Settings often include large, drafty old houses as a substitute for the traditional castle.
The atmosphere of mystery is enhanced by the plot which seeks to discover secrets lying within a supernaturally charged environment.
Omens, foreshadowing, and dreams usually play a large role in the mysterious air that is created within the story.
Tales include highly charged emotional states like terror, insanity, anger, agitation, impending doom, and obsessive love.
They include supernatural events: ghosts, doors that open themselves, unexplained sounds, etc.
Damsels in distress are frequent. Women who are frightened and confused, wandering lost, or slowly dying.
Words are designed to evoke images of gloom and doom; dark, foreboding, forbidding, ghostly, etc.
Romantic themes often involve the death of a man or woman in the throes of great passion, obsessive love, or excessive grief.