Directed by Ken Russell
The film tells a fictionalized version of the creation of the Frankenstein story by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Polidori’s “The Vampyre” while at the Villa Diodati.
I used to love this movie as a kid. I rented Gothic several times from my local video store. What was I thinking?! This is a confusing load of pretentious crap! It is all over acting and flowery language with plenty of tongue rolls on double R’s tossed in. I am not sure if that is meant to convey aristocracy or not, but it is just ridiculous.
I guess Ken Russell was going for creepy and weird with the heavy use of fake cobwebs and a rat for every barrel in the basement but instead it is just heavy handed. Seriously, it looked as if every time they went to the basement there was a rat on just about everything. And all the rats were surprisingly stationary. Was there not enough money in the budget to go buy a single rat from a pet store and shoot it scurrying around somewhere? I guess they blew the whole rat budget on fake rats and shitty cobwebs.
And the music does not fit with the movie. It is like they lifted the soundtrack from another film and just slapped it into this one. These days just about any idiot with a camera can make a movie and buy a music package off-line from somewhere and this is the effect you get in this movie even though this was made 30 years before such a thing was possible. I am not sure what the equivalent of such a scenario would be back in the day, but Ken Russell found it when he made this movie. Kudos to being a visionary in that aspect at least.
The cast is a talented cast. There is no doubt there. You have Gabriel Byrne (Lord Byron), Natasha Richardson (Mary Shelley), Timothy Spall (Dr. John William Polidori) and even Julian Sands (Percy Bysshe Shelley) and they are not bad given the atrocious material, but the best performance truly comes from Myriam Cyr as Claire Clairmont. At least the performance that best fits what is going on in the movie. It is odd and weird in comparison to the others who appear to just be spouting off some period pretentious period language and mostly overacting.
This movie is 87 minutes of WTF and not in a good way. Byron and the gang are supposed to be having a contest to come up with a ghost story and then they have a séance and afterwards there is just a bunch of random weird things that have nothing to do with what led up to the ghost story contest.
And then they have another weird séance in the basement to end the nuttiness and their morning discussion melts away into the present day and a voiceover that also serves as a wrap up for what happened to the characters in real life. There felt like there was no point to any of it. It was just stuff.
This is obviously a lower budget film which believes itself to be high art. It is not. Do not let wannabe intellectual dialogue fool you. It is schlock. Worse yet, it is borderline nonsensical schlock held together by the knowledge that these people were real.
I am not sure exactly what I ever saw in this movie but I wish I had forgotten about it and simply moved on but I recalled it and found a copy of it and I feel the worse for it. If you have a thing for Ken Russell and his work watch it but otherwise skip this. Even if you have a thing for Ken Russell skip it. It is really bad.