Director Ken Russell applies his trademark excess to this surreal, experimental examination of the creative dementia which shaped Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein. The story is embellished from events which allegedly took place at the Swiss villa of Lord Byron (Gabriel Byrne) on the night of June 16, 1816. Byron's guests include poet Percy Shelley (Julian Sands) and his future wife Mary (Natasha Richardson); Mary's half-sister Claire (Myriam Cyr) and Byron's leech-happy personal physician Dr. John Polidori (Timothy Spall). Byron promises them a night of horror like only a mad poet can deliver -- after partaking of laudanum and other hallucinogens, the guests tell ghost stories while exploring the dark corridors of his home. From here, Russell dives headlong into madness, discarding plot structure in favor of fever-dream setpieces in which the guests confront living manifestations of their own fears and insecurities -- creative, mortal and sexual, among others. The raging Romantics are also given to lengthy discourse on the nature of fear and the fine line between creative genius and insanity; by the film's end, viewers may find themselves wondering the same thing about the director. Those who may prefer a more subdued speculation on the same theme should seek out Ivan Passer's Haunted Summer. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi
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Basically the Synopsis explains the whole thing but I loved this movie for it was actually "Gothic" I first saw this movie when I was 12 and I liked it but I thought o since I was younger I liked basicaly anything so a couple later rented it again and still loved it. There is a lot of experimentation through out the movie you'll be able to tell when they are happening
Ken Russell always goes over the top in his productions. "Gothic" is no exception. The story is interesting -- detailing when Lord Byron, Dr. Polidori, Percy Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft stayed at Lake Geneva entertaining one another with ghost stories, out of which Mary (who later married Shelley) created the "Frankenstein" novel. The actors do their best (though Julians Sands made me cringe with his over-acting) but Russell goes too far and is too bizare. Designed to frighten and scare, this tale grosses you out and almost makes you laugh at its sad attempt. Made in 1986 before CGI effects so Russell uses camera effects. They don't hold up in 2010. The setting was good (Villa Deodati). The soundtrack was obnoxious. The references to homosexulaity were off-putting. What was the puddle of sticky stuff supposed to be? The film -- though blessed with great cover art -- fails to entertain or amuse. Nudity, foul language, some violence. Don't bother.