Stuart Gordon’s Castle Freak is not The Outsider – the story by H.P. Lovecraft’s short story that it’s based upon – though it is interesting in it’s own right.
It takes the essential essence of Lovecraft’s story – a being separate from humanity due to his alienness (it’s always a “he” with Lovecraft) – a theme not exactly unknown to Lovecraft, and expands upon it in ways typical for Stuart Gordon.
Which is to say there’s more than a little bit of gore, violence, nudity and Jeffrey Combs.
As I said, the movie has relatively little to do with Lovecraft’s short though it pretty quickly becomes it’s own thing that for the most part works because Gordon understands that what he’s doing isn’t high art, and treats it accordingly.
The movie revolves around John Reilly (Jeffrey Combs) and his family. He’s just inherited a castle from a relative he didn’t know existed, and he’s intent on selling it off as quickly as possible.
What he doesn’t know is that there’s some sort of…being that’s been imprisoned in the castle that he was unaware of, and this creature is really, really violent.
Castle Freak by most metrics wouldn’t probably what one would call a “great” movie though to be fair it’s too damn engaging for greatness.
Castle Freak is instead pretty awesome.
Sure, it’s bit tacky and manipulative (though never in a meanspirited way) and gory but it somehow just works really, really well.
Which goes without saying that I MUST see the remake/reboot of Castle Freak to see if they’ve caught what makes the original so awesome.