Castle Freak (1995)

Castle Freak (1995) DVD cover

director Stuart Gordon
viewed: 02/17/2016

Stuart Gordon has had an interesting career in film, known mostly for his many adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft.  In fact, he might have more Lovecraft on his cinematic résumé than any other director out there.

As good as Re-Animator (1985) and From Beyond (1986) are, his 1995 direct-to-video adaptation of Lovecraft’s “The Outsider” is a lesser thing.  It’s got Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator himself) and Barbara Crampton (from both Re-Animator and From Beyond), but if you’re old enough to remember “direct-to-video”, you know that that term is not an emblem of quality typically.

It’s a story of bad parenting gone amok, as Combs and Crampton arrive at the Italian castle with their daughter Rebecca (Jessica Dollarhide), who was blinded in a car accident that also killed her brother, the result of drunken driving on Combs’s part.  But worse than that the son of the castle’s long-dead duchess still lives down in its depths and his long-lived abuse has left him the resident “freak” of the title.  He likes to get freaky (despite having lost his penis somewhere along the way) and kill and mutilate.

While it’s not nearly as good or fun as Gordon’s earlier Lovecraft movies, Castle Freak has its merits and rewards.  1995 was a somewhat late date for practical effects horror films, so it’s worth appreciating its non-CGi-ness, direct-to-video or whatever.

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