1816. A sprawling villa in Switzerland is the setting for the night of the “Haunted Summer” when five famous friends gather around an ancient skull to conjure up their darkest fears. Poets Lord Byron and Percy Shelley; Shelley’s Fiancee, Mary Godwin; Mary’s stepsister, Claire Clairmont; and Byron’s friend, Dr. John Polidori, spend a hallucinogenic evening confronting their fears in an orgiastic frenzy of shock lunacy that later inspired Mary Shelley to write the classic Frankenstein and Dr. Polidori to pen The Vampyre, which became the basis for the creation of Dracula. One Fateful evening, two legends were born, in Ken Russell’s GOTHIC.
Directed By: Ken Russell
Written By: Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, & Stephen Volk
Starring: Gabriel Byrne (Byron), Julian Sands (Shelley), Natasha Richardson (Mary Shelley), Myrian Cyr (Claire Clairmont), Timothy Spall ( Dr. Polidori), Alec Mango (Murray), Andreas Wisniewski (Fletcher), Dexter Fletcher (Rushton), Pascal King (Justine), and more.
Runtime: Approx. 87 minutes
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio Commentary with Lisi Russell, in conversation with Film Historian Mathew Melia
Isolated Score Selections and Audio Interview with Composer Thomas Dolby
Featurettes: “The Soul of Shelley” with Actor Julian Sands
“Fear Itself” with Screenwriter Stephen Volk
“One Rainy Night” with Director of Photography Mike Southon
I give the Gothic Blu-ray a B.
My first impression of this film was WTH is going on. It’s a strange film that plays out similar to a nightmare. Not so much a scary horror film but more of a psychological one. In modern times, It’s like a bunch of friends drinking and telling scary stories with an added seance in the mix.
I had no idea (while watching the film) that the horrors experienced during their stay at this villa inspired Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I loved the simplicity of this film as it was originally released in 1986. Was there something actually lurking in the shadows or was it their minds playing tricks on them?