“Lock up the kids and blindfold your granny; Ken Russell is at it again" — Peter Travers, People
Come and take a trip with us! We are proud and excited to announce a celebration of the one and only Ken Russell: one of the UK’s most visionary and maverick directors. Join us as we blow our minds with two of Russell’s most daring, drug fuelled and hallucinatory films: the mind-bending cult science fiction classic Altered States (1980) and the nightmarish take on the origins of Frankenstein, Gothic (1986) – the film that Variety called «The thinking man’s Nightmare on Elm Street»; which the Sunday Times re-titled: «Five Go Mad on Laudanum»; and, of which, a reader’s letter to The People, said «Surely it is time Russell stopped producing this sick rubbish...».
Gothic is Russell’s flamboyant and hysterical interpretation of the origins and myths of Frankenstein. It won International Fantasy film Award for Best Special Effects (1987); Russell was nominated for Best director. It is 1816, the ‘Year Without Summer’: Mary Shelley (the late, lamented Natasha Richardson), the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (Julian Sands) and Mary's half-sister Claire (Miriam Cyr) descend on the Villa Diodati, on the shores of Lake Geneva, the home of the ‘mad bad and dangerous to know’ Lord Byron (Gabriel Byrne – winner of the International Fantasy Film Award for Best Actor (1987)). There, with Byron’s lover Dr John Polidori (Tim Spall), they will take part in a heady, hallucinatory, maniacal and phantasmagorical night of sex, drugs and ghosts stories, out of which something monstrous will be born…
In Altered States (based on and adapted from Paddy Chayefsky’s novel), scientist Edward Jessup (Willam Hurt) places himself at the centre of a series of dangerous drug fuelled, psychotropic experiments with sensory deprivation and isolation in order to explore other, more primal states of consciousness – but once on the trip, will he ever come back?
We are also extremely excited and pleased to announce that the BAFTA-winning writer of Gothic, Stephen Volk, will be our special guest and will take part in a Q&A after the film. Gothic was Stephen’s very first produced screenplay and he went on to pen the notorious TV event of 1992, the terrifying Ghostwatch (BBC) a mockumentary featuring Michael Parkinson as himself. He also worked with director William Friedkin on The Guardian (1990), and wrote the chilling ghost story The Awakening (2011) starring Rebecca Hall. Stephen was the creator and lead writer of the award-winning drama series Afterlife (ITV 2005-6) starring Lesley Sharp and Andrew Lincoln, and is also the author of dozens of short stories and acclaimed novellas. His next book will be The Dark Masters Trilogy, from PS Publishing in Autumn 2018.
Altered States will be introduced and discussed by Dr Matt Melia, Senior Lecturer in film and television at Kingston University, and specialist in the works of Ken Russell and Stanley Kubrick.
The day will include a Ken Russell Quiz, prizes and other surprises and treats (to be revealed) – feel free to come in Ken Russell fancy dress! A tasty mid-afternoon freshly-made supper will be served in the bar, provided by our friends The Greenhouse Café, Deptford. There will be vegan, vegetarian and meat options (regrettably, all food contains gluten) — please select your food (or no food option) from the ticket options.