- Year of Film
- Ken Russell
- Gabriel Byrne, Julian Sands, Natasha Richardson, Myriam Cyr, Timothy Spall, Alec Mango, Andreas Wisniewski, Dexter Fletcher, Pascal King
- Origin of Film
- Genre(s) of Film
- Type of Poster
- Style of Poster
- Origin of Poster
- Year of Poster
- Paul Dufficey
- Size (inches)
- 30 2/16" x 39 15/16"
- SS or DS
- "Conjure up your deepest darkest fear. Then call that fear to life."
This British quad for Ken Russell‘s 1986 horror film Gothic features artwork by Paul Dufficey. From what I can gather the artist was a long-time collaborator with the late director and had worked on four of his previous films, including Tommy. It appears from his IMDb profile that he worked as a production and set designer and for Gothic he created ‘portraits’, which presumably included the work on this posters.
Russell’s film was written by Stephen Volk and is a fictionalised retelling of the visit by Percy Shelley (Julian Sands) and his later wife Mary (Natasha Richardson in her first film role) to the Swiss villa of Lord Byron (Gabriel Byrne). There they also meet Byron’s friend, the physician Dr. John Polidori (Timothy Spall) One evening, whilst a storm rages outside, the group tell each other horror stories and reveal intimate secrets about themselves. This meeting was apparently the inspiration for Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein and for Polidori to pen The Vampyre, both of which were groundbreaking novels in the horror genre.
The images on this poster are clearly inspired by classic gothic artwork, particularly the woman splayed across a bed. This references a painting called The Nightmare by the Anglo-Swiss artist Henry Fuseli which was painted in 1781. It depicts a creepy imp sitting on top of a sleeping woman and this same imagery features in Gothic. The imp is played by Kiran Shah, a dwarf actor and stuntman who has featured in several blockbusters such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and was a stuntman on all three of the Hobbit films.
Apparently the film was not much of a success at the box office but was popular on home video. I’m certain it has something to do with the distributor using a creepy photo of Shah on top of a woman, which must have enticed a fair few punters to rent the film. I doubt it met the expectations of all out horror that the cover suggested for many though!