Castle Freak (Stuart Gordon, 1995)

posted in: Jocelyn, Review | 0
castle freak poster
It took me 17 years to sit down with this movie. 17 years too god damn long as luck would have it. I’m no stranger to Stuart Gordon and his soft spot for all things Lovecraftian (I choose to ignore movies like Robot Jox , Space Truckers and *cough* The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit) but I have to admit I was never a fan of Full Moon and this being part of their line-up, despite Gordon’s involvement…it quickly made my “don’t  give a shit” list. Not to mention…have you seen the cover art for this thing? (glance upward)
Between the shitty fonts that don’t match the tone of the film and the closeup, generic shot of the ‘freak’ with that god damned shade of blue that Full Moon always seemed to shove down our throats back then…Christ. It’s no wonder it took me so long.  (I guess I’m just going to bitch for awhile before the review process begins. Appy Polly Loggies! PMS-City over here!)
So. Plot synopsis! Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton are a troubled couple who travel to Italy with their blind daughter to sort the financial details of a castle they inherited. Soon they realize that they might have a little more than they bargained for when people start turning up dead and all fingers point to Combs. What arcane mysteries are locked inside the castle and what’s the deal with this titular freak?
I enjoyed the *fuck* out of this movie. It has a depth to it that is missing from many horror films, it really reads like an old school gothic monster movie where characters are battling their own demons, one another and all the while uncovering dark secrets that force them to confront uncomfortable truths….and while all this heady emotional stuff is going on there’s a fucking nut-job loose in the castle trying to fuck and eat everyone in his path.
I joke, actually the “freak” was made so by (wo)man so he’s a tragic, albeit sinister character. My interest was piqued in this movie based (almost) purely on a scene that involves the dungeon-dwelling, no-dick-having, ample-ball swinging, cannibal sex fiend and a prostitute. Yea. Go ahead and let your filthy little cranium wrap around that. And guess what? It’s even better than what you’re thinking! 
All kinds of awesome shit happens, I don’t want to give too much away but this flick truly satiates all appetites. If you’re in the mood for depth, we got some…if you want a lil sleaze…you’re covered….a lil gore for the more fiendish among you? Yes and yes. Some truly wonderful bits for you dirty birdies out there. *wink*
As expected Combs and Crampton know what they’re doing when the camera starts rolling but it was nice to see a few familiar faces that I wasn’t expecting, namely Elisabeth Kaza (Aunt Virginia from Walerian Borowczyk’s “La Bête“) and Luca Zingaretti (who I immediately recognized from his part in “Il branco” a film based on the true story of the brutal gang rape of two girls).
Bottom line: If you dig on the classic trio of Combs, Crampton and Gordon…if you like a well-rounded story to be saturated in blood, sex and ooky creepies….if you ever read Lovecraft’s “The Outsider” and wanted to see a loose, modern adaptation….or if you’re just bored on a Friday night and want to kill 95 minutes, this is one flick I can definitely recommend for those of us who like it a little ‘freaky now and then.
Kurtwood Smith as Axl Rose in  “The Courtney Gaines Story”!
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Jocelyn lives on 35 acres of woodland in an undisclosed Appalachian location. When not boozing it up or fighting the power she's tending her organic garden or collecting punk/soundtrack albums. Her best friends walk on 4 legs. She does not own a cell phone.

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