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Gothic

4 Ratings: 3.8
A movie

Through her half-sister Claire Clairmont [Miriam Cyr], Mary Godwin [Natasha Richardson] and her future husband Percy Shelley [Julian Sands] came to know Lord Byron [Gabriel Byrne]. During the summer of 1816, Lord Byron invited them to stay for a while … see full wiki


Amazon.com Lurid, kitschy, over the top--what more does one expect from Ken Russell, director of The Devils, Tommy, and Altered States? Gothic purports to tell the story of a night that Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and the future Mary Shelley spent at a country estate and decided to write ghost stories--a night that ultimately resulted in Mary writing the novel Frankenstein. These three and a couple of friends romp around the mansion, freaking out at shadows and the sounds of a storm, getting increasingly hysterical and hallucinatory as the night progresses. Thrown into the mix are a mechanical belly dancer, nudity, walking suits of armor, an orgy, séances, grotesque masks, leeches, a pig's head, stigmata, snakes, and God-awful dialogue like "We are the gods now--we have dared to call ourselves creators!" Gabriel Byrne (Byron), Julian Sands (Shelley), and Natasha Richardson (Mary) are all terrible; it's a miracle any of
1 review about Gothic

One Of The Greatest Ken Russell Films Ever Made

  • Jun 4, 2009
Rating:
+4
Ken Russell may one of the most bawdy, yet outrageous directors to ever make a film out of Britain. Somehow, Russell managed to maintain a truly remarkable resume which includes everything from the rock opera Tommy or his take on the D.H. Lawrence classics such as Women In Love as well as it's underrated prequel The Rainbow. Ken Russell has exhibited some crossover potential in his masterful catalog but hasn't ever been a director for all tastes & probability suggests there will always be haters of his grand works. If his films were anything less than over the top, they couldn't bear the Director's stamp of approval. Rest assured, Gothic is a Ken Russell film through & through.    

The movie is basically about that one eventful night poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Godwin (author of Frankenstein), along with Claire Clairmont, spend together with poet Lord Byron and his doctor John Polidori. Throughout the course of this strange evening in a Swiss castle by the lake, each party sets out to pen the most horrifying ghost story ever imagined with the intention of outdoing one another. Gothic is Ken Russell's bizarre vision of the madman poet Byron & his memorable weekend with his unexpected guests.  Russell's demented vision is here in all it's sinister glory as he unravels his take on how Mary Shelley came to write of her great monster.

While many have called this film wildly imaginative or perhaps Ken Russell's most outrageous film, I still say it's his greatest work & an underrated masterpiece. Gothic is very creepy and extremely moody so naturally it's not for all tastes & you may wish to lock granny up before you begin to indluge yourself. Find yourself a spot somewhere & have your boss hold your calls as this film demands your undivided attention. 
 
Gothic includes many horrific scenes in this film which may cause one to blink or to shudder with delight but few are excessive in the gore department which may actually work in this film's favor. Russell's dialogue is often ironically witty and of course philosophical which also works well given the atmosphere and time period in which our film is set but may not be every horror maven's true delight. (Some viewers might find the dialogue rather boring if they've never read Mary Shelley, Cornelius Agrippa, or any works in the occult department.) 

Russell manages to take the most hideous of images and fears which play on all our minds and then dares to call them to life if only for the duration of his film. In doing this, I believe he is asking us not to run from our worst fears BUT to understand that overcoming these dreaded thoughts may lead to a creative enlightenment which we all should hope to attain.

Kudos to Ken Russell!!! I only wish there were more films like this one out there somewhere....
Gothic FILM Mary & Percy Shelley Richardson, Byrne, & Sands Mary Shelley

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November 28, 2009
Nice review. I did see this about ten years ago. I recall that I liked it a lot. Sort of a freak-out-your-brain take on an actual event. Too bad that "Shadow of the Vampire" didn't follow suit.
November 28, 2009
when I first saw the cover, I immediately thought 'INCUBUS'!
November 28, 2009
Good stuff! I have always loved that piece of art & the box cover was pretty damned sweet. Thnks Orlok!! I liked Shadow Of The Vampire but the director is capable of doing better work.
November 28, 2009
You know during the medieval resurgence in pagan beliefs, some people actually believed that nightmares were caused by demons that crept into the house and sat on you while you slept? The funny part is that a lot of gargoyle statues were designed to keep those demons out, yet paradoxically they gave people nightmares because they were so frightening and grotesque.
November 28, 2009
That's definitely ironic. I do remember reading something to that effect several years back. A friend of mine actually had offered to buy me a gargoyle statue sometime around that era but I declined as it was too expensive. I did want it but couldn't see myself breaking the dude's bank account. I've seen this painting through the years or variations of it but never knew the name of it. Thnks again for sharing it with us!
November 28, 2009
There are a number of versions dating back to the Middle Ages I think, but the Fuseli version is the best for sheer creepiness.
November 28, 2009
It's creepy for sure but I would still love to have a copy of this in my home. LOL Maybe even this design on a t-shirt.
 
June 05, 2009
I wasn't in the mood for this the first time I saw it and it was many years before I tried it again but I'm glad that I did. Its truly one of a kind but you can safely say that about any of Russell's films.
June 05, 2009
Now that's a true statement if I've ever heard one. This film really grows on you & it actually gets better with repeated viewings. Russell is an acquired taste for sure but nobody does Russell like Russell. Did you watch Crimes Of Passion or Lair Of The White Worm?
June 05, 2009
LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM actually made one of my Horror Comedy lists, which someone found amusing. I just can't help finding parts of that movie very funny. But its a no on CRIMES OF PASSION. Not yet.
June 05, 2009
I totally agree with you on White Worm. It's quite funny & even the dialogue makes me giggle. But definitely check out Crimes Of Passion sometime too. Kathleen Turner & Anthony Perkins really ham it up in that one. Typical controversial Russell fare but I think you would like it. ;-0
June 05, 2009
Its going on the NetFlix list if they carry it.
June 05, 2009
I believe it's still available so netflix should have it. If not, it's relatively cheap on amazon.com so I might very well purchase a copy soon. :-)~
June 05, 2009
I'll still probably rent before I buy, but they do have LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM and I'm still getting by with my VHS of that.
June 05, 2009
Yeah, it never hurts to rent first. I have my old VHS tape of White Worm & have never upgraded for some reason. Someday, that one will go in the DVD collection too.
June 05, 2009
I think ammie's got it priced at about 6 or 7 bucks but when you add on $3 shipping...
June 05, 2009
That's pretty aoffrdable. Some of the Crimes Of Passion were around $4-5 bucks before the $3 shipping which is affordable. I might go ahead & snatch them both up & just treat myself.
June 06, 2009
I'm one such a tight budget that I have to try and keep myself at $10 shipping included and in June I went overboard on this one Bollywood flick that I couldn't wait to go any lower. So I've got to keep it down this month to balance out.
June 06, 2009
I am so with you on that one. I try to keep my purchases around that same price frame too. Sadly, most of the stuff I want is a bit costly so I  have to wait until some poor, helpless amazon marketplace decides to get rid of his copy for pennies on the dollar. LOL
June 07, 2009
I understand completelty.
June 09, 2009
Do you have any favs or stuff you absolutely must have that's not affordable? Any films you are dying to invest in? ;-)
June 09, 2009
What I consider unaffordable these days is anything over $30! I still need a dvd of John Sayles' MEN WITH GUNS, the price was up over $100 at one point but its around 40--60 range now. I want to get a copy of THEY BITE to see if its as funny as I remember it being, but even the vhs is about $45. I'd love to have a dvd of MATINEE, the John Goodman movie about a William Castle-ish director who unveils his new horror flick in Key West during the Cuban missle crisis. SANTA SANGRE is another. And then there's a movie I've only read about called A VERY OLD MAN WITH ENORMOUS WINGS. I've never been able to track down a copy even to rent.
June 09, 2009
I've heard of atleast a few of those but don't think I've ever even heard the name of that last one you mention. I wish to God someone would please stop fucking around & release a legitimate DVD copy of Jodorowsky's Santa Sangre. That's another director that I'm insanely addicted to.
June 10, 2009
I'm making do with my VHS of SANTA SANGRE and MEN WITH GUNS, but I mistakenly sold MATINEE. sigh. If you've never seen MEN WITH GUNS you should try and find a rental copy. Its definitely the high point of Sayles' career.
June 10, 2009
Sadly, I can hardly find any stores that cater to VHS customers in my area. I should've bought Santa Sangre back when it was still readily available in shops on good ol' VHS. There is no telling when the DVD copy will ever see the light of day in North America. I will check out Men With Guns. I have heard you mention this one before so I hear the conviction in your voice. I will definitely see if I can't find that one.
June 10, 2009
Are you familiar with any of Sayles' other films? LONE STAR, MATEWAN, CITY OF HOPE? He served his time in genre films too writing the screenplays for THE HOWLING, ALLIGATOR, and lots of others.
June 10, 2009
I am familiar with a few of his films. I do know The Howling of course & I used to own a VHS copy of the film Limbo which was interesting. The ending kinda pissed me off but I did like the film overall.
June 11, 2009
It annoyed a lot of people. lol. It didn't bother me though because the film was never really about whether or not they would be rescued but whether or not they would c0me together as sort of a family. Whatever their fate was, they just accepted it together because they had no other choice.
June 11, 2009
Yeah, overall I do like the film. Especially the scene in which the mother discovers an empty journal with no stories. Gosh, that kid sure had a vivid imagination. I think I would've liked it better with some sort of closure on whether or not they were rescued though. ;-)
June 11, 2009
It sort of defeats the purpose of the title though. lol He warns the audience going in. They never suspect though that THEY'RE going to be the ones left in limbo!
June 12, 2009
I definitely see your point on this one. Overall, the film was quite brilliant & I did enjoy it. I don't know where the hell my VHS copy is right now. Argghh! After we began to discuss this film, I had the great urge to sit down & view it again in hopes of looking for stuff I'd missed the first time around. It's been years since I've seen Limbo so I would like to re-visit that one.
 
June 05, 2009
One of the best films that I've seen that I still don't own!! one I have to rectify asap.
June 05, 2009
And may I ask why you don't own this Woopak? Shame on you! LOL But I cna forgive you as you are willing to accept blame for this trangression & I'm delighted to hear this will be rectified. Well done sir.
 
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