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The first H.P. Lovecraft movie
akasch-225 February 2002
While it's not technically the *first* Lovecraft film, "Dagon" still has the honor of being the first actual adaption of one of his stories, rather than existing in the 'Lovecraft-inspired' genre.

I think I speak for everyone when I say that a good straight-forward Lovecraft film has been a long time coming. Sure, "Re-Animator" was a great quirky homage, but we've also suffered through more "Unnammables" and "Lurking Fears" than one can point a shotgun at!

Adapted from "The Shadow Over Innsmouth," this film actually does justice to Lovecraft's rich universe. Die-hard fans will no doubt go nuts when they see that every bit of the 'Deep Ones' mythos has been preserved. "Dagon" also marks the first time Cthulu is ever mentioned in a film (unless you count "Cthulu Mansion." Heh heh.)

While it doesn't contain the high production values needed to properly execute every aspect of Lovecraft, the film still looks damn good considering it's microscopic budget. This is the best looking Lovecraft film we're apt to see, as Hollywood won't touch this material with a ten-foot pole.

Sure, a few of the elements look cheap and the acting delivers its share of ham (does anyone understand a word Pablo Rabal is saying?!?!), but Stuart Gordon still succeeds in making "Dagon" an entertaining (and sometimes creepy) foray into one of history's greatest horror authors.
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There's something fishy in Imboca!
Brandt Sponseller31 January 2005
Based on two short stories ("Dagon" and "The Shadow Over Innsmouth") by horror author H.P. Lovecraft, Dagon tells the story of Paul Marsh (Ezra Godden), who has just made a bundle of money from stocks. While vacationing on a small boat with his girlfriend, Barbara (Raquel Merono), and an older couple, they run into trouble off the coast of a seemingly deserted, small Spanish fishing town of Imboca. Paul and his Barbara make it to shore to look for help, but things turn from bad to worse as they discover the town's evil secrets.

This is director Stuart Gordon's third Lovecraft related film, after Re-Animator (1985) and From Beyond (1986). All were also at least co-produced by Brian Yuzna and co-written by Dennis Paoli. While I can't say Dagon is the best, it is just as good, finishing as a solid 10 out of 10 for me.

What really puts Dagon over the top early on is the incredible atmosphere that Gordon achieves from the beginning of the film. We see a prologue of sorts with Marsh diving beneath the ocean, coming across bizarre, creepy ruins, and finally running into a beautiful mermaid who just happens to have a set of shark teeth. This turns out to be a dream, but shortly after, it gets even better when our heroes spot the deserted Spanish town and the ominous weather that's quickly approaching.

By the time Paul begins exploring the spooky town, I wanted to spend an eternity there. It has all the atmosphere of Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's superb Delicatessen (1991), with the addition of creepy, freakish townspeople. The more we learn about everything, the more strange it becomes, until we're finally in the middle of a nightmare that seems like a melding of Federico Fellini, David Cronenberg and Frank Henenlotter--we get visceral horror, captivating dark fantasy, and beautiful surrealism. There couldn't be a much more exquisite mix for my tastes. Don't miss this one.
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Good B Horror
el_nickster23 November 2004
Four pleasure boaters are shipwrecked near a Spanish fishing village. At first glad to be so close to a town, the boaters soon discover that the village is full of freaky deformed people who worship a bizarre and evil sea-religion. Soon the villagers turn on the outsiders, and the perverse and horrible tale of the village's decline becomes clear.

I recommend this film to those who like cheap horror. It has all of the important elements of a B horror film: weird monsters, creepy people, unclothed damsels, exciting chases, gore, and a twist ending.

In addition, this movie has a really weird plot, stolen from Lovecraft's short story "The Shadow Over Innsmouth." If you like literary puns, you will enjoy the fact that our heroes become stranded in the Spanish town of Inboca. So, this movie is a lot more original than 90% of the horror out there. It isn't as scary as it is gross, weird and obscene. That is as the original author would have wanted it! Also, "Dagon" is notable for having the best human sacrifice scene since "Lair of the White Worm."
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A treat for Lovecraft fans
frojavigdis20 June 2002
Dagon was the first horror movie I've seen in a few years that both had a good plot and kept me on the edge of my seat. After reading most of H.P. Lovecraft's short stories on which this movie was based, I can safely say that this is the only movie based on Lovecraft that is true to the atmosphere and plot structure of his stories. The special effects are not overdone and there is minimal (and yet effective) "splatter," unlike the movie "Necronomicon," which is also based on Lovecraft. The horror and suspense of the movie relies on xenophobia, fear of the strange and unknown, and this plays into the movie's surprise ending where the hero must question his own path.

I'd also like to add that this movie was filmed in a coastal village in Galicia, Spain, and the scenery is both realistic and haunting.

All in all, this movie should be a pleasure to both fans of H.P. Lovecraft and the horror genre.
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A Fun B-Horror Film.
eyescor21 May 2002
I was at the same screening the previous fellow was at an it was very obvious to me what kind of film we were seeing. It was a classic B-Movie Horror film with all of the camera movements, dialogue, makeup and effects of a good B-movie. This film does not, at any time, present itself as anything other than being an homage to the B-Movie Genre. The trailer preceding the film, which showed horror film trailers by Mario Bava, were an indication of what we were in store for. It's seems to be so easy for people to completely miss the point. (I am not a regular fan of this genre nor did I know who Mario Bava was so I am not a blind loyalist.) It was a fun film, it was entertaining. Actually, there were some very striking underwater shots.There also were moments that were extremely creepy and there was a lot of value for the budget they had. Good gore. I also know that the director, Stuart Gordon, is a guy who is well aware of what the film is and what its intended audience is. After all, it is very easy to pick friday the 13th or any of these films apart if one wants to appear superior. Is that the point? If you want to see a good horror film in the style of "Night of the Living Dead" and that style of film, "Dagon" is worth renting.
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A charming diversion.
goodellaa20 May 2002
This movie is based more on "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", "The Festival" or "The Stange High House in th Mist" than on "Dagon". Still, this sort of strange tale tends to fall into a certain pattern and if you enjoy this movie, you may find that you like Lovecraft's tales also. This movie captures the atmosphere of many of these stories and presents some of their weird concepts as well as any I have seen. It also plays sort of like an adventure serial, so it dosn't hurt that the hero is played in the manner of Harold Lloyd. There is plenty of comedy and gruesomeness, and the question of whether human self-determination or monstrous outside forces are stronger gets asked, in a nice graphic, non-preachy way. My only complaints are the "orchestral crash" which accompanies some of the shock effects, and the fact that aside from one showing in Hollywood two days ago, this movie seems destined only to be seen on the small screen in North America!
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Fried Fish with a dollop of H.P. Sauce
julian kennedy12 April 2005
Dagon: 9/10: Early on in his novella Mountains of Madness H.P. Lovecraft paints the following picture. "On and around that laboratory table were strown (sic) other things, and it did not take long for us to guess that those things were the carefully though oddly and inexpertly dissected parts of one man and one dog"

I bring this quote up because so many who are casually equated with the Lovecraftian genre naturally assume he wouldn't approve of the sex and violence portrayed in modern film versions of his work. He of course had to work within the mores of the day as he sought to get his works published in magazines often read by children. Graphic sex and violence was no more acceptable in the popular fiction of the 1920's and 30's than it was in the movies of the same time period. He however often pushed the boundaries of the time and though Victorian by both birth and nature he creatively expanded what was acceptable.

Dagon is a movie filled with nudity and very graphic violence. It is also simply the best Lovecraft adaptation ever. A combination of the title work and The Shadow Over Innsmouth, Dagon creates a phenomenal atmosphere and doesn't let up. The tension is palatable for almost the entire running time till the grand finale (which I'll admit was a little to much Lair of the White Worm for my tastes).

The make up and special effects are wonderful(with the exception one bad blink and you miss it CGI effect). The actors (at least the ones that are intelligible) do a fine job. But it is the incredible foreboding atmosphere that propels the movie along.

Filmed on a low budget they apparently found a remarkably frightening real life city that didn't need a lot of dressing up. Add a cast of stranger and stranger "creatures" and you simply have a winner. If you are unfamiliar with the Lovecraftian canon this is a great B movie. If you love his books however this is pure bliss.
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Cold, Icky and Eerie
Gafke21 December 2003
I'm not a huge Lovecraft fan. Don't get me wrong, the man was a master - but that's the problem I have with him. He simply wrote too well. His mutant fish fixation has always upset my equilibrium, and his tentacled Monster Gods still give me nightmares. Maybe, as a Pisces, I was subconsciously insulted, I don't know...but I've never sought out either his written works or the films based upon them. So, it was with little enthusiasm that I watched "Dagon" one cold, rainy morning. I wasn't sorry.

This film could probably be easily lost in the deluge of direct-to-video slashers with unimaginative plots and stale gore effects, which is a shame because it is neither stale nor a slasher. Based on a short story (which runs no more than five or six pages, if memory serves me correctly) "Dagon" is a cold, slithery, unnerving tale set in one of those isolated seaside towns that Lovecraft loved so much to write about. A boat accident sends a young couple ashore seeking help for their stranded friends. There have been warnings already, in the shapes of underwater nightmares suffered by the young man; a huge, submerged stone disk, a mermaid with a vampire's mouth, etc. The town's listless inhabitants soon reveal themselves to the terrified young couple - white, slimy gills and fish black eyes make their appearance, and by the time they do, it is too late.

There's a beautiful syren with mesmerizing eyes and an unfortunate case of tentacles, a bloody sacrifice above a stone pit, a sick face-ripping scene, a self-immolation and a twist ending. "Dagon" is hardly a throwaway slasher flick - its a dark, nasty, twisted fairy tale with neither a happy nor an unhappy ending. People with fish phobias probably would do well to steer clear, but this is a very well done little film that deserves better attention.
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Very decent adaptation
fugacity20005 July 2003
I half-expected this to be a mindless gore flick, but it turns out that this is a very good adaptation of one of Lovecraft's better stories. I have only two quibbles with the film: for one, it should have been called "The Shadow Over Innsmouth," the story it is based most on - "Dagon," I believe, is about a WWI U-Boat captain whose ship sinks and who finds the temple of Dagon under the Atlantic. Second, why try to show Dagon? That makes no sense - Lovecraftian horrors are best left to the imagination, just off the screen.

Other than that, though, a very nice horror movie/thriller that deserved a theater release, not a straight-to-video sentence.
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why cant horror/fantasy like this get a bigger release...
nab29 May 2006
TINY SPOILER ...when heaps like THE CAVE, THE CORE, WHEN A STRANGER CALLS (remake)get spread over every other cinema (UK experience)? It has budget related flaws and couple of cheesy moments, but when you compare it in the imagination and shear stick-to-a-weird-story spirit department it piddles all over most movies, never mind recent offerings from a 'fringe' genre like fantasy/horror.

This captures HP Lovecraft ideals with a mix of tongue in check cheese, sincere homage, inspired interpretation and a measure of terror and gore that fits the mood perfectly.

The acting is... passionate, the prosthetics competent and the pace/plot/script often inspiring (seriously - apart from the Star Wars moment... you'll know when it happens).

Good looking - good effort - so why am I more likely to see a sequel to THE CAVE on the big screen than a film of this ilk? Makes me want to take up reading.
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When will the world get a good Lovecraft movie
Vodstok2 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Though not a terrible movie, i really could not truly enjoy Dagon. I love cheesy horror flicks, but when it is yet another crappy adaption of one of HP Lovecraft's stories, it kills all of the fun for me.

Looking at it as a cheesy horror flick only, it is fun. Go watch it and enjoy the cheddar.

If, however, you are a fan of Lovecraft looking for something marginally watchable, i would find something else. Dagon takes the story "Shadow over Innsmouth" and completely bastardizes it. Rather than being set in a creepy new england town, it is a creepy Spanish town, lamely named "Imbocca". (In-Mouth for the non-Spanish speaking) In th end, the main character finds out he is descended from fish men, lets Dagon eat his fiancé, and takes off with a squid woman. Not really the kind of thing the master of Modern horror would have written.

I could have said more, but it really doesn't warrant it.
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Horror and fantasy based on stories by the master H.P. Lovecraft
ma-cortes6 March 2011
Dagon tells an incredible story of terror , marine monsters and including fantastic touches. As it packs horror ,suspense , plot-twists, tension , chills , thrills with sensationalistic scenes . A shipping accident off the Galician coast of North of Spain sends the starring named Paul (Ezra Dodden) and his sweetheart Barbara (Raquel Meroño)to the decrepit fishing village called Imboca looking for help. As night falls, people start to disappear and things not quite human begin to appear. Paul finds himself chased by the entire people of Imboca . There he meets an old fisher named Ezequiel(Francisco Rabal) and a strange young girl (Macarena Gomez). Running for his life, Paul uncovers Imboca's dark secret but he is taken by the secret sect . The villagers worshipping the God Dagon and his unholy offspring are on the loose in the place .

Based on two short stories by the undisputed expert of the terror H.P. Lovecraft titled ¨Dagon¨ and ¨The shadow over Innsmouth¨ . The picture packs thrills, chills , terror , fantasy and lots of blood and gore . Furthermore , unrelenting twists and turns as when the starring discovers that the truth will not set him free instead it condemns him to a waking nightmare of impressive horror . B-entertainment with a fairly suspenseful and horrifying story about an ancient fanatic religious cult of followers of Dagon. This tale about a young couple who is involved into a twisted intrigue begins well and grows more and more until a downbeat finale . Good makeup on the freakish half-human creatures by DDT that subsequently won Academy Award for ¨Pan's labyrinth¨ . Dark and colorful cinematography by Carlos Suarez and atmospheric musical score by Carles Cases that includes Galiacian sounds . The flick is finely produced by the chairman of Filmax and Castelao Productions , Julio Fernandez who along with his brother Carlos Fernandez are two successful producers and experts on Horror genre , producers of hits as ¨The machinist¨ ,¨ Fragiles¨, ¨Darkness¨, Rec 1, Rec2 and many others. The picture is compellingly directed by Stuart Gordon who along with Bian Yuzna are important American filmmakers expert on terror cinema , both of whom working for Castelao , Fantastic Factory or Filmax . Rating : 6 , acceptable and passable film , though contains some flaws.
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Not quite there...
capnhowdy6921 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This movie could have been an amazing film. The budget didn't need to go higher, the acting didn't need to be better and the actors were for the most part very fitting. The thing about this movie that throws me off is how it mish-mashes multiple Lovecraft themes into a collage of failure. If it had JUST been "The Shadow over Innsmouth" it could have been so much more. It takes the entire story rearranges the sequence of events and then craps them out in a disjointed, immemorable, forgettable and ultimately pointless film. The story conveys so much horror and atmosphere than the director was able to convey. Die-hard Lovecraft fans such as myself will appreciate the film, however I think we can all agree that this is not true Lovecraft. This is a sub-par director cutting his teeth on a low budget movie and actually being pretentious enough to think he could turn an atmospheric, chill you to the bone tale into a slasher flick. This movie goes over the top making the town out to be crazed fish people and ignores the subtlety that makes Lovecraft and his mythology truly fantastic. It's the horrors you DON'T see that inspire the fear. It's that bump in the night you just aren't QUITE sure you heard... it's the way things are just a LITTLE bit off. From the very get go we are confronted with blatant fish people and everybody is murdered etc. Ah, what might have been... I suppose it's worth a single viewing if you are are a fan of Lovecraft. If you aren't then save your money for something you will actually enjoy.
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Genuinely scary film that deals with the theme of innocent people stranded in a dangerous, foreign land
Milo-Jeeder23 March 2015
In "Dagon", Paul and his girlfriend, Barbara, go on a trip to Spain, but after suffering an accident with their boat, they end up stranded in a gloomy harbor port called Imboca. After a series of incidents, Paul becomes separated from his girlfriend, so he goes on a search all around the town to find her. For some reason, the villagers from Imboca are out to get Paul, but he manages to escape the angry horde. Through the story of a homeless guy named Ezequiel, Paul learns that several years ago, there was a fish shortage in the town of Imboca, which caused a lot of despair among the villagers. One day, an evil sailor introduced the townspeople to a new god called Dagon and forced them to abandon their catholic religion. Dagon eventually brought a lot of wealth to the town, but in return, he demanded live sacrifices and women to breed with him. Progressively, Imboca became a dark and isolated place, inhabited by fish-like creatures, which live to worship their beastly god. During Paul's search, he comes across a strange "girl" named Uxia, who is also the high priestess of the Order of Dagon and she seems to be in love with him. Paul decides to continue with his search, unaware of the fact that the townspeople, led by Uxia, want to offer Barbra as a sacrifice to Dagon.

Director Stuart Gordon offers a dark and even depressing atmosphere in this film that deals with the classic theme of innocent people stranded in a deserted place, where they meet a gruesome fate. While the story is simple, as it mostly features Paul escaping from the angry villagers, it manages to provide an hour and a half of genuine horror with dignity, avoiding never ending fillers that lead to nothing. In some way, I suppose "Dagon" may sound similar to a zombie flick, but in this case, it seems like the angry horde actually has something personal against Paul, which makes the whole thing more intriguing, since we don't get to know why, until the very end. Paul's quest becomes exciting, as we get to see the mysteries surrounding Imboca slowly unraveling.

My main satisfaction with this film is due to the perfect location, because I believe that the filming locations are very relevant in these types of horror films, where the setting usually works as another character that interacts with the rest. The fictional town of Imboca (which is actually called Combarro) makes the perfect horror scenery for this nightmare-like story; it looks frightening, even depressing, and it is always raining heavily throughout the entire film, which makes things even more difficult for the main character. Aside from the Combarro landscapes, we see a decaying hotel that seems to have been deserted for a long time, which gives a feeling of uneasiness and discomfort. Abandoned places always seem to provoke distress, because they give the feeling that they are cut out from the rest of society, the modern civilized word and its false securities. The Spanish architecture of the houses and mansions are somehow more unpolished and rustic than the architecture that we normally see in American horror films, and I find this rusticity to be also frightening, as it gives me the idea that the people from this place have some kind of a ferocious nature and aren't exactly tamed.

As for the bizarre villains, which in this case are mostly the townspeople, I thought this was a great achievement; the idea of merging humans and sea creatures as the main antagonists is perfect. These characters hardly ever talk, they mostly make strange noises, they walk around in a weird animalistic way, and most of them cover their pale fish-like faces with scarves and the rest of their bodies with black hooded raincoats. In a way, it reminded me of a zombie film, since these villagers move together in a horde without a mind, chasing the only humans in the town, because they want something from them. Of course, I have seen my share of zombie films and while I can enjoy them from time to time, I found these strange fish-like creatures to be more interesting and scary. The music in "Dagon", composed by Carl Cases is also very fitting. We mostly get to hear the same music throughout the entire film, in which a woman and a chorus of men chant a darkly appealing melody that helps to create a mystical and depressing atmosphere.

Of course, I don't think "Dagon" is the perfect film. My main problem with this film is the bad CGI; not only because it looks extremely cheap and amateurish, but also, because it is completely unnecessary. This film could have been much better without this horrible CGI, and while I cannot say that this ruined the movie for me, it cheapens it considerably. I have another criticism concerning the dialogs. Though "Dagon" mostly doesn't provide humor, unlike some of Gordon's previous horror films, I'm sure some of the dialogs in this film are supposed to be intentionally funny, and while I chuckled like it was intended, I find the humor to be out of place in a film like this.

Based on "The Shadow over Innsmouth", this film is mostly regarded by Lovecraft fans as a noble effort that actually remains true to the atmosphere and structure of his story. In any case, Dennis Paoli, who writes most of the scripts for Gordon, deserves recognition as well, since "Dagon" doesn't take everything directly from Lovecraft's story. The film deals with a few recurring Lovecraftian elements, such as the impossibility to escape fate, religion and non-human influences on humanity, among others.
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Disappointing and Rather Pointless
Craig Larson12 April 2002
_Dagon_ has its moments. There's a certain cheesy charm at work in the grainy, dark, washed-out color. This is ultra-low budget filmmaking, but the gloomy, seemingly-deserted Spanish fishing village comes across as an appropriately spooky locale. The film relies too much on run-and-chase dramatics and there is an overabundance of gruesome gore. Did we really NEED to see a man's face torn off? Was this crucial to the plot? I'm not against gore, don't misunderstand. It's just pointless and unnecessary gore I'm not a fan of. Ultimately, this is one depressing and nihilistic film with not a single ounce of hope for its lead characters, not that they're people we really care that much about to begin with. Hopefully, this isn't the last word on Stuart Gordon's proposed film of H.P. Lovecraft's _The Shadow Over Innsmouth_, but it has to be considered a low point in Gordon's career.
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The best Lovecraft-based movie
Frederic_B8 July 2002
I recommend this movie to every Lovecraft fan because I doubt you will ever see one that is closer to the Cthulu mythos.

Thanks to the "fantastic factory" we are available to finally see something close to the mythos, it seems making something else than zombies or vampires is not welcome even in the horror movie-scene.Stuart told us that the movie was too weird and no one wanted to produce it..

I won't discuss the acting because you can like it or not but I must say that the atmoshpere of oppression and ineluctability that is in almost each Lovecraft story is well restored in Dagon, the "deep ones" are almost perfect there are some nice gory passages and the story is very dark.

Scenario is a mix of two H.P.Lovecraft stories "Dagon" and "Shadow over Innsmouth" and well they made quite a successful mix with those two stories.

This is the only good "old school" (zombies,monsters) horror-movie I've seen in a movie-theater since a long time that is not supposed to be funny and is really horrific.
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A modern yet faithful adaptation to one of H.P Lovecraft's finest
Phil K14 February 2016
This is the way I think horror movies should be: unpredictable, horrific, and in their own tumultuous direction.

This is a fantasy horror adventure and it strays from the same old "Hollywood-horror"' formula, and for that it is very commendable, but not only for that, but for utilizing the poignancy of the original H.P Lovecraft story and adapting it appropriately in the modern age.

I am a fan of the director, and as similar with his other titles this film is full of real props, costumes and monster designs that are slimy and horrific. Even though I think the film could use a smoother editing job, I could tell that a lot went into maintaining the dark and archaic mood, making it a truly satisfying horror classic.
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Another decent effort at H.P. Lovecraft from the great Stuart Gordon... Rewatchability: High Blu-ray (German) Good A:8 V:8
lathe-of-heaven23 May 2015
I'm a bit torn about this one... I read Bowmanblue's review and I must say that I mostly agree with what he wrote about the movie. I liked the film and it really did have a pretty good atmosphere. The town where they chose to set the story had a nice creepy vibe going for it and could be considered an actual 'Character' in and of itself.

I guess if you look at this movie from the basic premises and stories that H.P. Lovecraft used, it seems to fit into his universe pretty well. His stories were really almost ALL atmosphere, which isn't a bad thing. Heh... I'M usually the one who is most vocal about how important mood and atmosphere is in Horror films, especially Classically themed ones, and yet here I am actually considering spouting off about the lack of substance or story through most of the middle part of the film. (shame on me...)

I REALLY love Stuart Gordon's films, especially his first 3 and 'FORTRESS'. I think that he is very talented and he is DEFINITELY the guy to do this kind of movie. I honestly wish that he would get off his more modern thing of doing these more 'Realistic' Horror films and just get back to doing what he does best and what we all REALLY want from him: Good, old-fashioned, creepy Horror films.

I suppose if I am truly being honest, I will admit that I sorely missed Jeffrey Combs in this one. Maybe he just had other commitments or couldn't go to Spain to make this film, I don't know... But, that was kind of nagging at me as I was watching the movie and I THINK that if the main guy had been Combs, I bet that I would probably have liked the movie even more. However, he had a good 'nice guy' vibe going on, sort of like the romantic lead in 'REANIMATOR'

The look and atmosphere of the film are very good. The acting is fairly decent for the most part and the story is pure Lovecraft. There are a few gruesome touches thrown in here or there (or it wouldn't be a Gordon/Yuzna film now, would it...?) but, I really didn't feel that it was nearly as grisly as some others. Overall, and also objectively taking into consideration how many here really do like this film, I would say that if you are a fan of H.P. Lovecraft or Stuart Gordon at all, then you should find this film to be fairly entertaining.

The way the film finishes has a nice touch to it that gives the movie a little bit of a welcome punch at the end...
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An 80's horror with no ironic Kids to ruin it.
muttley_120 August 2002
Just watched Stuart Gordon's DAGON. Having enjoyed Gordon's 80's genre outings Re-animator, Bride and From Beyond I was looking forward to this latest opus.

Now the problems I have with the film aren't insurmountable but they do take away some of the enjoyment. Firstly Ash in evil dead was cool, that's a given but the guy in this (Ezra Godden) is like Ash lite and I never really bonded with him as a character basically coz he didn't have any. It starts with a really nice sequence that bodes well for a H.P Lovecraft adaptation but the middle third soon degenerates into a half assed prolonged chase . Now I was starting fidget just a touch but I thought I've paid for this it's got to get better and you know what? It does. WAhhaaay.

Once the Dagon Mythos is shown as back-story Told by an old fisherman in a ridiculously thick accent the Great Old Ones atmos kicks in.

The last third pulls the film up by it's Lapels from mediocrity to pretty damn good. I'll not spoil it but let's just say there's Boobies, Blood, Monsters, and one of the most painful gory protracted deaths I've seen in a long time.

This was like a welcome throwback to the early 80's when Ironic teenagers hadn't yet nudged and winked the credibility out of the genre.
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Dagon - The Lovecraft film that Lovecraft fans have been waiting for?
Robbie-2125 September 2002
"Dagon" certainly stands a cut above the rest when it comes to film adaptations of the works of H.P. Lovecraft. However, like pretty much every other attempt, Stuart Gordon and company also manage to fail in creating anything other than a Lovecraft-inspired B-grade horror movie. With this film, it is truly a shame. Unlike some of the utterly unwatchable adaptations that have been done, "Dagon" manages to, in places, bring an authentic-feeling Lovecraft mood and look to the screen. The in-town locations are, by-and-large, wonderful. Using a Spanish location and Spanish language was a great idea. The Actors playing the priest and the old man are excellently cast. Also, Gordon and company get high marks for the scenes where the true, horrible nature of the townsfolk is merely hinted at or teased. However, all of the successful teasing and hinting is for naught if you eventually show some guy in a big rubber monster mask, oozing slime all over the camera. Two great character actors are wasted if your central hero is so dreadfully written. And it is odd that film makers would be so inspired by Lovecraft's stories to make films (or are they inspired by the potential $$$$ in Lovecraft's name?) and yet end up either not noticing the strengths of Lovecraft's storytelling or purposely abandoning it. How can one admire a story enough to bring it to film and not admire its strengths? Lovecraft is all about the tease, about not showing, about what we can imagine from just a glimpse beneath the mask being far more terrifying than what we can gather in an extended shot? Example: the first glimpse that the movie's hero gets through a cracked door of mutated father character. The hints of inhuman deformity do wonders towards creeping the viewer out, forcing them to imagine a horror far worse. But then Gordon and company end up *showing* us the father's full facial deformities in a long, extended shot full of latex and rubber squid parts. This is bad storytelling. This is bad filmmaking. This is not Lovecraftian in the least and it throws away any former success in hinting at it. The hint is far, FAR more effective. It's like a striptease versus hardcore pornography. Lovecraft is the striptease and while other horror storytellers may revel in disgusting details, in the pornography of horror, it was never H.P.'s style. So either Gordon didn't trust Lovecraft's work and thought vainly that he could improve upon it or the man was simply too daft to grasp the complexity of Lovecraft's horror to begin with. I cannot say which I hope is the case. Other issues that bug me about "Dagon" include the romantic angle and the *action-man* crap. Lovecraft's stories almost never feature a romantically involved secondary character. In fact, if there *is* a Lovecraft story that features a man involved with a normal woman in a romantic way, I am not remembering it at present. There certainly is no mention of a romance in "Shadow over Innsmouth" and it is simply not an aspect of the Lovecraftian tale. To give a Lovecraft hero a romantic interest is like giving one to Sherlock Holmes--it simply isn't a part of the picture. So, shame on Gordon and company for giving us such an ugly horror movie cliché. Really, from where did they gain their true influence for this picture? From Lovecraft or from every other bland horror movie ever thrown up on a U.S. screen? Blah. Also, all of the action in the film is distressing. Is this Evil Dead or is this Lovecraft because I saw a helluva lot of running around with guns, fire, and whatnot? Lovecraftian horror is not about running around with guns and blasting stuff. To slap his name on a film like that is simply insulting. That combined with the profanity... really, in what Lovecraftian tale does H.P. Use the F word? Which one? Because I don't think I've read that particular story. At times, with gun in hand, the central character in Dagon says everything short of "I've come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass..." *sigh* And why must these tales always be transported from their atmospheric, early 1900's settings to modern day? What purpose does this serve? Given the look of the locations used in `Dagon,' to have it set in the 1930's would not have required an enormous amount of additional work or funds. In closing, the film is fun and perfectly acceptable so long as you expect nothing more than a B-grade horror film-and even as a Lovecraftian horror film, it's better than most. But anyone claiming that this is the great, true Lovecraft film that we've been waiting for all these years is simply out of their mind. This film is fair, but that's it.
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Dark Symbolist Nightmare
gulag14 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
*** Major Spoiler Alert ***

Stuart Gordon's Dagon is an intense and unique film based mostly on H.P. Lovecraft's The Shadow Over Innsmouth and his much shorter work entitled Dagon. This is really epic material in a strangely soaked Spanish environment. A Lovecraftian cult worshiping the underwater deity Dagon have taken over a small town on the Atlantic coast of Spain. A sailboat on pleasure cruise ends wrecked there. They will not be leaving anytime soon.

Now situationally this is a fairly obvious menu. Gordon does, at one point, dive off the gory edge, but this is a Stuart Gordon film after all. Meanwhile the chase through dripping dampness of the town is really a pulse quickener. What makes this work is the danker than dank waterlogged environment and the extraordinarily emotional relationship of Dagon's daughter played in a one of a kind performance by Spanish actress Macarena Gomez to our trapped nerd, played by Ezra Godden.

Macarena plays the part of tentacled siren princess with real fish-eyed believability. She was given instructions by Gordon (whose previous Lovecraft works include From Beyond and Re-Animator) to keep her eyes from blinking. When in the end Uxía (Gomez) craves Paul (Godden), whom she calls Pablo, she calls out to him with such an urgent imploring sad doomed yet loving tone in her voice she becomes perhaps the ultimate mermaid nightmare: Her eyes filled with wells of tearful salt water, her robes of gilded Symbolist splendor. She reveals the dark secrets of the unholy sect.

Uxía: Pablo, it is your destiny... We had different mothers, but the same father... We are children of Dagon. Your dreams. Remember your dreams, Pablo. They brought you here. Paul: No. They were nightmares. They weren't real. Uxía: Every dream is a wish. Paul: Somebody help me! What's happening to me? Uxía: You are my brother. You will be my lover - forever.

The tone Macarena hits here is the crescendo of the entire film, that sense of hopeless beauty and tragic certainty. I don't agree philosophically with the fatalism of that black romance, but who hasn't felt that temptation to give into it. And as Paul sets himself on fire and plunges into the sea Uxía follows. And together they descend into the depths of the tentacled God Dagon's realm. One feels the drowning, yet liberation. Yet we know to follow is to be annihilated.

I can't think of another film to present the darker aesthetics aspects of the antique Symbolist dream so vividly. For those with strong stomachs yet sensitive hearts I strongly recommend Dagon.
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you can't fight destiny
dutchchocolatecake7 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
My experience with Lovecraft inspired movies is that they are either confusing, cheesy, trashy, or just plain so far from the stories they are based on that it wasn't even worth associating poor Howard Phillips with it in the first place.

Dagon is one movie that raises the bar and justifies the demand for more serious cinematic approaches to Lovecraft's work. Yes, it is possible to make good Lovecraftian movies; and without being based on gratuitous female nudity or violence against women either.

I originally saw Dagon back in 2003, on what's now known as the SyFy channel. I immediately fell in love with this movie. So, for this review, I tracked down the full version to give it the attention it deserves.

The music is ambient, the setting is appropriately creepy, and the actors are believable. The female characters are multidimensional and complex. All of their performances were great, but Macarena Gomez's performance stood out for me. One look into her blink-less stare and I was mesmerized.

Scenes with nudity were not over-sexualized and in fairly good taste and appropriate for the scenes they happened in. There are several F-bombs dropped but like the nudity, it was appropriate for the context and wasn't overwhelming or used as a cheap plot device. There is a lot more violence than I remember in the television version, and it is a lot more gory than I anticipated. There is allusion to rape, but it is done with serious consideration; and it is not treated like a joke or flung about to titillate sick fantasies like so many other movies do.

But for this reason I suggest viewers that are triggered by that kind of content to see the television version. It is a lot more tame and easier to watch. While I'm handing out spoilers and warnings, I'd might as well mention that there's a scene that contains blasphemy towards the Christian religion.

This movie has a lot of action, which kept me interested as the story moved along at a reasonable pace. The main character, Paul Marsh (Ezra Godden), is kind of nerdy and awkward but it adds depth and realism to the viewing experience. He was relatable so I could feel a wide range of emotion as I watched the movie.

They did a really good job casting actors that act and look like normal people. The protagonists are likable and easy to sympathize with. The special effects are good, and background elements like lightening strikes are well timed, if not ironic at moments. There is interesting visual symbolism that is left open to interpretation by the viewer.

It's worth mentioning that this movie appears inspired by several Lovecraft stories rather than just one (The Shadow over Innsmouth); but all the elements worth together so well it's hard to tell the difference. The creators not only make an effort at good movie making and succeed; they are also refreshingly unpretentious too. There's nothing worse than watching a movie that takes itself too seriously. In Dagon, the suspenseful moments are balanced with moments to snicker at the bizarre nature of the situation presented. Various improvised weapons and props are a source of amusement, such as the cell phone bludgeoning part.

Overall, I don't know how anyone can *not* enjoy this movie. It is diverse and respects ethnic, age, and sex differences. It is well made for the resources it had available; the acting is quality and the plot has substance. Most importantly it respects the spirit of Lovecraft and doesn't spit on his memory like several other movies I could mention. Buy this DVD, you won't be sorry!
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Its H.P. Lovecraft at its truest fashion, and Director, Stuart Gordon in the driver's seat.
kclipper12 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
If anyone is qualified to capture the unrestrained weirdness and perversity of the mind of H.P Lovecraft, its Stuart Gordon. This may be his most ambitious effort in a long career of accomplishing the near impossible task of adapting strange and fascinating concepts to the screen, and he really pulls it off this time around. Paul Marsh (Ezra Godden in the typical Lovecraft lead role, feeble looking but tough and resourceful) and girlfriend, Barbara crash land their boat in a small town off the coast of Spain only to encounter a mutant cult of fish people who worship a God named Dagon. Its cat and mouse thrills and chills galore until ultimately, Paul learns that it is his destiny to "swim with the fishes" so to speak.

This is a loose screen adaptation of Lovecrafts's stories, "Shadow Over Innsmouth", and the biblical, "Dagon", and it's classic Lovecraft weirdness to the highest degree in a twisted world full of in-humanoid freaks, blasphemy, incest, gore and strange ritualistic fantasy. Stuart Gordon is at his best at keeping the pace alive with a dark, wet and unsettling atmosphere in what is probably the best Lovecraft adaptation since Re-Animator (which is more slapstick than Lovecraftian horror). Energetic performances include Godden, Macarena Gomez as the cult priestess, and the late, Francisco Rabal who in which the film is dedicated. The gore is priceless, especially a scene where Rabal is skinned alive, and the make up effects and on-location production values are way above average considering a very constrained budget. A little hokey looking CGI is thrown into the mix, but the film's flaws hardly make a difference in its capture of Lovecraft's bizarre imagination and creepy logic. Its a rare gem indeed despite its negative reviews.
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Somewhat good, somewhat bad.
Aaron13752 June 2003
This movie is about a nerdy guy and his beautiful girlfriend with either two friends, or the gal's parents. I wasn't sure. Anyway, their boat gets hung up in the rocks and the older lady gets her leg stuck so the nerdy guy and his gal go in a raft and head for this town. In town are a lot of pale people who seem to resemble fish, but they are seemingly helpful at first. The gal gets kidnapped and the strange people for most of the flick chase around the nerd. There is also this drunken guy who was hard for me to understand so I had to click on the subtitles. This movie had its moments where it was good, and then it had its moments where it wasn't. Could have been better and there was a bit of a twist ending to it, but there was also a very badly done cgi monster. The nerdy guy also gets on your nerves, especially at the beginning, but you get used to him. This movie could have used some more people getting killed, but there is a fair amount of gore and stuff. Though I can't say for sure as I had seen this on the Sci-Fi channel. All in all it is worth checking out if you got nothing better to do.
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Something fishy
ctomvelu12 November 2009
Stuart Gordon shot DAGON on the cheap in Spain, and it shows. An adaptation of a Lovecraft story, the movie tracks two couples who end up stranded in a coastal fishing town, only to discover the villagers are not exactly human. They worship a strange undersea god, and practice human sacrifice. There are a couple of scary scenes and a preposterous climax that is abrupt and virtually incomprehensible. Gordon, nest known for RE-ANIMATOR, fails badly with this trifle. The film is poorly made, the accents for the most part are impermeable, and other than one wonderfully gory face-peeling scene, there's nothing else worth seeing here. For Gordon and Lovecraft fans only who won't mind the $1.98 production values.
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