Carroll Borland: Godmother of Goth

If you were to create a history of Goth Girls (and someone should if they already haven’t), Carroll Borland (1914-1994) would deserve one of the first entries. As the mute character Luna, daughter of Count Mora (Bela Lugosi) in Mark of the Vampire (1935), she came after the three wives in Dracula (1931) (Geraldine Dvorak, Cornelia Thaw and Dorothy Tree) but before Gloria Holden (Dracula’s Daughter, 1936), Jean Brooks (The Seventh Victim, 1943), Maila Nurmi (Vampira, 1950s), and Carolyn Jones and Yvonne De Carlo (The Addams Family and The Munsters, both 1964-66).

Borland was, we are not surprised to learn, a college student at UC Berkley. She came to Lugosi’s attention by writing Lugosi a fan latter suggesting some ideas for the possibility of a Dracula sequel. He cast her in a tab version of a Dracula play that he was taking around to vaudeville and presentation houses. This led to the part in Mark of the Vampire. After this, she was cast as an extra in Flash Gordon (1936). She was a stage actor after this, and later taught at the college level.

In the 1980s, Borland appeared in two low-budget horror movies by Fred Olen Ray, Scalps (1983) and Biohazard (1985). Her novel Countess Dracula was published posthumously in 1994, and is now available from Bear Manor Media. 

To find out more about the history of vaudeville, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous,