It's been well documented that Mary Shelley (Natasha Richardson) visited Lord Byron (Gabriel Byrne) and his biographer Dr. Polidori (Timothy Spall) in Geneva with her husband and stepsister during the stormy summer of 1816, was challenged to write a ghost story, got the idea of Frankenstein from a nightmare and began a short story which eventually became a novel.
Ken Russell takes that and runs with it, there's a seance and a reading of a pornographic ghost story. Percy Shelley (Julian Sands) prances about naked on the roof during a thunderstorm, Byron has a robot stripper in his bedroom and there's stuff with leeches. If it's possible for an entire film to be a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment, this is one.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: For the Shelleys. The real ones both had dark hair, these versions are both blonde.
- BrotherSister Incest: Byron and his (half) sister Augusta in the backstory. Now she's dead, he gets one of his maids to wear a mask of her during sex.
- Domestic Abuse: Byron kicks Claire in the face and threatens to shove her head in the fire after she makes a joke about his club foot, no-one seems particulary troubled. He's pretty aggressive towards her throughout.
- Eyes Do Not Belong There: Shelley has a nightmare featuring Claire with eyes on her nipples.
- Gayngst: Polidori.
- He-Man Woman Hater: Byron is portrayed as one, for some reason. The real Byron wasn't.
- Historical Domain Character: All five leads.
- Only Sane Man: Mary, to begin with. Though even she starts to lose it later on.
- The Ophelia: Claire.
- Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny: Seems to be troubling Polidori.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: The electronic Dolby music is at odds with the period setting.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: There's a dinner scene, barely any of the dinner actually gets eaten.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: With added supernatural elements and general Ken Russellness.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Mary throws up onscreen when she sees Claire crawling around in the mud with a rat in her mouth.