Castle Freak (1995)–Stuart Gordon Strikes Again With a Lovecraft Inspired Tale
Over the last week or so I’ve come to a conclusion: Stuart Gordon, the Director behind Society, From Beyond, The Re-Animator and MANY more films is just awesome at what he does: making weirdly compelling and original horror movies. Castle Freak is no exception.
Gordon brings together some of his favourite actors, Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton who play John and Susan Riley, a troubled married couple who along with their blind daughter travel to Italy to visit the 12th century castle that John has inherited from a recently deceased Duchess.
The couple plan on selling the estate once a proper inventory of the estates assets is compiled. While completing this task the family plans on staying in the castle.
Almost immediately they hear strange noises. The daughter decides to follow a cat and some sounds and believes she has heard another person in the house. Being blind, she can only describe what she hears… Her mother believes that she is imagining things. The weird noises continue, and the seemingly spontaneous breaking of a large mirror gets John thinking that there might be more going on here than just the normal noises of a very old castle.
Soon we find out why the couple is having troubles, when a flashback shows an incident where John was driving his daughter and son home one night, drunk, and gets into an accident. The accident kills their son and blinds their daughter. Asking his wife if she’ll ever forgive him, she says no, and admits that it’s her plan to make him keep suffering for the incident. Upset and enrages, John heads to town where he gets drunk and pick up an attractive hooker. He takes her back to the castle and they have sex. When he is done he tells her to go. Little does John know that the source of the sounds is actually a horribly disfigured man that had been held in one of the castle’s dungeons, and that he has escaped his captivity (by biting off his thumb in order to escape manacles. This man capture’s the prostitute and sexually mutilates her. John is considered the prime suspect ands is taken into custody by the local police when the body of the prostitute and his maid are found.
John, in the meantime has figured out that the one causing the issues is actually the son of the duchess, who despite being reported as dead, was kept in the dungeon and beaten. No one believes him though. HE tries to convince the police who will have none of that. Eventually escaping and heading back to the castle to save his family, John and the creature fight on the roof with tragic consequences.
There’s quite a twist thrown in somewhere past the middle of the film regarding John’s relationship with the beast and the Duchess that I won’t reveal here. This film feels like a Stuart Gordon film and definitely is getting recommended by me.
Watch this film and check out the trailer below: