MovieChat Forums > Gothic (1986) Discussion > The most bizzare movie in history?

The most bizzare movie in history?


We looked for some messed up movies while browsing the horror section at a local movie store, and came across Gothic. Normally renting movies such as Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm street we took a strech from the norm and got this. WTF were we thinking? This movie is filled with Bi-Sexual tension between the whole cast, not to mention mind numbing idiocy. This movie is truly one that you can't understand unless your under large amounts of drugs. Unfortunantly we were not and that's why I have no clue what the f*** went on in this show. From the girl with eyes instead of nipples, to the little dude on the box with claws, and dead babies floating in the ocean, this movie had me guessing from the beginning to the end.

- Highly Recommended.

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Far from it. There's a whole thread on bizarre/weird movies on the Eraserhead board; your local video store will not have most of these, you will need to go to an internet mail order rental firm or buy.

However, you always get your money's worth with Ken Russell, he certainly throws everything he can think of at the screen - see also "Lair of the White Worm" and "Altered States" which are two of the most deliriously over-the-top movies it's been my good fortune to witness.

Sadly no-one seems prepared to give Russell the money to make proper films any more and he is reduced to shooting on digital video in his own living room. A great loss to world cinema in my view.

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Not THE most bizarre, but certainly out there. I thought it was laughable. Really can't think of a reason I'd ever want to watch it again.

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For a laugh?

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Ha. For a laugh. You are awesome.

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I love all u mentioned, huge Russell fan. although, altered states is a masterwork. the other two, while entertaining with great visuals, are not near the quality lol

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Actually (unfortunately)I could not watch the movie from the beginning. But I will certainly buy it's cd. Yes this is a very bizzare or weird movie but I think ýt's wonderfull. First of all I think that this is a very typical Ken Russel movie. I did not watch much of his films (what a shame)
but I had seen the one which tells the life of Tchaikovsky and I had been shocked. It was so disturbing, schocking and bloýod-curdling movie. And of course ýt was great as it was wery accord with Tchaikovsky. The feelings of such a person, could only showed up this way. As to this movie, everything which was told here is true. It's how Maryy Shelley inspired to write Frankenstein. Yet the atmosphere of the movie was similarly accord with the characters in it. Shelley is really very interesteng, admiring very talented yet lunatic person. His writings and poems are extraordinary beautifull and sensitiv quite like Byron. But like I said both of them are lunatics esp. Shelley and their relationships are very unusual. Shelley has got a tendency to suicide and always suffers from hallucinations. In short this is very beautiful and succesfull movie. And extraordinarily reflects their souls,senses and feelings.

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[deleted]

Yeah i did not understand this movie at all. It was fun to watch even though half the time i had no idea what was going on. And i have to agree that was ALOT of same sex sexual tension. (kind sick!) That guy-on-guy kiss made no sense to me whatsoever so does anyone know how to explain WHY it happened? Very weird movie.

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Perhaps you should try being a little more open-minded? The first step to enjoying films that aren't just your usually Hollywood rubbish is to lose some of those rather sad prejudices and being a little more accepting to alternate ideas. Getting all squeamish because (horror of horrors!) a man kissed another man is a bit pathetic, really; perhaps you'd be better off sticking to High School Musical?

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--Getting all squeamish because (horror of horrors!) a man kissed another man is a bit pathetic, really; perhaps you'd be better off sticking to High School Musical?--

I haven't seen this film yet, but I like Ken Russel and would put Altered States in my top ten list. Telling you this so you know where I'm coming from when I call you an idiot.
Someone says that a man-man kiss in a movie 'made no sense' to them, and seemed unwarranted, and you accuse them of being prejudiced and pathetic. And what's worse you felt the need to throw in "perhaps you'd be better off sticking to High School Musical?" ...I hate people like you.

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[deleted]

He also said that the same-sex tension was "kinda sick" - it seemed pretty homophobic to me as well. Get off that high horse.

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the sick same sex sexual tension might be explainable with the fact that byron and polidori had some kind of relationship and the whole group was on drugs/on the edge of a mental breakdown.

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So I gather you're a homophobe? You sound like one.

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Did you mean to respond to someone else's post or what is this about?

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The poet Byron, in real life, was bisexual. Both Percy Shelley and Mary Shelley believed in free love, and they were all quite young and radical (politically and socially), so experimentation was a game.

Byron was 28 in 1816, already notorious as a famous poet (and seducer of other men's wives, not to mention his half-sister). Mary Shelley was 18. Percy Shelley was 24. Polidori was 21 and gay, and (to judge by his portrait) far better-looking than Timothy Spall. He was a legitimate doctor & a scholar. Russell invented all the stuff about him being so sleazy--which reveals something about Russell's own prejudices. Whether Shelley and Byron were romantically involved is a matter of speculation, but Mary's half-sister Claire did have a child by Byron. She was also about 18.

What really happened that evening is that 5 young and very talented people sat around on a stormy night and read ghost stories aloud, and then went off and wrote their own, as a competition. Everything else is Russell's own phantasmagoria.

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The movie actually DOES make absolute sense if you know a bit about the Shelleys and Byron and have read their work.

-The Romantic poets always searched for "sublime" experiences--moments of extreme pleasure and beauty and/or pain and terror. Hence they were into free love, using opium to inspire themselves, breaking social norms, crawling around ruined castles during rainstorms, etc.

-Shelley was suicidal and would constantly put himselves in dangerous positions, hoping to die. In the movie we see several scenes which illustrate this: when he's standing naked on the rooftop and when Mary finds him lying in the bathtub. He eventually died by drowning after he went boating in an unseaworthy vessel during a rainstorm, knowing he couldn't swim.

-Byron was in fact bisexual and seduced practically everyone he encountered. His depravity alienated him from his wife Augusta, who divorced him and caused a scandal which sent him into exile from England. He was basically the Oscar Wilde of his time--just really into sexual encounters that weren't at all acceptable during the nineteenth century [like sodomy and whatever it was he was doing with those robots].

-Mary's final hallucinatory experience, when she's trapped in the room with the doors, is basically a vision of the future. She witnesses the deaths of her children, Clara's child, Byron, Shelley [he's swimming, then has dirt thrown on his face], and Polidori.

-The book Frankenstein deals with issues of creation of life by men [as opposed to women], which in the movie and in the book is depicted as unnatural and dangerous. The baby imagery of the movie recalls Mary's recent miscarriage, which was on her mind as she wrote the book.

Hopefully this info will help some people to understand the movie.

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augusta was byron`s sister ,his wife was anne.

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Augusta was his step-sister, with whom he is believed to have fathered a daughter, Elizabeth. So the original post, while technically inaccurate, captures the spirit of the relationship admirably.

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Augusta was not his step-sister. She was his half-sister, by the same father and different mother (the first wife of Lord Byron's father). They were not brought up together and only first met when he was 15 and she was 20. She married a Colonel Leigh, who was officially the father of her daughter Elizabeth. There were lots of rumours about an incestuous relationship between Lord Byron and his sister Augusta, and it is probably because of those rumours that he was forced to leave England. The identity of Elizabeth's real father is an open question.

Byron's wife was called Annabella.


better sorry than safe

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I was rather lost watching this movie, also. Thanks, trippycheez, for the rundown of the characters...really helped make some sense of the film.

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trippycheez- just wanted to say that your post is one of the best explanations I have read on the entire board. You are absolutely spot on with all of your comments. I just wanted to add a couple details.

After Byron's wife divorced him, I believe she committed suicide, which markedly upped the scandal factor. And his sexual proclivities and deviances, and wild behavior were legendary. It might have been helped along by the fact that he was, as many historians have concluded, routinely sexually molested by, oh I can't remember if it was his aunt, or his mother, or what- whoever Lady Caroline was, starting at a very young age.

For those that think the movie doesn't make sense, or was contrived and over the top, and a meaningless story about a weird group of people who party all weekend, and its unrealisitic that an laudanum, an opiate, could produce such hallucinations- let me say this:

Understand that Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Lord Byron, and their circle of writer friends were Victorian England's equivalent of modern-day ROCK STARS. They were celebrities. They were the celebrated creative talent of their era. First of all, I think Russell went over the top with the hallucinatory visions not to be gratuitously sensationalist, but to illustrate the enormous imaginations of these talented writers. I mean, two of the top horror classics, to this day, came out of that weekend. And from what I've read, laudanum, in excessive amounts, could produce pronounced hallucinatory effects. And I'm fairly certain they were jacked up on it all weekend.

I think it would have been more meaningful, and less confusing, if it would have included a bit more about their backgrounds, because it would "bring it all home" about the significance of the events there, and how the famous stories came to be (each of them had something to do with the personal issues of the author), but I don't see how it could have been done in the movie, and yet keep it under about 5 hours. Just an example- its a fairly widely held belief that Mary's half-sister Claire was emotionally a little bit high-strung- and not only was she dating Lord Byron, but she also bought into Percy's "free love" concept, and for awhile was openly sleeping with her sister's husband. Mary seemed to adopt the "open" marraige philosophy, but she was never truly happy with the arrangement- but she went along with it because she loved Percy.

Anyways, sorry to get long-winded, but I'm saying you're right- the conundrum of the movie is this- a movie is the telling of a story, but it's not completely effective if you don't know the story "behind" the story. For those who know about, or decide to learn about the historical basis of the movie- the story becomes crystal clear, and I think it's tremedously well done.

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Just on the Laudanum:

Laudanum wasn't a drug as f.e. xtc, weed or whatever...It was a medecin, and often used for all sorts of pains, illnesses etc. .Samuel Taylor Coleridge f.e. started using it as a 'medical treatment', bot got addicted to it...

Shelley used Laudanum because he suffered from nightmares and sleepwalking ever since he was a kid (he even got punished for it while at school). So he as wel used it as a medical treatment. However, people didn't know that this same laudanum, an opiate, could cause hallucinations itself...the use of laudanum as seen in the film, seems rather exagerated...If laudanum had been a recreational drug, I'm not sure shelley would have used it, he even didn't drink alcohol (see his vindication on a vegetabel diet)

Second, Shelley wasn't really 'famous' before he died...The image of shelley as we know him today, was created by Lady Jane Shelley (wife of shelley's son percy florence). When he died, englisch newspapers reported that shelley, a poet of some 'infidel poetry' had died. He was know as the atheist, and therefore despised. Byron on the other hand was famous both for his scandalous behavior and for his 'childe harold'

On shelley,read the very interesting 'The Pursuit', by Richard Holmes!

(srry for the bad english!)

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"Laudanum wasn't a drug as f.e. xtc, weed or whatever...It was a medecin, and often used for all sorts of pains, illnesses etc. .Samuel Taylor Coleridge f.e. started using it as a 'medical treatment', bot got addicted to it..."

Yes, you're right. I didn't mean for my comments on their usage of it to be interpreted as "hee,hee- lets pass the party bowl of chemicals and get LIT!!" And laudanum was a medicinal treatment in much the same way as cocaine was, sold in pharmacies in the U.S. until about 1917. But the fact remains that it was a powerful opiate-

"However, people didn't know that this same laudanum, an opiate, could cause hallucinations itself..."

Please don't take offense, but in my opinion that statement is sort of like saying people don't know that drinking alcohol can make you lose your balance and see double. Laudanum was medicinal, but the extreme high wasn't exactly considered a drawback.. And in their society, it was widely considered to be a discreet alternative to going to an opium den. I think it would be more to the point to state that Shelley probably wasn't aware of the health risks of it, as opposed to alcohol.

I acknowledge the correction on Shelley's fame. I should have said he was part of Byron's "entourage",so he was a VIP by proxy.

Anyway, just wanted to clarify. And I do agree that the movie most likely did exaggerate the effects, but I think that was to illustrate the magnitude of their imaginations. And with Byron around, you never know.:) He was a party boy.

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After Byron's wife divorced him, I believe she committed suicide, which markedly upped the scandal factor. And his sexual proclivities and deviances, and wild behavior were legendary. It might have been helped along by the fact that he was, as many historians have concluded, routinely sexually molested by, oh I can't remember if it was his aunt, or his mother, or what- whoever Lady Caroline was, starting at a very young age.

Annabella certainly did not commit suicide after their divorce; she long outlived Byron (and their daughter) and obsessed over him until her death.
And Lady Caroline Lamb certainly wasn't molesting Byron at a young age--they didn't even meet til 1812!
Allegations of sexual molestation are by no means common, but there are numerous accounts of Byron's being physically and mentally abused by various caretakers as a child.

While the movie has its basis in truth--that is things that actually happened--there is a great deal in the movie that was altered or even fabricated out of whole cloth. It hsould not be viewed as literal history, but as a creative interpretation of Frankenstein's genesis.

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Byron and Annabella were never divorced. They remained separated for the eight years Byron had left to live, after he left England in self-imposed exile, and Annabella was his nominal widow for the 36 years she lived on after his death.

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VISIONS OF SUFFERING

is the most bizarre.

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I am fairly certain that the grand-daddy of bizzare films is "The Andalusian Dog." It's a fairly short piece, less than 15 minutes I believe. It predates just about everything in terms of film.

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1929 doesn't predate everything by a long shot, but yes, it is one of the earliest avant-garde films with dreamlike/nightmarish imagery. It was also the first film the Paris Surrealists accepted as a truly Surrealist film.

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"Claire understands"

That line has been a long running joke among my friends after seeing this movie. We STILL don't know what Claire understands but we took comfort in the fact that at least SOMEONE understood!

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