In the penultimate episode of Balls Deep season two, VICELAND heads to North Hollywood, California, to find out what in the holy harvest-moon has happened to those that self-identify as “Goths”.
A few decades back, Goths were a bourgeoning subculture of artists, nerds and weirdos who railed against mainstream culture and found solace in the other-worldly — enjoying the populous’ misplaced fear and judgment over a dark and hard aesthetic, despite being largely soft and sensitive by nature.
Thomas Morton, VICE veteran and former teen-Goth, visits a world that’s both forever altered yet strangely similar.
Meet Vanessa and Daniel, our Gothic conduits
Vanessa and Daniel are a Latino Goth couple living out of the former’s (non-Goth) parent’s house in Los Angeles, CA. While Daniel is an atheist who enjoys the Goth style and lifestyle, Vanessa follows a hodge-podge of Paganism, Wicca, and new age spirituality.
Modern Goths don’t shy away from modern self-promotion...
What was once an overt case of anathema to eighties Goths is now an accepted part of keeping the subculture alive. The loving couple toil away in their sunlight-deprived home-office, working on Vanessa’s Gothic-inspired YouTube channel, Victoria Fashen.
There, Victoria hosts detailed tutorials on mostly Gothic aesthetics — how to apply Gothic make-up, select applicable Gothic garb, and in support, how to go about various Gothic-inspired rites and rituals.
When faced with the accusation of ‘selling out’, Daniel has no qualms with his partner’s brand cultivation: "How are you selling out if you’re doing what you want?"
Morton learns the two most prevalent incarnations of the modern Goth. The ‘New Goth’, which is on the Witchy side…
… and the ‘Pastel Goth’, which is cute and colourful without sacrificing the creepy.
During the experience, Morton remembers what bothered him about the Goth lifestyle…
After a considerable amount of time with the couple, Morton remembers how insular one must remain in order to live the Goth lifestyle. The only time they’ve ventured outdoors was to sit in on one of Vanessa’s rituals. The silver-lining comes in the form of a promised clubbing outing, Goth-style.
But a modern night-out on the Goth scene isn’t what he expected…
Keeping up with the theory that modern Goths are following a set of codified aesthetic rules as opposed to letting loose through dark expression, Morton accompanies the couple to Monsterpalooza, a sci-fi/horror convention that’s more a celebration of cinema than a tip of the hat to the dark/dark arts.
Though nobody can deny, the guy playing Nosferatu nailed it, and then some.
He also discovers the concept of ‘smudging yourself’, but you’ll have to tune in to get the lowdown on that one.
Similarly, you’ll have to wait to see how Morton fares when returning to his old Goth self.
Watch Balls Deep on Wednesdays at 8:30pm on SBS VICELAND. Missed the latest episode? Watch it right here: