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1986 Virgin Films poster
|Directed by||Ken Russell|
|Produced by||Al Clark
|Screenplay by||Stephen Volk|
|Story by||Lord Byron
Percy Bysshe Shelley
|Music by||Thomas Dolby|
|Edited by||Michael Bradsell|
Gothic is a 1986 British horror film directed by Ken Russell, starring Gabriel Byrne as Lord Byron, Julian Sands as Percy Bysshe Shelley, Natasha Richardson as Mary Shelley, Myriam Cyr as Claire Clairmont (Mary Shelley's stepsister) and Timothy Spall as Dr. John William Polidori. It features a soundtrack by Thomas Dolby, and marks Richardson's film debut.
The film is a fictionalized retelling of the Shelleys' visit to Lord Byron in Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva, shot in Gaddesden Place. It concerns their competition to write a horror story, which ultimately led to Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein and John Polidori writing The Vampyre. The same event has also been portrayed in the films Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Haunted Summer (1988), among others.
Through her stepsister Claire Clairmont (Myriam 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 Villa Diodati in Switzerland. There they met Byron's physician friend, Dr. John Polidori (Timothy Spall). On 16 June, 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".
- Gabriel Byrne as Lord Byron
- Julian Sands as Percy Bysshe Shelley
- Natasha Richardson as Mary Shelley
- Myriam Cyr as Claire Clairmont
- Timothy Spall as Dr. John William Polidori
- Alec Mango as Murray
- Andreas Wisniewski as Fletcher
- Dexter Fletcher as Rushton
Gothic had a limited theatrical release, grossing $32,061 on its opening weekend. It went on to gross a total of $916,172.
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Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 50%, based on 12 reviews, with a rating average of 5.8/10.According to Dan Ireland, who later worked with Russell, the film was a big success on video.
Awards and honors
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Gothic was nominated for three 1987 International Fantasy Film Awards and won two: Gabriel Byrne won as Best Actor, both for his role as Lord Byron in this film and for his role in Defense of the Realm, and the film won for Best Special Effects. Director Ken Russell was nominated for Best Film but did not win.
- Linehan, Fergus, ed. (17 May 1986). "Backdrop: A Weekly Column on the Arts and Entertainment". The Irish Times. Dublin, Ireland. p. 16.
- Coke, Travis Hedge (14 September 2011). "Ken Russell's GOTHIC, movie review". The Gypsy Art Show. Retrieved 2015-03-13.
- "Gothis 91987) - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo.com. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- "Gothic (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes.com. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- Dan Ireland on The Lair of the White Worm at Trailers From Hell
- Gothic at the Internet Movie Database
- Gothic at the TCM Movie Database
- Gothic at AllMovie
- Gothic at Rotten Tomatoes
- Gothic at Box Office Mojo