6 Shots From 6 Films: RIP, Stuart Gordon


6 Shots From 6 Films is just what it says it is, 6 shots from 6 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 6 Shots From 6 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Rest in peace, Stuart Gordon.

6 Shots From 6 Films

Re-Animator (1985, dir by Stuart Gordon)

Castle Freak (1995, dir by Stuart Gordon)

Space Truckers (1996, dir by Stuart Gordon)

Dagon (2001, dir by Stuart Gordon)

Edmond (2005, dir by Stuart Gordon)

Stuck (2007, dir by Stuart Gordon)

4 Shots From 4 Films: Castle Freak, Lord of Illusions, Species, Village of the Damned


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, we’re using 4 Shots From 4 Films to look at some of the best years that horror has to offer!

4 Shots From 4 1995 Horror Films

Castle Freak (1995, dir by Stuart Gordon)

Lord of Illusions (1995, dir by Clive Barker)

Species (1995, dir by Roger Donaldson)

Village of the Damned (1995, dir by John Carpenter)

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Stuart Gordon Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

This October, I am going to be using our 4 Shots From 4 Films feature to pay tribute to some of my favorite horror directors, in alphabetical order!  That’s right, we’re going from Argento to Zombie in one month!

Today’s director: Stuart Gordon!

4 Shots From 4 Films

Re-Animator (1985, dir by Stuart Gordon)

From Beyond (1986, dir by Stuart Gordon)

Castle Freak (1995, dir by Stuart Gordon)

Dagon (2001, dir by Stuart Gordon)

The Daily Horror Grindhouse: Castle Freak (dir by Stuart Gordon)


CastleFreakposter

Originally released in 1996, Castle Freak is a film that I watched a few years ago and seriously, it totally freaked me out!  Seriously, this is one truly creepy, scary, and disturbing film.  I imagine that I’m not alone in having nightmares after watching Castle Freak.

Castle Freak takes place in Italy and yes, the main setting is a castle.  (One the reasons why Castle Freak was so effective in freaking me out is because I have actually been to Italy and I have stepped inside castles much like the one featured in this film.)  The castle belonged to a duchess who has recently passed away.  The duchess’s son, Giorgio, is still alive.  The duchess it seems was a bit insane and, after being abandoned by her husband, she was so angry that she had Giorgio chained up in the basement.  After being trapped for years, Giorgio has reverted to a feral state, speaking in grunts and growls.  Horribly disfigured, Giorgio is served a meal a day by a frightened maid.  When Giorgio finally escapes (via breaking off his own thumb so he can slip out of his manacles), he is looking for revenge against humanity.

Giorgio is probably one of the most frightening monsters in cinematic history but yet, like all great monsters, he is as much a victim as a villain.  One reason why the film works is that, even though you’re terrified of Giorgio, you can’t blame him for being angry.  Indeed, one of the film’s strongest moments come when Giorgio sees his reflection for the first time and wails at the sight.  Jonathan Fuller gives a great performance as Giorgio.

Just as Giorgio escape, the duchess’s last remaining descendants move into the castle.  John Reilly (Jeffrey Combs) is a recovering alcoholic.  Years ago, a drunk John had an automobile accident, which led to the death of his son and the blinding of his teenage daughter, Rebecca (Jessica Dollarhide).  His wife, Susan (Barbara Crampton), cannot bring herself to forgive John for the accident.

Though neither is initially aware of the other’s existence, there’s an obvious bond between John and Giorgio.  Much as the duchess never forgave Giorgio, Susan will never forgive John.  Giorigio was held prisoner by chains while John was held prisoner by both his own guilt and Susan’s anger.  Both of them are capable of monstrous acts with the only difference being that John has yet to totally surrender his humanity to his rage.  It’s somewhat appropriate that, after John picks up a prostitute from town, it’s Giorgio who ends up killing her because Giorgio really is John’s id unleashed.  And now, John’s entire family is in danger to falling victim to that id.

Castle Freak is a frightening movie, one that mixes shocking gore with other more subtle scares.  Director Stuart Gordon makes good use of the castle’s ominous atmosphere and he also gets wonderful performances from his entire cast, with Jeffrey Combs as the stand-out.  This is a scary and gory film that was truly made for intelligent adults.

And finally, that scene where the blind Rebecca talks about her hopes and dreams while Giorgio stands unseen beside her?

Pure nightmare fuel.

4 Shots From 4 Films: The Dunwich Horror, Dagon, The Call of Cthulhu, The Whisperer in Darkness


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films.  As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

This edition of 4 Shots From 4 Films is dedicated to H.P. Lovecraft, on the occasion of his 125th birthday.

4 Shots From 4 Films

The Dunwich Horror (1970, directed by Daniel Haller)

The Dunwich Horror (1970, directed by Daniel Haller)

Dagon (2001, directed by Stuart Gordon)

Dagon (2001, directed by Stuart Gordon)

The Call of Cthulhu (2005, directed by Andrew Leman)

The Call of Cthulhu (2005, directed by Andrew Leman)

The Whisperer in Darkness (2011, directed by Sean Branney)

The Whisperer in Darkness (2011, directed by Sean Branney)

Quickie Review: Re-Animator (dir. by Stuart Gordon)


When one discusses horror films during the 1980’s the talk will ultimately turn into whether one has seen a particular film. The film was a film adaptation of a little-known H.P. Lovecraft short story penned  through chapter installments between 1921 through 1922. While this short story wasn’t considered one of Lovecraft’s finest creations it did inspire one filmmaker to use it as the basis for his own take on the classic “Frankenstein monster”.

In 1985, Stuart Gordon directed what would become one of horror’s biggest cult classics with his adaptation of the aforementioned Lovecraft tale with the film Re-Animator. The film would take certain liberties with the original source material which in the end was the better for it.

Re-Animator is about a young, promising doctor named Herbert West whose research into trying to revive the dead would have him kicked out of the Swiss university where had been doing his research. West would relocate to Miskatonic University in Arkham, Massachusetts to continue his research in secret. During his research he would gain a partner in Dan, the medical student whose house he’s renting a room, after a chance discovery of one of West’s experiment’s with the reagent that brings the dead back to life.

The film plays out very much like the lurid EC Comics of the 50’s and early 60’s. From the over-serious dialogue and lurid look of the film, Re-Animator was very much a pulp horror with a sci-fi bent to the proceedings. It was also a film which reveled in the slapstick way gore was used to highlight scenes when the zombie-like corpses injected with the glowing green reagent came back to violent life. It was one of the very few films with zombies in it where the zombies were not flesh-eaters of the Romero variety which everyone had tried to copy to certain degrees of failure.

If all the blood and gore in the film wasn’t enough Re-Animator would cement it’s place in exploitation horror history with a scene involving the character of Megan (played by Barbara Crampton) and the severed, re-animated head of West’s nemesis (played by David Gale) going downtown on a terrified and bound Megan. This scene would go down (no pun intended) as one of the most talked about scenes in all of horror film history.

Gordon’s attempt to make his own “Frankenstein movie” became a major success within the horror film fan community and would spawn two more sequels. Jeffrey Combs would continue to play the role of Herbert West in these follow-up sequels which never reached the same level of success and cult following as the first film. Still, Re-Animator would put both Stuart Gordon and Jeffrey Combs on the horror film map and horror fans everywhere are glad that they made this film.