American Gothic (novel)

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American Gothic
Author Robert Bloch
Country USA
Language English
Genre psychological horror
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Publication date
Media type Print
Followed by TBA

American Gothic is a 1974 psychological horror novel by Robert Bloch and is a fictionalized portrayal of real life serial killer H. H. Holmes, who is renamed "G. Gordon Gregg" for the story.[1][2]


Inspired by the case of real life serial killer H. H. Holmes, the story follows maniacal surgeon G. Gordon Gregg, who preys on young beautiful women and, luring them into his labyrinthine castle, kills them in the most precise, painless way possible, thus orchestrating the perfect series of crimes. However, an ambitious journalist called Crystal becomes suspicious of Gregg, a feeling made much more complicated by her growing attraction to him and vice versa. Crystal also must balance her own life with her lover, a mysoginistic realestate agent named Jim Frazer, and her boss Charlie Hogan, who is tolerant, kind and believes Crystal's story. After a time, Crystal and Hogan infiltrate the castle, where Gregg ambushes Hogan, knocking him unconscious. Meanwhile, Crystal finds Gregg's laboratory, and the horrors within. He attacks Crystal, but she and Charlie Hogan hold him off. While chasing them, Gregg is electrocuted on a lightbulb, sprayed with acidic gas and finally falls to his death in a trap door. As Hogan and Crystal escape, they express feelings for oneanother, and as the castle burns down, the fair is brought to an abrupt end. .[3]

Bloch also wrote a 40,000 word essay based on his research for the novel, "Dr Holmes' Murder Castle" (first published in Reader's Digest Tales of the Uncanny, 1977; since reprinted in Crimes and Punishments: The Lost Bloch, Vol 3, 2002).


The Los Angeles Times praised American Gothic, calling it a "chip off the old Bloch".[4]


  1. ^ "Chicago Tribune Article". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Szumskyj, Benjamin (2009). The Man Who Collected Psychos: Critical Essays on Robert Bloch. McFarland. pp. 123–124, 158–167. ISBN 0786442085. 
  3. ^ Monne, Agnieszka Soltysik (2012). The Poetics and Politics of the American Gothic. Ashgate. pp. 7–8. ISBN 1409400565. 
  4. ^ HUGHES, DOROTHY B. "'American Gothic'--Chip off the Old Bloch". LA Times. Retrieved 23 October 2012.