This chapter explores the realist aesthetics of the mystery subgenre of the old dark house films of the 1910s and 1920s, which inherited the trappings and accoutrements of the Gothic castle, and the women melodramas, here called Female Gothics, which developed in the 1940s. A special emphasis is placed on new cinematic roles for women and changes in audiences following two world wars. In films like The Bat (1926), The Cat and the Canary (1927), Rebecca (1940) and Gaslight (1944), female leads portrayed modern-day Gothic heroines fighting tyrannical men (often their own husbands) for the sake of their sanity and independence. These battles became a fictional arena in which ossified notions of gender roles could be persistently questioned. The chapter ends by showing that, although the Female Gothic was predominantly developed by American and British filmmakers, it was also a formula developed in other countries like France, Italy and Spain.