In “Gothic,” which airs at 12:15 a.m. ET, director Ken Russell applied his trademark excess to the making of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s story “Frankenstein.” The surreal story is embellished from events which allegedly took place at the Swiss villa of Lord Byron (Gabriel Byrne) on the night of June 16, 1816. In short, it’s what happens when a bunch of writers and poets get together, take drugs, and try and scare the pants off of each other. Like Burning Man, but in a castle. Byron’s guests include poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (Julian Sands) and his future wife Mary (Natasha Richardson); Mary’s half-sister Claire (Myriam Cyr) and Byron’s leech-happy personal physician Dr. John Polidori (Timothy Spall). Byron promises them a night of horror like only a mad poet can deliver — after partaking of laudanum and other hallucinogens, the guests tell ghost stories while exploring the dark corridors of his home. The film is Russell at his finest …and actor Julian Sands at his, well, second finest. Obviously a list is in order.
Here are five Julian Sands’ roles we love:
5. Reg Hunt in “Bollywood Hero”
4. Yves Cloquet in “Naked Lunch”
3. John Swain in “The Killing Fields”
2. Percy Bysshe Shelley in “Gothic”
1. George Emerson in “A Room With a View”
“Gothic” airs on IFC at 12:15 a.m. ET