Gothic 1986

Amazon Instant Video

(17) IMDb 5.7/10
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Ken Russell is in his element, revelling in psychodramas and sexual abandon as an impromptu party on Lake Geneva leads to a ghoulish night of terror. Lord Byron and his companion Dr Polidori play host to Shelley and his mistress Mary. As a violent storm rages, conversation turns to ghost stories.

Starring:
Gabriel Byrne,Julian Sands
Runtime:
1 hour, 23 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

Gothic

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller, Horror
Director Ken Russell
Starring Gabriel Byrne, Julian Sands
Supporting actors Natasha Richardson, Myriam Cyr, Timothy Spall, Alec Mango, Dexter Fletcher
Studio Echelon
BBFC rating Suitable for 18 years and over
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Paul Ess. on 1 Mar. 2008
Format: DVD
Considering he's supposed to be 'obsessed with the image' Ken Russell's 'Gothic' is notable for what it leaves to the imagination. Russell is no tyro-hack; he's seen 'the Haunting' and 'the Innocents' and knows an in-tune audience will pick up subtle terrors which may (or may not) be glowering in dark corner...or in the dull recess of a guilty imagination.
Is that a branch scraping the window, or something much more sinister trying to gain access? Russell's anti-thriller gives no answers ~ even in a rather disquieting epilogue, where the excesses of the previous night are 'explained.'

Briefly: Don Boyd at Virgin Vision had a literate Steven Volk script on his hands. The core plot had Percy and Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, his pregnant lover Claire, and a snide, repressed biographer, Dr. Polidori, all spending Saturday night at a mansion in Geneva.
Thought Don: let's see what happens if we give 'em loads of drugs, vats of wine, throw in a thunder-storm, a haunting, some scene-stealing goats..and let 'em go.
Now, who do we get to direct? Hmm...

Russell doesn't disappoint (he NEVER does; all his films, good or bad, have got something of interest in them) and his puckish imagination is at full throttle here.
It's a memorably furious and gloriously upsetting picture. You can feel that creepiness as the protagonists decide to hold a séance: to beckon their darkest fears to exist in this world. Russell has a field day illustrating in detail what a houseful of stoned, tortured geniuses are afraid of (and capable of !) in the depths of their debasement, with their guard temporarily down.

One grotesque tableau follows another: Russell - up-front as usual - never makes it easy for the rattled viewer.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Choren on 19 April 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you really know what does the genre gothic means, then you will love this film. Ken Russell depicts with images what Goya says in his engraving "The sleep of reason produces monsters". This film is an oniric voyage created by opium and by the characters' fears. Gothic, as literary critic Fred Botting describes: "signifies a writing of excess". This is what Russell does, a film full of excesses and of a constant battle between otherness. This in an excellent movie. I also recommend an excellent film full of gothic elements, Svankmajer's "Conspirators of Pleasure".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Brookes on 17 Nov. 2013
Format: DVD
I've not watched this film in many years so I thought I'd give it another watch to see if it stands up and I'm pleased to say that it does. It's an unusual horror film that says more about the imagination and its ability to conjure terror, especially when helped by copious indulgence in opiates!

The film tells the story of a night hosted by Lord Byron when he is visited by his friend the poet Shelley and his mistress (later to become Mary Shelley), from this party two classics of the horror genre are spawned Polidori's 'The Vampire' and Shelley's 'Frankenstein'. The party starts with a sceance to create a ghost built from all of their personal fears. Their creation then haunts them through a horror filled night.

The characters are a joy to watch and are a mixed bunch, I always enjoy watching Gabriel Byrne in action and his ability to play dark characters works well with his portrayal of Lord Byron. The other charcters are fun as well, especially Shelley (although he does come across as a little overdramatic at times, but that does fit with the story and the role) and the Doctor is excellent as the weak link in the group.

The two female characters are less impressive, but still do their jobs well. The horror in the film touches on the metaphysical as well as the psychological and even better does not rely on gore or shock to get the message across. There's a definite sense of dread as the film gets going.

The one reall off note for me was the music, for some of the scenes (such as the barn) it's a little unimaginitive and seems at odds with style of the film. Still that's not a major issue and overall this is an excellent horror film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Yoga Punguin on 8 Jan. 2010
Format: DVD
I first found this movie on a $1 budget-DVD "Double Feature." I was very disappointed by Dolby's first chords because I thought they gave the film a very cheap, amateurish quality. Despite that fact, I think this is certainly worth a watch.

You may indeed have to know a bit about the people involved to truly appreciate it or maybe you can just enjoy it as a colorful, wild ride through bizarre places usually visited by only madmen, poets, and the intoxicated. Some reviewers complain about the incredible behavior of the characters but I've been around "stoned", pretentious, creative types. When someone else is paying the bills, much strangeness often ensues.

I would love to see this re-released with an orchestral score instead of Dolby's synthesizer music.

I bought this here because my cheap version has no subtitles and the picture quality is terrible. I'll watch it as soon as I finish typing this. The delivery was pretty quick - I live in the States - and the price was very fair.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. M. Zielinski on 8 May 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Very lucid, surreal and frantic at times, portrays one of most important moments in history of fantastic literature. Symbolic, with unique visions (which is Russel's trademark). Good acting, including late Natasha Richardson and Julian Sands. Shame this is only "bare-bones" edition, with no extras added - I believe they exist, or may be created one day? Anyway, one of best horror-related British movies of 80's.
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