Dark academia has taken the online world by storm, with tweed blazers, horn-rimmed glasses, gothic elements and, often, a deviant journey through self-discovery. The dark side of academic elitism appeals to many because of the twisted, yet comforting vibes it emits, as well as all of its forbidden secrets.
The dark academia character archetypes are equally spellbinding, filled with studious and principled students and intelligent, driven young personalities. Wandering through a secret library, solving a dark mystery, or studying by a fireplace with your closest friends is just part of why this is the perfect genre to dive into during the cold winter months. fall and winter.
“The Magicians” (2015 – 2020)
by Lev Grossman magicians is one of the best fantasy book adaptations streaming on Netflix right now. The series is filled with the quintessential dark academic atmosphere, including magic, historic classrooms, gothic settings, and just enough mystery to keep you on the edge of your seat.
The series follows Quentin Coldwater who is recruited into a secret academy and discovers he can use magic. The series is much more adult than the likes of Harry Potter however, as the characters are older and the magic system is more complicated and enticing. His group of friends begin to lose themselves in their dangerous new world, creating a dark and sultry academic series that weaves itself into bleak relationships, high stakes, and devastating goodbyes.
Mauritius is one of the first excellent cinematic forays into the dark college aesthetic. The film combines the perfect elements of the genre: romanticizing the posh Ivy League college setting, explicitly gay love secrets, and school settings so luscious they seem straight out of a dream.
The film provides a glimpse into the surreal life of the rich and gay, with superb acting and exquisite capture of its time. It is set in 1909 and follows a young man named Maurice who enters Cambridge and slowly realizes he is gay. He embarks on a journey of secrets and tumultuous relationships to hide his reputation and that of his lovers.
‘Penny Dreadful’ (2014-2016)
dreadful penny does not take place in a university or school. Despite this, the beloved series fits the dark academia aesthetic incredibly well. From its incredible Victorian-era sets and costumes, its gothic landscapes and atmosphere, and its ever-mysterious monsters and creatures, dreadful penny tick each box.
It’s more of a psychological thriller than most of those also set in the genre. The series follows Ethan Chandler in 1891 London, as an American gun show and CBS artist. He is hired by the adventurers, Vanessa and Malcolm to help save Malcolm’s daughter from a creature. The show is filled with dark mystery and suspense, where personal demons grow stronger than vampires and immortal beasts.
“The Skulls” (2000)
The late 1990s and early 2000s marked the jubilee of the dark and elite Ivy League college worlds. Paul Walker and Joshua Jackson starred in one of the most underrated dark college films of the era: The skulls. The film follows the life of a secret society deep within the walls of the Ivy League’s most important campus where power and the elite are high.
Only a few are chosen to join the society, where they are then cared for, and the wealthy bloodlines bond in dangerous and mysterious plots. This film deserves a mention because of its incredibly sinister and dark atmosphere. Watching the lives of these perfect young men begin to crumble under the weight of their own misdeeds fits the aesthetic perfectly.
‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ (2018 – 2020)
by Netflix Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has done an incredible job of filling the dark hole of college witchcraft that has been missing in pop culture for so long. It is based on the Sabrina the Teenage Witch comics that follow Sabrina Spellman and her adventures in the wizarding world as a normal teenager. The show takes on a much darker tone, however: there’s no longer a careless crush and a demure black cat – by Kiernan Shipka Sabrina traffics in horror and the occult.
Everything about this series screams dark academia. There are references to by Shakespeare macbeth, and Sabrina wears dark school-prep clothes, with bobbed hair and headbands, black tights and knee-high socks, and argyle sweater vests straight out of Ivy League. In the show, Sabrina must choose between the fascinating witch world she was born into and her group of human friends.
The “Harry Potter” series (2001 – 2011)
The Harry Potter The film series is one of the best-known depictions of black college. The Wonderful World of Wizardry introduced children around the world to this dark and prestigious aesthetic as Harry Potter worked his way through Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The films offer stunning settings in a world of magic and libraries, ancient secrets that rely on books and wits, and a glimpse of a doomed boy’s coming of age.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 holds the highest ranking on Rotten Tomatoes, but it provides the least dark college aesthetic. The first three films, as well as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Princereally lean into the style of studying with friends in an old castle while trying to understand the secrets of their worlds.
In the latest foray into dark college television, by Tim Burton Wednesday takes on the weird, the outcasts, and the goth school of Nevermore Academy. Unlike the previous Addams Family titles, this Netflix Original focuses on their eldest daughter and the chaos she causes at school with her morbid humor, macabre interests, and straight face.
Wednesday’s deadpan face is no accident either. Burton fell in love with a scene where Jenny Ortega didn’t blink, so he asked her to do it for the rest of the show. Wednesday’s cold, emotionless personality and defiant nature fit perfectly into the aesthetic, as well as gothic settings. Watching Wednesday Addams transform from a “monster” into finding his own people will warm anyone’s cold heart.
Dorian Gray (2009)
Ben Barnes launched a thousand dark college dreams with the 2009 adaptation of Dorian Gray. He played the devilishly young and handsome Dorian, so many Harry Potter aficionados introduced him as a young Sirius Black almost immediately.
The film is full of Victorian costumes that border on dark prep school outfits, and it perfectly portrays Dorian’s lascivious lust and bizarre sexual exploits. Its dreamlike atmosphere is a warm, welcoming embrace as Dorian increasingly loses parts of himself in the charismatic social whirlwind of Victorian London.
A Discovery of Witches (2018 – 2022)
A discovery of witches follows Diana Bishop, the latest in a long line of distinguished witches. In a world where demons, witches and vampires live discreetly among humans, Diana has immersed herself in a career as a historian. But what she loves most is alchemy, and while visiting Oxford, she makes a discovery that changes her life forever.
A discovery of witches is a wonderfully underrated treasure in dark college aesthetics. It offers moody relationships, lots of preppy fashion and a dark atmosphere steeped in gothic architecture. Therese Palmier and Matthew Goode make sure every mystery and secret they uncover is steeped in chemistry.
Cruel Intentions (1999)
cruel intentions is set in the upscale world of Manhattan, where the wealthy and popular Kathryn uncovers her deranged exploits at the prep school she attends. In the twisted world of half-siblings, Kathryn and Sebastian, the two devilishly bet on sexual conquest in an attempt to outdo each other. Young Annette becomes their next pawn after writing about how she intends to stay “pure” until marriage.
Kathryn and Sebastian make a deal that if he can seduce Annette, Kathryn will get his vintage car, and if he fails, she will finally sleep with him. The film is a deviant portrayal of corrupt youngsters in the affluent world of prep schools and has enough seedy atmosphere and preppy outfits to fit perfectly into the dark academia bill.
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10 Best Dark Academia Movies And TV Series To Watch This Winter – GameSpot
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