Title: Castle Freak

Also known as:
Stuart Gordon's Castle Freak (Complete title)
To frikio tou kastrou (Greece)

Year: 1995

Genre: Horror

Language: English / Italian

Runtime: 95 min

Director: Stuart Gordon

Writer: Stuart Gordon & H.P. Lovecraft (Based on)

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112643/

The Reilly family moves in to a huge castle in Italy after the father of the family, John, inherits it. The Reilly's are a rather broken family because of the loss of their son and the daughter being blind, both from a car accident caused by the alcoholism of John. They don't make plans to stay, but to sell the castle as soon as they can, and meanwhile John and Susan sleep in seperate rooms. As time goes, they start noticing strange things going on in the castle, such as mirrors breaking by themselves. Their blind daughter start saying there is someone in the castle, but the parents don't listen. One night John brings home a hooker from the pub, and she soon end up dead in the basement.

Our thoughts:
I have seen "Castle Freak" many times. I've always thought it was a good movie, and being a fan of both Stuart Gordon and Jeffrey Combs, why wouldn't I? Fact is, I think that when these two collaborate, they make some extraordinary movies. This, "Re-Animator" and "From Beyond" are three fantastic examples of this. They are fun, gory and definitely interesting. Needless to say, I am a fan of fun. However, something I found weird about "Castle Freak" is that I have seen it maybe 4 or 5 times before, and this last time was the best out of all of them. I appreciated the movie alot more than before, and I have no idea why.

"Castle Freak" has a story as ordinary as any horror movie out there. A family moves in to a big house (castle), and something strange happens in there. Be it ghosts or monsters, we've seen it before. "Castle Freak" throws in a little dark history to the family, but it's nothing new. But, "Castle Freak" delivers great acting, make-up effects, gore and borderline shocking moments. It might not be much to the standard horror fan, but I can still say it could be considered shocking to see the dangling balls, hanging under a chopped off penis, of a sexcrazed, deformed... thing. That's basicly what the freak is, a thing. I think if you take E.T., and mix it with Leatherface, and throw in a little rapist in the mix, you have it. A slightly retarded, deformed, oddity that seems to be thinking a bit too much about sex and ladies. The backstory of the freak is explained pretty nicely in the film. Yet again, it was an obvious way to go with the story, with the kid being kept in the basement, but it worked. Sometimes clichées work, sometimes they don't.

The effects in the film are great. The freak looks insane, both with and without the blanket over his face. The looks of the freak is what got me interested in the film in the first place, since it's displayed on the front cover. I must also add that Njutafilms' release, the release I got for reviewing, has kept the style of the original cover, but instead of showing the freak without the blanket, it's a picture of it with it on. This was a good move because it doesn't reveal too much. As for the gore effects, I just don't have anything bad to say about them either. There are some great gore scenes, especially the killing of the whore. Why? Well, because of the boob-eating and the scene where he is going down on her dying body.

To fans of horror, "Castle Freak" should be a treat. It's highly recommended because of how simple it is. It doesn't require you to think too much, but it keeps you on the edge of your seat enough to not bore you. It has great effects and a fair amount of violence. Throw in a few semi-disturbing scenes and a GREAT soundtrack (it reminds me of the soundtrack to my favore film, "The Evil Dead", at times). It's just a great movie, and with Jeffrey Combs playing the lead, it couldn't get better.

Positive things:
- The freak is rather freaky.
- Good soundtrack! I never noticed it as well before.
- Obviously it has lots of replay value.
- Jeffrey Combs + Stuart Gordon!
- I forgot to mention in the review, but Barbara Crampton plays the wife. Great, isn't it?
Negative things:
- If anything, they could've given it a slightly less cliché plot and backstory.

Gore: 3/5
Nudity: 2/5
Story: 3/5
Effects: 3.5/5
Comedy: 1/5

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