31 Days of Horror 2016, Day 23: Castle Freak (1995)

Has anything good ever come from inheriting a castle? Horror movies have taught me that coming into a labyrinth made domicile is essentially a death sentence, and this one is no exception. Stuart Gordon’s Castle Freak is based loosely…VERY LOOSELY…on H.P. Lovecraft’s short story The Outsider. True to Gordon nature, what we get is a totally strange story with tidy practical effects, and oodles and gobs of Jeffrey Coombs. So what I’m saying is that it’s pretty decent. Especially for a Full Moon production backed by Charles Band.

The story follows John Reilly (Coombs), and dude who’s just trying to get his life back together after a car accident that resulted in the death of his son, and the blinding of his daughter. The castle poses a possible improvement in his life, but not for long as his disabled daughter soon becomes the object of affection of the titular freak; a gooey sort of homunculous thing that has been chained up in the depths of the castle for untold years for unknown reasons.of course nobody believes the girl, or John, when they say something supernatural is happening (cue Vincent Price’s raised eyebrow). And that poor girl. It’s too bad she is so consistently ignored. The being of the castle, who turns out to be related to the family, may be innocent deep down; but, it’s beneath many layers of animal killing and prostitute abusing. You heard me…

Castle Freak is obviosuly not without its problems. The movie looks decent and is sufficiently gross, but in order to buy the story at all the audience has to swallow some pretty big pills. None of the characters are very reasonable at all, which means you might find yourself yelling at the TV as they make one senseless decision after another. As far as plot goes, this is also one of Gordon’s weaker titles. It is certainly no From Beyond. 

When something dumb happens in this movie, you kind of have to remind yourself that you’re watching something called Castle Freak. Expectations shouldn’t be too high. 

Challenge Fulfilled: a Full Moon production 


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