[box cover]

Gothic

There's plenty of vintage Ken Russell in this weird, captivating bit of speculative whimsy about the night Frankenstein was born. Natasha Richardson stars as Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, who, with her poet husband Percy Bysse Shelley (Julian Sands), spends an inexplicably strange night at the home of Romantic icon Lord Byron (Gabriel Byrne) and a few other eccentric guests. What ensues is an opiate-fueled nightmare of the truly bizarre nature for which director Russell is quite well known. Although very little of it makes sense, Russell's aggressively odd and striking visuals are unforgettable, the performances are remarkably strong and centered (especially creepy Timothy Spall as Byron's physician Dr. Polidori), and Thomas Dolby's score keeps it all humming along. Too bad this Pioneer disc is presented in pan & scan only (1.33:1) and 2.0 Dolby Surround. Keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr



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