Gothic (1986)

UK, 1986
35mm film, Eastmancolor, Dolby

A British horror film directed by Ken Russell.

Plot Summary

Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, his wife Mary, his cousin Claire and their doctor friend Polidori convene at the Villa Diodato in Switzerland for a weekend of drugs, sex and literary invention. As the group battle their narcotics fuelled madness, Mary dreams up the basis for what will eventually become her novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.


* = uncredited

Directed by: Ken Russell
© Virgin Vision Ltd., 1986
Polygram Filmed Entertainment. Virgin Vision presents. A Ken Russell film. ‘Gothic‘ was developed in association with Robert Fox
Executive Producers: Al Clark and Robert Devereux
Produced by: Penny Corke
Screenplay by: Stephen Volk
Director of Photography: Mike Southon
Editor: Michael Bradsell
Music Composed by: Thomas Dolby
Sound Mixer: Bruce White
Costume Design: Victoria Russell, Kay Gallwey
Chief Make-Up Artiste: Pat Hay
Chief Hairdresser: Meinir Brock
Hairdresser: Tracey Smith
Special Effects by: Ace Effects
Production Designer: Christopher Hobbs

Gabriel Byrne (Byron)
Julian Sands (Shelley)
Natasha Richardson (Mary Shelley)
Myriam Cyr (Claire)
Timothy Spall (Dr Polidori)
Alec Mango (Murray)
Andreas Wisniewski (Fletcher)
Dexter Fletcher (Rushton)
Pascal King (Justine)
Tom Hickey (tour guide)
Linda Coggin (Turkish mechanical woman)
Kristine Landon-Smith (mechanical woman)
Chris Chappel (man in armour)
Mark Pickard (young William)
Kiran Shah (Fuseli monster)
Christine Newby, Kim Tillesly (Shelley fans)
Ken Russell [tourist] *

Alternative Titles

Yövieraat – Finland
Gotyk – Poland

See also
Haunted Summer (1988)
Remando al viento (1987)



  • Broadcast 9 May 1986 p.28 – credits
  • Cinema Papers no.64 (July 1987) pp.53-54
  • City Limits no.282 (26 February 1987) p.23; 27 – “interview” with Mary Shelley; review
  • Empire no.193 (July 2005) p.170 – illustrated DVD review (RWD: Gothic by Alan Morrison
  • Film (BFFS) vol.3 no.2 (February 1987) pp.6, 8
  • Films and Filming no.389 (February 1987) pp.37-38
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.296 no.47 (23 April 1987) p.3, 7
  • The Listener vol.117 no.3000 (26 February 1987) p.30
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.54 no.637 (February 1987) pp.47-48 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.54 no.638 (March 1987) p.95 – note
  • Première February 1987 p.14 – review (by Stella Molitor)
  • Screen International no.517 (5 October 1985) p.71
  • Screen International no.538 (8 March 1986) p.112 – advert
  • Screen International no.544 (19 April 1986) p.6- note
  • Screen International no.545 (26 April 1986) p.6
  • Screen International no.550 (31 May 1986) pp.17, 18 – credits
  • Screen International no.575 (22 November 1986) p.1 – note
  • Screen International no.575 (22 November 1986) p.53 – note
  • Screen International no.585 (31 January 1987) p.26
  • Sight and Sound vol.55 no.4 (Autumn 1986) p.222 – note
  • Spectator vol.12 no.2 (Spring 1992) pp.26-33 – illustrated article (The romantic ut pictura biographica: Ken Russell’s Gothic by Anne Ciecko)
  • Starburst no.103 (March 1987) pp.12-13, 14 – illustrated credits, review (by Alan Jones)
  • Strange Adventures vol.2 no.7 (no.19 August 1990) pp.16-18 – illustrated article (Film folk by Kevin Lyons)
  • Time Out no.862 (25 February 1987) pp.16-17; 31 – article; review
  • Variety 10 December 1986 pp.15, 18


  • 500 Essential Cult Movies: The Ultimate Guide by Jennifer Eiss with J.P. Rutter and Steve White p.247 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.405
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.279-80, 279, 288, 301
  • The Films of the Eighties by Robert A. Nowlan and Gwendolyn Wright Nowlan p.228
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films IV by Donald C. Willis p.210-211
  • Horror Films of the 1980s by John Kenneth Muir pp.504-505 – credits, synopsis, review