5.8/10
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67 user 53 critic

Gothic (1986)

R | | Horror | 10 April 1987 (USA)
The Shelleys visit Lord Byron and compete to write a horror story.

Director:

Ken Russell

Writers:

Lord Byron (story), Percy Bysshe Shelley (story) | 1 more credit »
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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gabriel Byrne ... Byron
Julian Sands ... Shelley
Natasha Richardson ... Mary Shelley
Myriam Cyr ... Claire Clairmont
Timothy Spall ... Dr. Polidori
Alec Mango ... Murray
Andreas Wisniewski ... Fletcher
Dexter Fletcher ... Rushton
Pascal King Pascal King ... Justine
Tom Hickey Tom Hickey ... Tour Guide
Linda Coggin Linda Coggin ... Turkish Mechanical Woman
Kristine Landon-Smith Kristine Landon-Smith ... Mechanical Woman
Chris Chappell Chris Chappell ... Man in Armour (as Chris Chappel)
Mark Pickard Mark Pickard ... Young William
Kiran Shah ... Fuseli Monster
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Storyline

Story of the night that Mary Shelley gave birth to the horror classic "Frankenstein." Disturbed drug induced games are played and ghost stories are told one rainy night at the mad Lord Byron's country estate. Personal horrors are revealed and the madness of the evening runs from sexual fantasy to fiercest nightmare. Mary finds herself drawn into the sick world of her lover Shelley and cousin Claire as Byron leads them all down the dark paths of their souls. Written by Susan Southall <stobchatay@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Conjure up your deepest, darkest fear... now call that fear to life.

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 April 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Готика See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$916,172
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Virgin Vision See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During one of the establishing shots of the villa at night, a slowly revolving band of light appears on screen. This comes from a "phantasmagoria", a device which displayed pictures by sending light through holes cut in a ring of metal. The book that Shelley and co. read which inspired her to write Frankenstein (and lead to the events in the movie) was also called Phantasmagoria. See more »

Goofs

Claire Clairmont (Myriam Cyr) falls out of the rowboat in the opening scene, but just a few seconds later, as she's running with Percy toward the house, her clothes and hair are totally dry. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tour Guide: And there, ladies and gentlemen, on the other side of the lake we have the famous Villa Diodati where Lord Byron, greatest living English poet, resides in exile. Romantic, scholar, duelist, best-selling author of Childe Harold, he was forced to leave his native land after many scandals including incest and adultery with Lady Caroline Lamb. "Mad, bad and dangerous to know" she called him.
[the guide squeezes a lady's hand and points]
Tour Guide: Bedroom - top right.
See more »

Alternate Versions

American versions contain a title-card before the credits. This title card contains Mary Shelley's quote from the foreword to Frankenstein where she discusses the night the movie centers around. A brief explanation is then provided mentioning that both Frankenstein and Dracula were born on that night. See more »

Connections

Version of Haunted Summer (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Sonata in D Major (L463)
(uncredited)
Music by Domenico Scarlatti
Arranged and Performed by Gaynor Sadler and Tony Sadler
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Outlandishly Far Gone
20 September 2004 | by jrfranklin01See all my reviews

As this film seemed to be the first film (that I could find anyway) to describe how Mary Shelley came up with the idea for Frankenstein (published in 1818), I must give some consideration. However, the pains the film goes through in depicting a drug-induced, nightmarish landscape of horrors, is too far gone.

Laudenaum, a popular hallucinogenic drug during the 19th century, brings to life the imagination of five manic individuals: Lord Byron, his physician Dr. Polidori, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, and Claire Claremont (Mary's half sister). When Lord Byron challenges them all to come up with the most horrific tale they can muster, each cultivate his/her own macabre web of self-torture.

This film, in an attempt to show the frantic workings of the mind, comes off as merely comical at times. Some of the scenes, which are intended to shock and convey horror, seemed to simply repel. Gabriel Byrne aptly plays the decadent Lord Byron, but his character is overly vicious and twisted. Julian Sands plays Percy Shelley, who is like a lunatic pedant at best. If you can figure out one thing he says, as he seems to spout "non-sensical intelligence" (if there is such a thing), then kudos to you. Natasha Richardson does well in playing Mary Shelley, although the described "free love" she was supposedly a participant in I think was a bit of a stretch in this movie and could have been left out.

I must admit, for all the reviews I read of the film, I expected more of a punch and more of a meat-and-potatoes thriller story. This film did little but disorient using a sexually-hedonistic Rubix cube. Perhaps that was the director's intention, but the film did little in translating its horror and madness to its characters. Thomas Dolby's score just grates the disorientation further into the bone.

I will give the director credit for doing his homework in researching the odd amount of death that seemed to riddle Mary Shelley's biography. The marriage of Frankenstein's creation to this aspect as being nothing ironic is quite clever. All in all, I just think a better job could have been done with a brilliant idea. And somebody please give Julian Sands a role where he is not a blithering crybaby! 4/10


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