in a swamp.
- Pretty much everything Anne Rice does is Southern Gothic — with an emphasis on the Gothic part.
- George R. R. Martin's Fevre Dream is very much this. Nineteenth century, steamers in the South, vampires with slaves and a creepy mansion.
- A Rose for Emily, by William Faulkner, could well be the poster child of this trope. Emily Grier's mansion, a symbol of better days long since past, is described in the most wretched terms of rot and decay — and the house hides terrible secrets.
- No Country for Old Men
- H.P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu abandons the traditional New England as a setting for monstrous buried secrets, wandering Southwards to the dank swamps of Louisiana, where Cthulhu's cultists gather for celebration with orgies and human sacrifices.
- Pretty much anything by Flannery O Connor.
- John Saul set his horror novel The Right Hand of Evil in backwoods Louisiana and The Unloved in South Carolina.
- Robert E. Howard's short story "Black Canaan" fits here.
- Cherie Priest's Four and twenty Blackbirds mixes this with Magic Realism is a story of a girl who sees ghosts dealing with the legacy of her great-great grandfather, an evil sorcerer.
- Many of the novels by V. C. Andrews.
- Sons of Perdition fits this trope to a T.
- The Wyatt Family - a Charles Manson-meets-True Detective stable of evil southern cultits - play upon this in a way that's so legitimately chilling that it's probably inappropriate for what is, ostensibly, family entertainment.
- Rage Across Appalachia, a supplemental book for Werewolf: The Apocalypse, runs on this trope. Memorable examples of horror from the book include the Bledsons, a rural family of bane-possessed men, and the Pigeon River Howlers, a bluegrass band made up of Black Spiral Dancers who corrupt their audiences through music and dancing.