Ken Russell's films always have been very much an acquired taste, but with Gothic he is back to his theatrically extravagant best.

Ken Russell’s films always have been very much an acquired taste, but with Gothic he is back to his theatrically extravagant best.

Set on a stormy June night in 1816 at the Villa Diodati in Switzerland, the drug-induced excesses of the poet Byron (Gabriel Byrne) and his four guests inspire both Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein and Dr Polidori The Vampyre, two gothic horrror classics.

As the group becomes more drug-soaked and terrified, the villa with its darkened passages, spiral staircases, shuttered rooms, and menacing candlelight, becomes a labyrinth of horror.

Ken Russell has made an unrelenting nightmare that is both uncomfortable and compulsive to watch. Gabriel Byrne and Natasha Richardson, as Mary Shelley, are powerful and hold the film together.

Gothic

UK

Production

Virgin. Director Ken Russell; Producer Penny Corke; Screenplay Stephen Volk; Camera Mike Southon; Editor Michael Bradsell; Music Thomas Dolby; Art Director Christopher Hobbs

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1986. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Gabriel Byrne Julian Sands Natasha Richardson Myriam Cyr Timothy Spall Andreas Wisniewski
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