Gothic - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Gothic Reviews

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October 12, 2017
Worst movie I have ever partially seen.
½ January 26, 2017
Disappointing affair on an 1816 gathering at a resort that resulted in the creation of Frankenstein and Dracula (Vampyre) by five people who experience hallucinations one night there. Hard to tell what is going on. Like all films that relies heavily on characters fading in and out of reality, never delivers on potential.
½ December 26, 2016
Among my least favourite of Russell's films. Percy Shelley (Julian Sands), Mary Shelley (Natasha Richardson) and Claire Clairmont visit Byron (Gabriel Byrne) at his estate where he is living in exile in Italy. Along with Byron's biographer John Polodori (Timothy Spall), they spend the stormy night consuming laudanum, engaging in free (and not so free) love, and possibly conjuring up an actual monster from their subconsciouses. There's a ton of talent in front of and behind the camera here, but little comes of it. Everyone overacts incredibly, which is what one expects from a Russell film, but usually it is to some purpose. This film looks great, and has some amazing imagery, but I can't help feeling that it amounts to an hour and a half of 4 talented actors and Julian Sands running around and screaming.
April 13, 2016
This film is rated too fucking low.
February 6, 2016
So infinitely weird i can forgive it anything. Redgrave and Sand both are crazily over the top but it somehow works. The imagery and general behaviors are almost permanently bonker. The story is an ever twisting nightmare. Yes, its often bad, but never in a boring and tedious way, it just revels in madness.
½ November 1, 2015
Weird film, obscure in its meanings but an interesting take on romanticism, presented here as a kind of sick monster that we have never exorcised. Byron is depicted as an evil madman, part genius but mostly a nutter.
September 2, 2015
Eeek! A g-g-g-g-goat!
May 21, 2015
Although both budget constraints and Russell's need to crank up the volume to "11" conspire to make this film fail --- if you are familiar with Lord Byron and Shelley, it does offer some genuine insight into artistic genius. ...and cruelty. But it is a loud and crass affair that can never decide if it wants to be funny or a Surrealist take on the Romantics and the night that Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was inspired to create Frankenstein. well as Polidori's concept that became The Vampyre.
December 25, 2014
GOTHIC, directed by Ken Russell, is a rather interesting film that deals with, among other things, the dark side of creativity and imagination. More specifically, it's about the night when Mary Shelley came up with the idea that she would later turn into the novel "Frankenstein." By and large, the performances are quite good, although I didn't really care for Julian Sands. However, the story was almost non-existent and ephemeral, existing merely to have a bunch of people go around saying stuffy lines and get scared out of their wits by creatures borne of their imaginations. Granted, some of these sequences and images were haunting and surreal, but it all added up to a lot of style with very little substance. As far as the score is concerned, I thought that the work Thomas Dolby did was impeccable as far as its musical quality, but some of the cues didn't really fit (to me) with this kind of period piece. The story takes place in the early 19th century, but a lot of the music sounded very 1980's with synthesizers and programmed drums. It's a score that I'd buy, but I'm not too sure that it completely fit the film. From a technical standpoint, I thought it was very well-made, i.e., it was well-lit and the shot composition was varied. There were also some Dutch angles that accentuated the disorienting feel the filmmakers seemed to be going for. Overall, if you're looking for a well-told story that has characters you care about and identify with, this might not be the best choice for you. However, if you like heavily stylized and surreal horror, this will probably suit your fancy.
September 22, 2014
"You will play, as long as you are a guest in my house, you will play the games."-Lord Byron (Gabriel Byrne)

If you wear black and put on heavy masqara, you must watch this film.

"Let death be our witness."-Lord Byron
½ September 15, 2014
As usual for a Ken Russell film, this one is interesting in it's use of other-worldly images, in this case, laudanum dreams and hallucinations. But it lacks the spark that his Mahler film had. Good casting and cinematography, though. However, Mary Shelley never said how her monster came to life. The lightening storm and electrical charges were a Hollywood invention of the 30s Boris Karloff flick.
June 26, 2014
An interesting and fun movie. Chilling for those with sensibilities. Perhaps not historically accurate for the real life characters involved. Worth watching if one likes gothic horror.
½ June 12, 2014
Even for Ken Russell and the 80's this is too much, too weird.
June 9, 2014
A horror story that creates another horror story.
June 2, 2014
Its no secret that Ken Russell is among one of the most disturbing and visual greats, this work is no lesser true of his visual strong points. However its complete bonkers approach, over the top acting and quite frankly confusing 3rd act make it one that not many people will enjoy, if thats what was intended with this piece. Gothic is set in the 1800's where the Lord Byron has been exhiled and banished to an island in Britain. One day Percy, Mary and Claire come to visit the lord and his absolute bonkers Alchimist Dr Polidori. What ensues is a night of lust, fear, hallucingins and bizarre games of sex and torment. Its a wild piece and one that luckily doesnt outstay its welcome. The cast are all wallowing in the chomp of the chat, although if this isnt your cup of tea, you will most likely find it pompous and irritating. Byrne, Sands and Spall all do wonderful jobs with the presentations of Byron, Percy and Polidori, however Spall comes away looking like hes having the most fun out of the ensemble. The women are ok, Myrium Cyr does well enough as the half sister sex magnet and Richardson is palatable as the lead of the whole piece Mary Shelly however her presence isnt realised until the final act, at which point the entire story dives head first into madness and confusion. It is an interesting tale, presumably how Mary Shelly created the horror novel Frankenstein after her traumatic night in Byrons presence but its all a bit all over the place. The final act is just a step too far. However its wonderful location, camera work and thick script, stop the film from being a complete led balloon. Infuriating and bizarre this film is fun, however it has dated and some of the more pretentious attributes will probably not appease a large demographic.
March 28, 2014
I've never heard of this Ken Russell before it was recommended to me. It's a fictionalized account of Mary Shelley, her husband and her sister's visit with Lord Byron and Dr. Polidori and the night they summoned....something which preyed on their fears and nighmares. Four out of the five principal actors (including Gabriel Byrne and Timothy Spall) give really big, scenery chewing performances with only Natasha Richardson (playing Mary Shelley) playing a somewhat believable human character (she seems to be acting in another movie). On top of that, there are quite a bit of freaky, spooky, startling imagery but unfortunately nothing really gels together. It seems to want to be a lot of things (campy horror, black comedy, etc.) but ends up being kind of half-baked. There are some cool, interesting things in there but it's only just okay for me.
March 15, 2014
This movie is, as the British say, completely mental. I knew Ken Russell got weird, but at least in Devils and Altered States and Lair of the White Worm the weirdness was in service of something besides trying my patience, oi veysmir
December 28, 2013
One of Ken Russell's best.
½ November 1, 2013
I've seen it a few times. Don't try to follow a plot but wallow instead in the stunning dark imagery and a night in the company of our most depraved historical figures.
October 24, 2013
The (many) people who hate this film almost unanimously misunderstand it. With Ken Russell, a truly rounded biography doesn't simply narrate events from a subject's life, but tells their story the way they themselves might have told it. On its release, many critics expressed disgust at the film's visuals and criticized Russell for portraying Byron, Polidori, and the Shelleys as little more than drug-addled degenerates...ignoring the fact that if they had been contemporary figures, that is exactly how they would've been perceived by the establishment (and it IS how they were perceived by the establishment in their own time). The dialogue and performances are laughably over-the-top, and the sometimes repulsive, always intense visuals are characteristic of the Russell style, but these extravagances suit the subject perfectly. Many of Ken Russell's films could be considered terrible by any reasonable standard, but one mustn't judge Russell's work by any reasonable standard. Specifically, this film tells the story of the birth of not only Mary Shelley's Frankenstein but also John Polidori's The Vampyre. Lord Byron (Gabriel Byrne) hosts a party at the infamous Villa Diodati for his friend (and rainy-day lover) Percy Shelley (Julian Sands), who brings his fiancée Mary (Natasha Richardson) and her stepsister Clair Clairmont (Miriam Cyr). Also on hand is Dr Polidori (Timothy Spall), to administer the laudanum and glare jealously at Byron and Shelley from the shadows. The group drink laudanum till they hallucinate, they read from the Fantasmagoriana, they play games, they have orgies, and they hold a seance. The seance is where the trouble begins, but Russell argues that without these self-inflicted tortures we would not today be talking about Frankenstein, and the world of letters would be a little less interesting. There's also a great deal of subtext about the changing of the guard from the classical world to the modern world (these people were groundbreaking thinkers as well as artists). Not for everyone (no Russell film is), but if you're game and don't mind a whole lot of excess for its own sake (as this film's subjects surely did), give Gothic a spin!
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