This week, I am going to be discussing one of my all-time favorite directors/writers. The man has created such a unique stamp on the horror genre that it would be a crime not to include him.
Stuart Gordan has created some of the most bizarre, some of the goriest, some of the most fucked up movies I have ever seen. I have never seen a movie of the man’s that I have not liked. His films all are trips that test your sanity. Needless to say, I can’t get enough.
He is one of the men that I can spot a film of his without knowing it was him right away. That’s how much his style sticks out. He hasn’t made a film in quite some time and that is a shame. I’d gladly welcome him back with bloody, open arms!
His Signature Work
As if I could, or would, start with any other film of Gordan’s! Re-Animator is one of the craziest horror films ever made. A take on an H.P. Lovecraft short story(you’ll see that name pop up plenty in this article), Re-Animator is about a scientist that has come up with a serum that reanimates the dead. Unfortunately, as is usually the case, the dead should just stay dead. Starring Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton, this movie sets the bar in gross out, gory romps.
From Beyond (1986)
If there was ever a movie to follow up Re-Animator, From Beyond is it. From Beyond is about a group of scientists that have created a machine to see beyond the normal range of human perception. Immediately after it succeeds, they are attacked by some of the nastiest creatures you will ever see. Sound familiar to Re-Animator? Well that’s not surprising. It has a lot in common with that film. Both are based on H.P. Lovecraft short stories(told you so). Both star Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton. Both feature some of the nastiest gore and creature effects you will ever see.
Castle Freak (1995)
Castle Freak is a personal favorite of mine. It’s about a couple that arrive in Italy with their blind daughter to visit a castle that they inherited. All is not well in the castle walls, however. An abused child that was left to die in the basement has become the titular castle freak and is none too happy that visitors have come. All hell breaks loose. This movie reunites Jeffery Combs and Barbara Crampton(Gordon loves these two) as the husband and wife. It is an interesting tale of terror that I think everybody should see at least once.
Other Work You May Not Know
Honey I Shrunk The Kids – That’s right. The creator of Re-Animator actually wrote the story of this fun family flick. This movie was huge when I was a kid and for good reason. It was an interesting adventure that hit the right notes for all ages. Add in Rick Moranis, Matt Frewer and Kristine Sutherland(Buffy’s mom!), spectacularly fun special effects and Joe Johnston’s(Captain America: The First Avenger) directorial debut and you have a movie that shouldn’t be missed.
Stuck – This is Gordon’s final film and it stands out as a great and thought provoking film. An interesting take on a hit and run, the movie is one that will leave an impression on you after viewing it.
Dagon – While some may not care for this H.P. Lovecraft adaptation, I don’t mind it. The story is interesting. The creature effects are pretty great and it has a good pace.
Fortress – Gordon’s take on a futuristic prison flick. While it may not have a huge budget, Gordon manages to fill out his cast with some of our genre’s best actors. Christopher Lambert. Kurtwood Smith. Jeffrey Combs. Tom Towles. Vernon Wells. Seeing these guys act together is worth seeing the film alone. Gordon’s directing style is the icing on the cake of this sci fi action flick.
Stuart Gordon is an inimitable presence in the horror genre. The man has managed to meld some of the most splatter heavy gore effects you will ever see with stories that will actually make you think. Not many can claim such a feat. I’ve never seen a movie of his that I haven’t liked. The movies I’ve loved have been some of the absolute best the genre has to offer. The man has actually managed to make H.P. Lovecraft adaptable to the big screen. That is something very, very few can claim! For all of these reasons and more, Stuart Gordon is a true Legend of Horror.
In the next Legends of Horror, I will be discussing an actor that needs no introduction. Unless you are a sex crazed teenager. In that case, you will definitely want to know if he’s around. And get the hell out of Dodge.