Home video release poster
|Directed by||Stuart Gordon|
|Produced by||Albert Band
|Screenplay by||Dennis Paoli|
|Story by||Stuart Gordon
|Based on||The Outsider by H. P. Lovecraft|
|Music by||Richard Band|
|Edited by||Bert Glatstein|
|Full Moon Enterprises
Full Moon Entertainment
|Distributed by||Full Moon Entertainment|
|Release date(s)||14 November 1995 (USA)|
|Running time||95 min.|
Castle Freak is a 1995 American horror film directed by Stuart Gordon, slightly based upon the short story The Outsider by H. P. Lovecraft. It was released direct to video on 14 November 1995. The film contains elements of splatter and slasher films.
After inheriting a 12th-century castle which belonged to a famed Duchess, John Reilly and his family, including his wife Susan and their blind teenage daughter Rebecca, travel to Italy to live. Susan blames him for the death of their son in a motor drunk driving accident which killed his five-year-old son and cost their daughter her eyesight.
On the advice of the estate's executor, the three plan to stay at the castle until they can liquidate the estate. Little do they know, however, that a horrible, freakish monster has been kept locked away in the basement. Unbeknownst to them, the duchess' son, Giorgio Orsino, who was kept imprisoned and tortured by the duchess in revenge for her husband leaving her, still lives in the dungeons of the castle.
Soon, the disfigured beast has escaped by means of breaking off his own thumb to get out of the manacles which bind him. The only reference to the H.P. Lovecraft story occurs when the monster beholds his hideous reflection in a mirror. He has emerged hungry for blood, leading to a series of unexplained deaths and disappearances including that of a prostitute John has picked up and brought to the castle after being rejected by his wife.
When the police name John their prime suspect, he must find the true murderer before he or his family becomes the next victim. Along the way, he must not only battle the creature itself but overcome demons from his own guilty past.
The prostitute is sexually mutilated and killed by the monster, who also prowls around the bedroom of the terrified Rebecca, who can hear, but not see, him. The monster later kills one of the policemen investigating the castle, as well as the maid who lives at the castle and finds the prostitute's body. Eventually he abducts Rebecca and she is manacled in his old cell. Susan comes to the rescue and manages to stab the monster and rescue Rebecca but the monster survives his wound and continues to attack Rebecca and Susan.
John starts putting together some of the weird things he’s been discovering around the castle and realizes that the Freak is actually his brother, and it was his mother that chained him up and tortured him all of his life because her husband abandoned her for America. John must now save himself and his family from this castle's unknown inhabitant before the "castle freak" has his way with them. A climactic rooftop battle between John and the monster ensues, ending in tragedy.
- Jeffrey Combs as John Reilly
- Barbara Crampton as Susan Reilly
- Johnathan Fuller as Giorgio (the Freak)
- Jessica Dollarhide as Rebecca Reilly
- Massimo Sarchielli as Giannetti
Castle Freak has received mixed reviews from critics, although many have praised its disturbing feel and tight storyline. It currently holds a 57% approval rating on movie review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on seven reviews.
In their book Lurker in the Lobby: A Guide to the Cinema of H. P. Lovecraft, Andrew Migliore and John Strysik write: "Castle Freak is a solid, even near-classic horror movie. Unlike the gory roller-coaster rides of Re-Animator and From Beyond, it is very serious and very adult. The only major flaw is one unnecessary and detestable scene of brutal violence."
Castle Freak premiered on VHS on November 14, 1995 in the United States. The Unrated Director's Cut of the film was released on DVD on December 16, 1997. All released by Full Moon Entertainment. The film was featured as part of The Stuart Gordon Boxset, which also contained The Pit and the Pendulum and Deathbed. The set was made available by WIZARD ENTERTAINMENT on January 16, 2007.
In the United Kingdom, the film was first release on VHS format by Entertainment in Video. The Unrated Director's Cut was made available in the UK on DVD via Film 2000 on October 20, 2008. on May 14, 2012, entertainment company 88 Films released the film on DVD in a digitally restored widescreen version. This is the first time Castle Freak has been available in widescreen, all releases prior to this in the United States and other countries had only seen full frame versions.
Castle Freak was released for the first time in Blu-ray format on April 15, 2013 by 88 Films in the United Kingdom. This is the first country in which the film was released in Blu-ray.
Full Moon Features released the film in Blu-ray in the United States on April 30, 2013.
- "Castle Freak - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
- Andrew Migliore & John Strysik, Lurker in the Lobby: A Guide to the Cinema of H. P. Lovecraft, Night Shade Books, February 1, 2006, ISBN 978-1892389350