Castle Freak (Video 1995) Poster

(1995 Video)

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Pleasant surprise
Smoreni Zmaj14 September 2017
Horrors are in most cases complete failure, cause they are either to lousy or to ridiculous to be scary. And as their goal is exactly to scare the audience, authors most often neglect other aspects of the movie. This movie does not deserve rating I gave it. Although it is considered to be Lovecraft adaptation, most certainly it is not. It could maybe be loosely inspired by him. Story isn't original or too complex, it's linear and, with exception of monster's mask and acting, this movie doesn't have much to offer. But it has what is the most important for horror movie and what most of much higher rated horrors don't have - eerie and tense atmosphere. Horror movies are to me mostly either stupid and ridiculous or stupid and plain boring, but this one made me nervously jig on the edge of the chair. It may be mediocre or even bad in other aspects, but it achieves effect that is essence of the genre, and if only because of that I have to rate it above average.

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"Why would she have a whip? Who's she gonna use it on?!" Flawless logic Jeffrey!
Foreverisacastironmess9 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I always enjoyed this film from the first I saw it, I found it to be a well acted and solidly directed effort all around, it had a nice atmosphere to it that was very eerie at points, and it had one of the best kinds of monsters - the sympathetic one. It might be directed by the from my experience consistently entertaining Stuart Gordon but it's nothing at all like the gruesome manic splatter fun of Re-Animator or From Beyond, but is a little less fantastical and more slow burning and character driven, although it certainly does have some violent gory scenes in it where it counts. I was surprised when I saw that it was made in 1995 I really thought it had a more eighties vibe to it. I love all the sparse Gothic grandeur of the Italian castle where most of the story takes place, it's gorgeous and brings a lot of atmosphere to the movie and the setting makes for such a distinctive tone. The film does have something of a mystery element to it, even though thanks to the DVD cover art and the opening prologue there's no question about who the killer is.. I thought Jeffrey Combs gives a good performance, it was nice to see him play something a little more dramatic and normal instead of an eccentric type, and he's effective as a tortured father and alcoholic who's inadvertently responsible for the death of his young son and the blinding of his daughter, and who yearns to redeem himself in some way, which in the worst way he ultimately does.. And another Gordon regular, Barbara Crampton is good as well, she and Combs have a certain well-established old chemistry together as actors, and they both really kind of come full circle in this movie, having gone from playing enemies, to people that were close, and finally a couple that were once in love but now genuinely seem to hate each other! Jonathan Fuller was fantastic as the craven, repulsive and quite impotently lustful freak, he's terrifying yet pitiable. I love the scene where the kindly old housekeeper tells the tale of poor monstrous Georgio, it's such an unimaginably cruel fate to suffer when you think about it. He was once a regular human being who, through complete isolation and his only human contact being decades of horrific abuse and torture at the hands of his own insane mother, who took a cold hearted and evil lifelong revenge on her own innocent child for the sins of his father, became a virtually mindless subhuman beast who on some twisted level remains that child, he's a most tragic monster. The most disturbing and vicious scene is when the freak does some awful things to a prostitute, ladies of the audience take note, this part of the movie is likely to make you squirm.. So I like this pretty grim violent horror flick a lot, it has a scary human monster in it and is a tense creepy and very underrated gem of the Full Moon back catalogue and is well worth checking out, you may be quite surprised by it.
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Gory film marred by lack of tension n suspense.
Fella_shibby3 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I first saw this on a VHS in the mid 90s. Revisited this recently on a DVD. Well the movie hasn't aged well. It wasn't scary at all. The film is about a family which suffered horrible tragedy due to the fathers alcoholism. His son died and his daughter was blinded. The father just inherited a castle in Italy from his late aunt n he moves to that castle. The castle houses a dark secret... The acting by Combs and Crampton is good. They were convincing as the couple breaking up. Stuart Gordon managed to create a gory and Gothic horror tale. Gordon makes good use of the castle's ominous atmosphere and he also gets wonderful performances from his cast. The movie was shot on location in a genuine Italian castle which added a sense of the Gothic feel. The gore is too much, breasts are bitten off, eyes are gouged out, thumb bitten off, vagina bitten off, body being whipped to death by iron chains, cat been devoured, etc. But the problem with the movie was its story n lack of tension n suspense. Also the body count ain't that high. The freak is one of the most frightening monsters but he is as much a victim as a villain. Sometimes u feel pity for it, especially when its revealed that its penis has been severed. Also ther r too many flaws, i mean how could the freak survive for so long after being chained n locked up. Nonetheless, a one time watch considering the director n the lead actors.
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Not The Best Stuart Gordon Film I Have Seen.
Vivekmaru4525 September 2015
Stuart Gordon is a well known director among fans of horror films. He has made some cult horror films such as Re-Animator(1985), From Beyond(1986) and Dagon(2001).

In this film, an Italian Duchess delivers a baby, Giorgio Osina and keeps it locked away in a basement cell, hidden from the public. Slowly, this child reaches adolescence and develops sexual appetites which it cannot fulfill naturally, because of its severed penis.

A lot of years pass, the old Duchess dies of old age and John Reilly(Jeffrey Coombs) inherits the castle of the late Duchess. He moves in with his wife Susan(Barbara Crampton) and blind daughter Rebecca(Jessica Dollarhide) unaware of the gruesome creature locked away in the basement. Sometime later, Rebecca stumbles across the basement and finds the door of the cell where Giorgio is kept prisoner. He is aroused and desperately tries to free himself. He breaks off his own thumb to get out of the manacles that bind him to the wall.

Watch the film to find out what happens next.

Verdict: The plot is meager and really not at all good. The special-effects are average as well as the sound-effects. This film doesn't feel like a typical Stuart Gordon film. We see two actors from previous Gordon movies like Jeffrey Coombs and Barbara Crampton. Jeffrey has the bulk of the lines in the movie and though he carries the weight of the whole film on his shoulders, he fails to shine. Barbara has a very small role in the film and doesn't make any impact on the film.

Johnathan Fuller is excellent in his portrayal of the freakish Giorgio. As the title character of the film he plays a depraved individual with unnatural sexual appetites. The gore in the film is graphic, but today's generation will find this film rather tame.

More Stuart Gordon films: Robot Jox(1989), The Pit and the Pendulum(1991), Fortress(1992. Must see film starring Christopher Lambert).

Thanks for reading. Live long and prosper.
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A Few More Misses than Hits
TheRedDeath3019 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I've been curious about this movie for quite some time. As an avid fan of RE-ANIMATOR and Lovecraft's writing, it seemed this was a natural, but as I skimmed sites like this for user reviews they always seemed to be quite mixed. After finally viewing this movie, it makes total sense why the reviews are mixed because the movie itself is a mixed bag.

The basic premise of the movie is a standard horror trope. A family that's already being torn apart by familial strife due to some past trauma finds themselves in the middle of some supernatural terror. In this case, an alcoholic Combs, his pretty wife and blind daughter move to a castle in Europe that he finds he's inherited, but may already have a resident deep in its' bowels.

The problems start with the look of the film. The viewer can see that Stuart Gordon (the director) has some genuine talent when it comes to creating a shot, with a heavy inspiration from the Hammer era of horror. The movie evokes, images of dark, romantic paintings and has moments of pure shivery chill. It's all ruined, though, by a muddy, dull color palette in the film itself. This thing looks like 80s PBS drama and gives the movie an appearance of being far older than it really is. The film quality ends up spoiling any true beauty.

The problems continue into the acting. I am a huge fan of Combs. His roles in THE FRIGHTENERS and WOULD YOU RATHER are some of my favorite characters in horror. He brings an intellectual insanity to his villains that is fun to watch. On the other hand, he's just given too much room here and too much drama. The same goes for Crampton. Large chunks of the plot in this movie steer away from the terror in the dungeon to focus on the forces tearing the family apart (alcoholism, loss, infidelity). I didn't find either actor to be completely up to the task of pulling off these moments of dramatic dialog. Some of the weight of that error falls on the script itself, too, which is clunky.

What saves the movie from being a disaster is the "monster", the titular freak. He is gradually shown in slow reveals that lead up to the inevitable unmasking and he's a well-done creature design. The makeup looks good on camera, even in spotlight, and he inspires some terror. The movie isn't afraid to shed some blood, either. Buckets full of gore are thrown around, complete with raw, torn up skin effects that look great for low budget horror. WARNING to those who may be sensitive or unwilling to push the envelope some, there is a scene about halfway through the movie that will tarnish your images of oral sex, much like Gordon does in REANIMATOR.
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Stuart Gordon scores again with Lovecraftian material.
Scott LeBrun24 May 2015
John (Jeffrey Combs) and Susan Reilly (Barbara Crampton) are a married couple going through some very dark times. She blames him for the fatal car crash that blinded their teen aged daughter Rebecca (Jessica Dollarhide) and killed their younger child J.J. (Alessandro Sebastian Satta). Now, years later, John learns that he has inherited a 12th century Italian castle. They come to do some inventory (John really just wants to sell the place) and do a little exploring. What they discover is that the castle also comes with a secret: a monster, Giorgio (Jonathan Fuller) residing in the lower levels.

What gives "Castle Freak" an edge over similar horror product is the overwhelming feeling of tragedy. A pall hangs over this whole film; one has to wonder if this family is ever going to be happy again. Giorgio, too, comes with his own desperately unhappy back story. As is the case with many a movie monster, he's quite pitiable as well as hideous. Fuller is excellent in the role. As often as he creeps you out, he earns your sympathies.

While Combs does tend to get his due as a truly talented actor, this viewer would have to point to "Castle Freak" as a solid example of just how good Crampton is as an actress. She's more than just a pretty face. The dramatic tension between John and Susan is palpable. Dollarhide, too, is very good, delivering a sensitive and vulnerable performance. It's somewhat wearying that Susan keeps automatically dismissing Rebeccas' insistence of the other presence in the castle. Stubborn characters can be hard to deal with in this or any other genre.

Director Stuart Gordon and his largely Italian crew create vivid atmosphere. They mostly try to avoid bright colours. In fact, this is one of those instances where it feels like the filmmakers tried to create a slightly colourized version of a black & white movie. The makeup effects by Optic Nerve are impressive, and Richard Bands' music is excellent.

"Castle Freak" definitely deserves a wider audience. It's a serious, somber story where one does get emotionally invested in these characters.

Inspired by, rather than officially based on, the H.P. Lovecraft tale "The Outsider".

Seven out of 10.
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A Modern Gothic with a ghastly monster
loomis78-815-98903424 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
John (Combs) and Susan (Crampton) Reilly are at odds with each other due to a family tragedy that John caused. While driving drunk, John wrecks the car and kills his five year old son and blinds his teenage daughter Rebecca (Dollarhide). Susan isn't ready to forgive him yet but goes to Italy where John has just inherited a castle. The family struggles to adjust, but what they don't know is deep in the bowels of the castle is the title freak. A deformed man that was beaten, abused, and chained up since he was a small boy. Shortly after the family arrives the freak (Fuller) chews off his thumb to escape his chains and is loose in the castle observing the family. With her other senses heightened, Rebecca can feel his presence even though she can't see him. This makes for an eerie scene when the freak roams into her room to get a closer look. The family doesn't believe her claim after the police turn nothing up during a half-hearted exploration of the castle. John falls of the wagon one night and brings a prostitute (Raffaella Offidani) home and has sex with her as the freak watches. Once John leaves, the freak attacks her and kills her in gruesome fashion. The police suspect John when the prostitute doesn't show up anywhere and John is arrested. Two cops are sent to watch over Susan and Rebecca and they are quickly killed off as the girls try to fight off the freak during a rain storm in the finale. This is the third time stars Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton have teamed up with Director Stuart Gordon. Gordon manages to draw sympathy for the freak from the audience because the freak is like that due to years of cruelty. The castle provides some solid atmosphere as you might suspect and the lighting helps as well. The make up for the freak is ghastly and very effective and actor Jonathan Fuller does a good job in this difficult role. The freak is used much like the classic monsters of yesterday. He does graphic and terrible things but in ways it really isn't his fault. Like a lot of Stuart Gordon's movies, 'Castle Freak' doesn't skimp on graphic gore and blood and supplies it in good measure. Some of Gordon's normal dark humor is missing in this one, but it is stronger on atmosphere and mood. Set in Italy, this movie has a very Italian cinema feel to it, almost like a cross between Fulci and Argento. The thrilling ending in the rain storm is effective and suspenseful and the scenes where the freak is observing the blind Rebecca is the best of what this has to offer. Going down a slightly different path here, Gordon has a mild success with 'Castle Freak'.
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Freakin' great!
BA_Harrison9 February 2014
If there was any justice in the world, everyone would hold director Stuart Gordon in the same high regard as genre greats George Romero, John Carpenter, and Tobe Hooper. He might not have such a well recognised 'classic' in his resume as those guys (although Re-Animator comes close, I suppose), but it could be argued that the overall quality of his output has been consistently higher than these better-known horror luminaries (who, let's face it, have had their fair share of turkeys over the years).

If you don't believe me, check out the director's dark fairytale Dolls, his twisted Lovecraft adaptations From Beyond and Dagon (and Re-Animator, of course), and the gritty shocker King of the Ants—all solid films worthy of a place in any self respecting horror fan's DVD collection. But better than any of those, in my humble opinion, is Castle Freak, a splendid Gothic horror that really does deliver the goods in practically every department: it's stylish, atmospheric, sexy, emotionally charged, scary, gory, and more than a little perverse, and even features the classic combo of Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton amongst its cast.

Combs plays John Reilly, who along with his estranged wife Susan (Crampton) and blind daughter Rebecca (played by teen hottie Jessica Dollarhide), has travelled to Europe to take up temporary residence in the 12th century castle that they have recently inherited. As John sets about writing an inventory of the castle's contents, Rebecca explores her new home, unaware that a monstrously deformed freak lies chained up in the dungeon, and he's very, very hungry...

In the hands of a less daring director, this could so have been an instantly forgettable piece of cheesy B-movie hokum, but Gordon's unique, twisted approach elevates it way above your usual direct to DVD fare, and guarantees a few eye-openers along the way. Be honest, how many horror films do you know that offer full frontal shots of their creature's mutilated genitalia? And can you name more than a couple of titles that depict a woman's nipple being bitten clean off? Or have you ever seen Jeffrey Combs bury his face deep in a hooker's crotch before giving her a quick knee-trembler? I'm guessing that you answered 'no' to at least two of those questions.
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Very scary!
Infectant27 January 2014
Stuart Gordon redressed his pointless and woeful attempt at the vampire genre from 1987 with 'Daughter Of Darkness' and came thundering back at the start of the 90s with his pleasingly nasty take on 'The Pit And The Pendulum' and then this, the moody and creeping 'Castle Freak', and while it doesn't quite touch his perfect 80s horror trilogy of 'Re- Animator', 'From Beyond' and 'Dolls', this creepy, claustrophobic nerve- Тинглер frays the nerves, pounds the stomach and delivers atmopshere, shocks and horror with pleasing reliability.

Gordon's stalwarts Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton are a married couple on permanent edge due to his drinking and a car accident that took their young son away and blinded their daughter. These three inherit a castle in Italy-and sadly something comes with it...something crazily angry, озверели, savage, strong and with a taste for freedom- and flesh.

It's lovely to have this transfered to DVD-especially as the old VHS copy I had had several key scenes of delightful nastiness spliced-how rude! When a film is as intense as a Stuart Gordon one, you know you are not going to get a happy ending but the ride will be a worthy one. There's even a little bit of chit-chat and FX leftover for an extras gift on the disc-this will come up on the menu; there is no mention of it on the back of the DVD case.

This is a good price and a decent movie with a cool monster and a nice wallow in proper horror when it meant so much more than the stanglehold of Бесконечная non-horror slashers, cannibals, A-listers being dead-and- not-knowing-it, remakes, biopics of serial killers, and now stupid Asbo- brat паршивец culture masquerading as terror today!
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A Shadowy Mirror
Bonehead-XL5 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
"Castle Freak" is a genuinely good movie. Loosely inspired by "The Outsider," probably my favorite H.P. Lovecraft story, the film is also probably my favorite Stuart Gordon film and, bar none, the classiest thing Charles Band ever pushed out of his studio. (Somewhat ironically, since the original Full Moon Entertainment was slowly decomposing at the time.) "Castle Freak," despite its exploitive title, actually has its roots in deep themes of family, forgiveness, childhood, responsibility, cruelty, and love. A family inherits a castle in Italy. Deep in the bowels of the castle is a man kept imprisoned for forty years, starved, castrated, and routinely tortured by his mother. But the castle isn't the only thing with a secret. The Reily family is slowly coming apart, after alcoholic father John wrecked the family car, killing their youngest son, and blinding their teenage daughter. Mother Susan has never been able to forgive him and, it's made clear quickly, John has never quite forgiven himself. The two story lines slowly come together, the emaciated, twisted Giorgio a shadow mirror, reflecting back the family's darkest impulses.

The film is far more serious affair then the previous Gordon/Combs/Crampton/Lovecraft collaboration. "Re-Animator" and "From Beyond" are certainly great in their own ways but "Castle Freak" is a much richer, deeper film. It's also far scarier. Gordon had previously displayed a strong handle of atmosphere on "Dolls." Here, he graduates to full shadows expert. The final act, where Giorgio stalks mother and daughter throughout the castle, each hiding in deep shadows, is intense and sustained. The blind daughter is an inventive device, as it allows the villain to creep around her undetected several times. The castle is an excellent location, of course, which helps. It's definitely the most frightening film on the director's resume.

It also delivers on the gross-outs. Gordon had, perhaps unfairly, received a reputation for a goremeister following "Re-Animator." There's also more to his films then that but, honestly, "Castle Freak" delivers some nauseating gore effects. A cat being pulled back through a trap door is an early, unnerving moment. Bones crack and flesh rips as a thumb is gnawed off. The most notorious moment involves the titular freak's encounter with a prostitute. In what is probably a homage to extreme Italian filmmakers like Lucio Fulci, deranged Giorgio attempts to recreate an earlier rendezvous. It's a disturbing, memorable moment that skillfully combines twisted gore and protracted thrills. The make-up design for Giorgio is impressively unnerving as well. He looks truly starved and tortured. Odds are this movie will show you far more eunuch bits then you desired to see.

The performances truly anchor the film. Jeffrey Combs frequently trots out his Herbert West personality without acting much while Barbara Crampton is usually confined to indistinct scream queen roles. Combs shows no ego as the alcoholic John. He sweats and cries, frantic, a man at the end of his rope. He is pulled between his frustrated libido, his persisting guilt over his son's death, and his own guilt over refusing to take responsibility for it. It's a career-best performance for Combs. Similarly, Crampton blows the roofs off. She marks a strong figure against Jeffrey, her grief translating as anger, not self-pity. Her own path to forgiveness is also wrought. As the blind Rebecca, Jessica Dollarhide conveys the blindness well, if not the character's panic. It is disappointing that she would disappear from acting after this. Jonathan Fuller no doubt had the most difficult performance, under extensive make-up and without his voice. He makes Giorgio far more then just a hideous villain but a sympathetic being. "Castle Freak" is a world where monsters aren't born, they're made.

For once, the fisticuff endings doesn't feel awkward, a natural evolution of the characters and themes. The final scene, powered by Richard Band's typically excellent, mournful score, conveys a poetic sense of sadness and resolution. "Castle Freak" is fantastic all around, a true hidden gem. If you're a Combs or Gordon fan, you've probably already seen it but I think it's essential viewing for any horror fan.
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Don't be swayed by the cover, this movie is fantastic!
smileybug-356-7830514 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
OK, this movie I saw years ago and just now found it again. I have looked for it on Netflix, but they have never added it which is a real shame given the amount of truly awful movies they do have streaming. This movie is a classic horror movie. It is like no other story I have ever seen, the location is creepy as hallway after hallway, stairway after stairway just makes for a very good suspenseful movie. The "Castle Freak" is truly wonderful in this movie, probably the best actor in it. Great special effects used to create his look. There is some disgusting violent moments if you are grossed out easily, and some serious nakedness, though brief. I like that the Castle Freak is not easily overtaken, he is fast, seemingly intelligent despite his horrible upbringing, and at times he even shows true sadness in his emotions. I actually felt myself feeling sorry for him a few times! The lead actor completely overacts throughout the whole movie, the wife and daughter are better. I do think it is weird how this movie, done in 1995, has the look and feel of a movie done in the late 70's/early 80's. Not sure if it is the film quality or if they meant it to be this way. Regardless, I would recommend this to anyone who likes a unique horror movie with an actual story.
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Castle Freak doesn't fail to entertain!
tcgoldenvideo5 June 2013
I have been a fan of Full Moon for years but somehow Castle Freak always passed under the radar for me. However, I finally checked it out this past week and damn is it a gem. This movie doesn't pull any punches (something you rarely see in films these days). The freak's face is grotesque as Hell! He also runs around naked with his junk cut off for the entire movie which really adds to the film's authentically creepy feel.

I mean, don't get me wrong, there's A LOT of cheese here (the final battle is especially ridiculous) but for a film that's almost twenty years old, it certainly doesn't fail to entertain."
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Dark, sad, gory, and entertaining 90's Horror film
gabedrumminggamer19 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
While I myself have not read any of H.P. Lovecraft's work,I believe this film is one of the better adaptations. Stuart Gordon, Jeffrey Combs, and Barbara Crampton are back again with "Castle Freak". I overall enjoyed this film. It has an interesting, sad plot, a tortured, deformed freak, and a divided family who has to deal with it before it kills them. Oh, not to mention rather disgusting and sickening gore, which I enjoyed.Although I have seen much better horror films before, I was entertained and enjoyed the movie. And, yes, this is one of Full Moon Features's better films. I recommend this film to H.P. Lovecraft fans, Stuart Gordon fans, Jeffrey Combs fans, and deformed freak fans.
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I gotta go back to Italy
Lee Eisenberg14 July 2012
Stuart Gordon's "Castle Freak" was about what I expected. Of course, it's a pretty fun movie to watch, if you're into deliberately gross stuff. Or, it's a movie that you might like if you ever want to go to Italy, as a family inherits a castle in a small town in Umbria, only to find out that they're not alone there, and that it relates to the husband's family history. Ignoring the plot, the movie makes Italy look like one fine place (I've been there, so I can vouch for this).

The star is Jeffrey Combs. I had seen him in "The Frighteners", "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" and "House on Haunted Hill", but had to read about "Castle Freak" to learn that Stuart Gordon frequently casts him. I enjoyed "Castle Freak", but I don't mind watching these sorts of movies. They're definitely not for everyone.
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Jeffery Combs All The Way
pcsarkar11 April 2012
I have high regard for Gordon's brand of film-making, and CF doesn't disappoint. Although it lacks the gore and special effects of Gordon's other films like Dagon and Herbert West - Reanimator. In fact, I thought that this too was based on a Lovecraft story, but came to know from the credits that this Gothic plot was penned by Gordon himself.

Its difficult to decide whether CF was the oppressor or the oppressed. An individual who is manacled, castrated and left to rot in a dungeon since childhood, coupled with frequent lashing with a cat-o-nine tails, cannot hope to grow up into a normal human being. And when such a person breaks free, he is bound to create havoc, since his alienation is total, because he has no sense of right or wrong. And so it happened with CF in the film.

As usual, Combs rocks, and the female characters: the prostitute, the mother and the daughter, all display their hot bodies with aplomb. The yelling of the mother got on my nerves after a while, and my only regret is that she was not ripped apart by CF.

A point of confusion: Just how long was CF in the dungeon after his crazed mother died? How did he survive without food and water for so long, till Combs' family arrived? I know that its futile to search for logic in a horror film, but still..

Watchable, at least once, but certainly not a collectible. And yeah, the irritating, selfish mother, most definitely deserved to be messed up a bit by CF..
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The last Gordon, Crampton, Combs collaboration is somewhat of a disappointment
kclipper13 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Not only is this one of the final films of Charles Band's Full Moon Pictures of the 1990s, but it is the last of the moderately budgeted horror genre's collaborations with the Stuart Gordon, Jeffrey Combs, and Barbara Crampton trio. This is considered by many to be a complete failure on many levels, but good delivery of bad material and some very gory moments give fans a run for their money.

Combs and Crampton are grieving parents after a car accident leaves their son killed and their daughter blinded. She can't seem to forgive the distraught dad for being intoxicated behind the wheel when it happened, which leaves the plot open for Comb's inevitable redemption. Sooner if not later, the family inherits a castle in Rome, and unfortunately, they also inherit the hideously deformed and tortured man chained up in the basement. After eating a cat, the freak gains enough strength to break his chains and go on a rampage after anyone found in the castle. Its pretty tasteless stuff as the completely naked creature bites a prostitute to death, tears out the throats of policemen and other sorts of gory mayhem, meanwhile the blind daughter and Combs are the only people convinced that there is someone else in the castle.

This is a dingy looking movie that fails to provide mood or ambiance short of trying pretty hard. Combs and Crampton are now pros at what they do considering the material that they're given. The creature is more amusing than scary, but gore fans will be pleased with the overall gruesomeness. Too bad Full Moon Pictures didn't end their stay with a better bad movie, but left audiences in the rain with just plain bad instead.
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TonyDood9 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I've known about this movie for some time and am a casual fan of Gordon's work, but this one came out at a time when things were changing in the low-rent movie biz...more and more a B-film was meaning a "DIY" film, any old hack could put something out and call it a movie and Full Moon, Troma or SOMEONE would try to sell it as a legit feature. I just didn't believe it could be worth the effort, I was tired of being burned by early-90's low-rent horror sludge.

"Castle Freak" is a legit feature...sorta. It's shot on film, it has real actors and locations, but still suffers the trappings of a low budget...the sets are underwhelming and nothing much happens. And that's one of two major beefs I had with this movie.

1) Nothing much happens, and what does transpire is old news...there's a Thing in the cellar and before we dispatch with it there's a modicum of bloodletting and screaming. Meanwhile we have to sit through a healthy heap of tedium concerning the domestic problems of a small family. Despite the presence of some good B-movie actors these scenes seem superfluous to the action...which we never quite get to, except...

2) When it does happen, it's outrageously repulsive. Not the most offensive thing you've ever seen it's just...this movie is just really icky! Out of nowhere there are a couple of things that transpire that include naughty bits that are just...unpleasant, and not in the fun way. I wasn't so much offended or caught in that so-gross-it's-fun mode as just...well, sorry I had to bear witness to it--and the effects weren't even that well done. It's just...the sight of the Freak and what he does to his victim is just...blecchy! And it's so completely out of touch with the rest of the movie, which is very "USA Up All Night," back when that show was on. It's really weird to see an average little quirky B-film with this kind of grue in it. I'm glad they went there, actually, I just wish the film would've either sustained/accelerated it (as Gordon did so well in "Re-Animator") or not even gone there to begin with.

It's not bad, really it isn't...what's good about it is great--the castle, the final fight, the mysterious Italian village aura and the compelling idea of what exactly the Freak is all about. But the combo of this not being quite bad enough to be really bad or good enough to be really good left me ambivalent, and left me stuck with the sickening images of Freak's mutilated crotch and the prostitute's mutilated boobs. If that's what you want stuck in your head, see this film immediately.
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"I didn't kill her, I fu***d her, Okay?"
RainDogJr12 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This was simply an offer I couldn't refuse, basically the dish was served and I just took it, I mean when Halloween is near you can find at certain stores you can find a shelf with only horror films on special offer, certainly that low price is only during the days of Halloween. Then more than a week ago I was at my local store and I decided to get some horror DVDs, I found 3 movies (each one for about $2): Subspecies, Trancers and Castle Freak. So especially with Castle Freak I found that offer I couldn't refuse, after all it is a film directed by Stuart Gordon and the cover art is just amazing. However I' still a "beginner" with the work of Gordon, in other words I haven't' seen yet Re-Animator and actually I have seen just 2 other films by Gordon which are Dagon and H.P. Lovecraft's Dreams in the Witch-House (actually this is a Masters of Horror episode), both came from stories by H.P. Lovecraft just like Castle Freak and both are films that I found terrific just like Castle Freak.

I watched it with a couple of friends last night and we more or less knew what to expect from it but actually this was still a really pleasant surprise for me since Castle Freak have certain elements that really surprised me and that I really liked. This has a simple story, we have that John Reilly (Jeffrey Combs) has inherited a castle that is located in Italy. The castle belonged to a duchess, in the very first sequence of the movie we see her and we see a certain action, we know that someone named Giorgio is also in the castle and John together with his ex-wife and his daughter (Barbara Crampton and Jessica Dollarhide) soon will see Giorgio. So we learn certain things, we learn that now John and his wife doesn't have a good relationship, a terrible chapter in the past marked their lives, John was an alcoholic and one night he was driving, his companions were his daughter and his son, his daughter is now blind and his son died that night. Then there's nothing to say when we see that John's wife is now away from him. John has been sober for a long time (I think he says that for 9 months) but during his stay in Italy he will drink again, he will not return to home. Giorgio is certainly the most important character, some kind of monster that at first was thought to be just part of the imagination of Rebecca (John's blind daughter). "There's someone else in the castle" will repeat Rebecca, his father will think that also however that chapter will be back and as I wrote he will drink again, he will take a prostitute to the castle, that his ex-wife and daughter are there is not an impediment once drunk mainly because the castle is an immense place with hundreds of rooms. Castle Freak has certain scenes that I wasn't expecting and certainly are graphic enough to can make that some persons cover their eyes. Of course Giorgio is the protagonist of those scenes, one that I like is when he loses some of his fingers while trying to be free again but is when he start to kill when those scenes happens. Giorgio is witness when drunken John is doing certain, obvious, things to the Italian prostitute. "I didn't kill her, I fu***d her, Okay?" will say later John to the police and certainly he was saying the truth however he "teach" Giorgio to do those certain things however Giorgio boy did something more. Giorgio is one hell of a disgusting character however is story is a tragic one, he is the son of the duchess and of the father of John who ran away with the sister of the duchess (mother of John). Then the duchess did her "revenge", she made of her son some kind of monster, she forgot that Giorgio was also her son. Now Giorgio can't be, the very last scene is really great.

Then I had my third pleasant time with a Stuart Gordon movie, if you come across with the DVD of Castle Freak or you find it on TV don't think twice, watch it, is amazingly entertaining, watch it with your friends and have a really good time!
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Not much to see here
doctorgonzo6419 October 2008
This movie was a disappointment. The story is essentially The Shining with a castle (or a very cheap set masquerading as a castle, to be specific) substituting as the hotel and a monster instead of the ghosts. The budget is the same you'd see from a Cinemax softcore porn, as is the photography, sets, lighting, and video it was shot on. The story is a failed attempt at sincerity: there's no easier way to make your audience feel sympathetic for your characters than to show them experiencing emotional trauma. And the trauma in this movie is pretty trite. Want an example? A blind girl listening to a language tape teaching the Italian words for colors begins to cry at what she will never see.

This movie had a few things going for it, however: the monster is actually pretty cool, pretty scary-looking. And there is a pretty decent amount of nudity from Raffaella Offidani, herself a star of Italian "erotic" films. The gore, however, leaves much to be desired, as does the acting, even from the experienced Jeffrey Combs.

Other than this I've only seen two other Stuart Gordon films: Re-Animator and From Beyond, both of which were outstanding. But I won't let this little footnote in his career keep me from watching many more of his movies.
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One of Full Moon's Better Films
gavin694215 July 2008
A family of three (Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton and Jessica Dollarhide) have inherited a castle, but have no plans to stay on. So they take inventory in order to sell off the property. But they aren't the only living relatives -- in the basement is the "castle freak", a deformed cannibal chained to the dungeon. If he gets loose, the family's heritage may become one of pure carnage.

Stuart Gordon ("Re-Animator") directs this film with a cast consisting of Jeffrey Combs ("Re-Animator") and Barbra Crampton ("Re-Animator"), produced by Charles Band ("Re-Animator"). Maybe you've caught on, but this is something of a "Re-Animator" reunion... with a few people missing. And a much lower production value (the film quality looks like 1970s issue or something from PBS during British comedy hour). For the most part, this is pretty solid film.

Combs is quite good, and one wonders why he's not given leading roles more often. Crampton is also good, and the blind girl (Jessica Dollarhide, in her only feature film) was remarkable. The freak? I have to say the makeup, effects and even the mannerisms were impressive. There's a scene where a prostitute meets her end... and they really went out of their way to show how horrific the freak could be.

The story isn't fast-paced or action-packed, so if you need to be constantly entertained, this may not be for you. But if you like a good development in your plot, I think you'd appreciate this lost treasure (definitely one of the lesser-seen Gordon horror films). I wasn't paying as close attention as I should have been, because I was half in the bag from drinking Scoresby Scotch (it's the connoisseur's Scotch)... but it kept me feeling pretty good. Thanks, Full Moon Features, for one of your better offerings.
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Incredibly fun monster film
slayrrr66621 April 2008
"Stuart Gordon's Castle Freak" is a really enjoyable, if slightly flawed creature feature.


Traveling to Italy, John Reilly, (Jeffrey Combs) and his family, wife Susan, (Barbara Crampton) and daughter Rebecca, (Jessica Dollarhide) learn they have inherited a giant castle in the countryside. Deciding to sell the castle, they spend the night so they can take inventory in the morning. Exploring the castle, they start to find evidence of why they've inherited the castle and who was living in the castle before them. She starts to suspect that someone else is in the castle with them, which they laugh off as being a wish born from her handicap, and their irritation towards each other continues to grow. As they soon fall under a series of strange accidents and disappearances, they come to believe that there is someone inside the house, and are forced to defend themselves in hopes of getting out alive.

The Good News: This one here wasn't that bad, and had some quite good moments to it. The fact that the castle here is an old-school Gothic masterpiece is something to be admired, since there's something about the design and flow of it that just lends itself to a creepy surrounding. There's the grand design of the place with the way that it's constructed and furnished, as well as the fact that it genuinely looks like it hasn't been lived in for a long time due to the amount of dust, cloth over the furniture and much more, lead to an overall great location. So many scenes here play up the creepiness of the castle, from the blind walk into the catacombs following a cat to the walk-through to gather inventory to the great sequence where they're chasing off after strange noises in the distance and are unsure of what they're chasing after, are all excellent examples of the film using the glorious castle suspense in great ways. The design of the creature in here is just as good, as the deranged and deformed features, over-sized teeth and the sharpened claws on the hands and feet are perfect in keeping with a great monster which is imposing and quite creepy. Once the bedspread is utilized manages to improve the design and make it much better. The scene where it escaped, by biting it's finger off to wriggle out of chains, is a great scene and manages to work in a couple brutal moments and is an overall great scene. The opening sequence is just as good, getting the brutal punishment underway that starts it off with a disturbing, cruel manner, setting up the rest of the film perfectly. There's a rather sleazy sex scene in the catacombs which manages to get really nice amounts of nudity into the film, that is well-done and combined with a later sequence with the prostitute inside the lair, comprise some nice amounts of nudity. The last big part of this that works is the really nice gore provided here, since the kills are really bloody. There's one that has the skin from around their hips and legs eaten away, another is bashed in the head repeatedly with a large chain, there's an eyeball eaten out, slashings with broken beer bottles and much more in here that makes for some bloody good times. All of these here make the film rather enjoyable.

The Bad News: This one here only had a few small flaws to it. The fact that the film spends a long portion of time with the family drama and the tensions with each other over their dead child is something that can get irritating. It's something that requires everyone to simply yell at each other for no reason at all, since the flashback actually makes it clear that there's no reason to be like it at all due to it being a complete and total accident, and is just thrown in for the last-second reprieve at the end. That is obvious, and ever since the flashback that supports everything from the one character states, all it does is just aggravate due to it taking up so much time on something that already has a foregone conclusion. The fact that it starts getting to the main action a little late in the film is something else, since this one has the creature loose about twenty minutes in, yet the rampage doesn't really start until close to the end, leaving a large middle section creepy but action-less, and that can be a turn-off to some. Otherwise, this here was a really fun film.

The Final Verdict: A really fun and enjoyable creature feature that has enough good parts about it to be able to entertain with only a few mild flaws to hold it down. Highly recommended for fans of this style of film, fans of the cast or creative practices or just a creepy monster film, while those who can't appreciate them should heed caution.

Rated R: Graphic Violence, Full Nudity, Language and mild animal violence
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Creepy and Sad Horror Tale
Stuart Gordon's "Castle Freak" of 1995 is a creepy, gory, sad and quite original little horror flick and yet another proof that the man is a more than gifted director. It is certainly not Gordon's best movie (his absolute masterpiece is "Re-Animator", with "From Beyond" as a close second), but it nevertheless is a highly atmospheric and unusual Horror film, and especially worth watching as the 1990s were a more than poor decade for Horror in which good horror films, such as this one, were rare.

The film takes place in the homeland of great Horror, namely Bella Italia, where it is excellently set in an eerie old castle. John and Susan Reilly, a troubled married couple, have inherited the castle, and come to Italy with their blind daughter in order to take a look at their inheritance. The Reillys soon have to realize that their marital disputes are not their only trouble in their creepy new home... Gordon's regular star, the great Jeffrey Combs who is without doubt one of the greatest Horror actors of his generation, stars as John Reilly, the family father, and he is great in the role. His fellow "Re-Animator" cast member, the beautiful Barbara Crampton is very good as the wife. Jonathan Fuller is also very good. The film is creepy and highly atmospheric throughout and has many highly intense moments. Castles are always a great setting for Horror films, in my opinion, and this one is particularly eerie. This certainly isn't one of Stuart Gordon's best, but there is no doubt that it outshines most other Horror productions from the mid 90s. As far as I am concerned, "Castle Freak" doesn't reach the brilliance of "Re-Animator", but it is definitely a creepy, highly atmospheric and original, above average example of good 90s Horror. Recommended!
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