Plot: We travel back to an era of English romanticism, specifically the night when Mary Shelley and poet husband Percy had a sleepover at Lord Byron's palatial estate, exchanged a few ghost stories, and gave birth to Frankenstein. Apparently, this night included a bunch of hide-and-go-seek and fighting off dwarf attacks.
Ken Russell's a director stuffed with bizarre ideas, and his films have a visual appeal. Gothic has some creative energy, but it's this really sluggish creative energy. Reimagining the night these crazy kids got together and inspired Shelley's horror novel, all the blending of reality and nightmare, is interesting movie subject matter. And there are some nifty visuals, like that suit of armor with a strap-on and the little fella featured on the poster. And you've got a strange but intriguing soundtrack provided by Thomas "She Blinded Me with Science" Dolby. But watching this movie was like wading through a filthy swamp. The period setting and stagy dialogue with freak-out interludes grew tiresome really quickly, and it's all so pretentious. It seems strange to say that since the majority of the movie involved the characters playing hide-and-seek, but it was. Fine characters, fine acting, a great scenario, some cool visuals and music. It just doesn't add up to anything that mattered to me at all. It's faux-intellectualism, flimsy and damp, a movie that drowns in itself. I was tempted to keep my finger on the fast-forward button, but I was terrified I'd miss a nipple.