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Admirers luxuriated in his overripe, gothic sensibility _ on display once again in “Gothic,” a 1987 film about the genesis of Mary Shelley’s horror tale “Frankenstein” replete with such hallucinatory visuals as breasts with eyes and mouths spewing cockroaches.

Russell said his depiction of a drug-addled Percy Bysshe Shelley was an accurate depiction of the time.

“Everyone in England in the 19th century was on a permanent trip. He must have been stoned out of his mind for years,” Russell said. “I know I am.”

Russell’s fascination with changing mental states also surfaced in 1980 film “Altered States,” a rare Hollywood foray for him, starring William Hurt as a scientist experimenting with hallucinogens.

Later films included the comic horror thriller “The Lair of the White Worm” in 1988, which gave an atypical early role to Hugh Grant as a vampire worm-battling lord of the manor.

Russell also directed operas and made the video for Elton John’s “Nikita.”

Married four times, Russell is survived by his wife Elize Tribble and his children.

The director’s son, Alex Verney-Elliott, said Russell died in a hospital Sunday following a series of strokes. Russell lived in the town of Lymington in southern England.

“My father died peacefully,” Verney-Elliott said. “He died with a smile on his face.”

His widow said Russell was working on a musical feature film of “Alice in Wonderland” when he died.

Funeral details were not immediately announced.


Associated Press writers Meera Selva and Robert Barr contributed to this report.