Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gothic (1986)

Directed by:
Ken Russell

Russell's fictional account of one night that will forever change the lives of famed horror authors Mary "Frankenstein" Shelley and John "The Vampyre" Polidori is a wild (and interesting), but highly uneven ride. It's 1816 and the two authors (played by Natasha Richardson and Timothy Spall) are joined by Mary's poet fiancé Percy (Julian Sands), stepsister Claire (Myriam Cyr) and Polidori's ex-lover Lord Byron (Gabriel Byrne), at a picturesque Swiss villa for an evening of scares, sex swapping, and hallucinations brought on by opium and laudanum. It plays almost like a nightmarish version of the prologue from BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935), done in typically outrageous, excessive Russell fashion. HAUNTED SUMMER dealt with the same idea (with the events moved to Italy for some reason), and may actually be more enjoyable to those who get annoyed by Russell's filmmaking style. Now in the public domain, so it's easy to find, cheap to buy and can be viewed many places online for free.


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