Title: Haunted Summer

Directed by: Ivan Passer

Starring: Eric Stoltz, Laura Dern, Alice Kridge and Alex Winter

Running time: 106 Minutes/Full Screen, Rated R

Part of MGM’s Limited Edition Collection, they have released a manufacture-on-demand of the 1988 film Haunted Summer. The story takes place in the year 1815 where poets Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron, along with Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (soon to be Mrs. Shelley) and Mary’s stepsister Claire spend the summer in opium and sexual bliss which is when Mary found her inspiration to write Frankenstein.

Stoltz, whom young girls from the ’80’s adored his lovesick character in Some Kind of Wonderful released the year before, makes a drastic turn as the polyamorous Percy Shelley. Stoltz’ English accent was kind of on the horrible side, and unfortunately the only nudity you actually get to see is his.

Alice Kridge is a classic beauty who never seems to age; Laura Dern is adorable, but with her shrill voice, I wish she didn’t have so many lines.

Alex Winter plays Lord Byron’s physician Dr. John William Polidori and tormented lover. His acting showed some promise as it showed his serious side prior to the release of  Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

This film is almost a replica of the 1986 film Gothic, starring Gabriel Byrne, Julian Sands and the late Natasha Richardson, and honestly was far superior to Haunted Summer. The scenes in which they appear to be tripping on opium are kind of irritating with the lame filter effects. I have seen classic films with better cinematography, so funding and technology really aren’t an issue. As a whole, the film was very dull and dry.

The film retains its original look and sound, which was disappointing. No special features were applied to the DVD, or restoration to the film; just press play. I would’ve liked at least subtitles when the sound dipped too low to hear and that’s a little insensitive on MGM’s part to the deaf and hard of hearing who cannot view the film; however they’re not going to be completely devastated that they miss out on this one.

Total rating: C

Reviewed by JM Willis

Haunted Summer

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