Monday, June 05, 2006

Review: Castle Freak (1995)

5 out of 5 full moons
The question posed is this: if you are, say, 40 years old; have been chained to a wall your entire life; have been flogged daily when given your meal; and know nothing of humanity save for your twisted mother who has provided you this existence, what do you become?
I'll ask an imaginary college class:
Fair Ellen, who grew up in Pleasantville, who lost your virginity at sweet 16 to a fine young football player to whom you're now engaged, how say you? "Well, he's gotta be like crazy, and scared of like women and food!"
And young Trevor, "Mr. Smart Guy", "Mr. Unfocused Anger", have a go, will you? "We're all going through it at some level as society slowly grinds us into neat little squares..."
And, finally, you, Mr. Stuart Gordon, he with the knack for taking a hundred thousand dollars and creating visually stunning, complex little horror movies....what do you think? "Disturbing mayhem, sir!"
You are correct Mr. Gordon! Much mayhem can be had if the mother dies, a troubled little family moves in, and our Castle Freak gets hungry enough to break his bonds.
If for some reason you have set about to watch all of the 150+ Full Moon films and review each of them and Castle Freak is roughly the twentieth of said films, you'll be very, very surprised: it's scary. Serious and scary. There are no killer dolls. There are no boobs-for-the-sake-of-boobs. There are no teenagers getting stoned. No synthesized Richard Band scores (he had the foresight to orchestrate this one...).
The set, the Italian supporting cast, Barbara Crampton's screams, the whole disentegrating family subplot, and the freak himself (in full body make-up, no less!) highlight an inventive take on the slasher genre. Unlike 90 percent of Full Moon fare I've seen, the gore is actually gory: no silly camera-cut decapitations, post-production wavy lines, rod puppets, or blood sprayed from ridiculous off-camera angles.
Fair Ellen, Young Trevor, and the rest of you must check it out...

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