Gothic (1987)

Ken Russell delivers another case of style over substance in this opium-induced hallucination. Mary Shelley and others gather at Lord Byron's country estate, where they indulge in sexual fantasies, drugs, and ghastly storytelling. Their fun and games turn into lurid nightmares when they are overcome by visual manifestations of their twisted tales. GOTHIC is strictly over the top from start to finish, with outrageous characters and dialogue that are stretched far beyond their limit. It is a circus act of sexual debauchery and dark Gothic imagery trapped in a lavish mansion setting. Russell carries over many of the strange and twisted visuals that he popularized in ALTERED STATES and would carry into LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM the following year, but it is impossible to derive much more meaning out of the overt psycho-sexual metaphors than the obvious in this overstated film. Still, it is a visually stimulating and visceral viewing experience, and many fans will revel in the flamboyant performances of its frilly characters. If you can find a decent copy, GOTHIC is definitely worth checking out, but avoid the inaudible and worn public domain copies that make it nearly impossible to watch.

Rating: 6/10.
Entertainment: 7/10.
Number of views: 1.

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  1. Style over substance no doubt, but what fun! Have of the fun is looking at the crazy visuals that Russell can conjure up with his cinematic magic. Love the nightmare sequences, her Carl, where you freaked out by that scene with the eyes on the girls nipples?

  2. I turned to the wife and was like "Uh.. how did THOSE go unnoticed??" =D

    Id love to give this one another go with a better copy, the one on the Mills set was absolute garbage but I hear the Artisan release isnt any better

  3. this one was one of my favorite movies to watch back when i had comcast. I loved natalie richardson's performance in this movie.

    makes me curious to read more on mary shelley's life as well as her husband's and lord byron's too.

    r.i.p. natasha richardson. you will be missed.