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 at his Villa Diodati in Switzerland. There they met Byron's physician friend Dr John Polidori [Timothy Spall]. On June 16th, while a storm raged outside, the five of them amused themselves by telling ghost stories and revealing private skeletons. From Mary's previous experience of miscarriage came the desire to raise her child from the dead which led to the creation of the Frankenstein monster. From Polidori's homosexuality, suicidal thoughts, and fascination with vampires came the story "The Vampyre".
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
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 … more