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Giorgio (Jonathan Fuller) has been kept chained up in the dungeon of an Italian
castle for 40 years by his own mother (Helen Stirling), who gave him just
enough food to eat and a good whipping every day - so it comes as little
surprise that with time, Giorgio has grown into a (disfigured) maniac. Then
though his mother dies, and American John Reilly (Jeffrey Combs) inherits
the castle, unaware of its cellar dweller like the rest of the world. He
soon moves in with his wife Susan (Barbara Crampton) and blind daughter
Rebecca (Jessica Dollarhide) ... but the family is falling apart and has
been so since John has killed their son JJ (Alessandro Sebastian Satta)
and blinded Rebecca in a drunk driving accident two years ago.
Soon enough, Giorgio breaks free from his chains and starts threatening
Rebecca, but since she is blind, nobody tends to believe her. Eventually,
John too gets the feeling there is something wrong in the castle, but
Susan, who still blames JJ's death on him (and right she is), thinks he's
just making up excuses for the problems they are having like he always
does - and ultimately her attitude makes him drink again, something he
hasn't done since JJ's death. And in his drunk state, he picks up a
prostitute (Raffaela Offidani) and shags her in the wine cellar ... just
too bad that after the shag, she comes across Giorgio, who bites off her
tit and slowly and brutally kills her. Too bad, too, that she was not only
a prostitute but also the mother of the local police captain's son ... and
he's hell-bent on finding the killer and soon enough stumbles upon John as
a tailormade culprit. At first though, John can evade arrest thanks to his
lawyer, but when the castle's maid (Elisabeth Kaza), who's also the
lawyer's sister, is found dead as well, the lawyer turns against his
However, while John is in police custody, Giorgio continues to kill
people, starting with the cops left behind at the caslte for protection.
Then he goes after REbecca and Susan ... and in the end, it's only thanks
to John, who has somehow managed to escape from the precinct, that Giorgio
doesn't kill them. John ultimately engages Giorgio in a fight, a fight
neither of them survives, but at least John has redeemed himself, and with
his dieing breath he confesses his undieing love for his wife.
Another Lovecraft-adaptation by Stuart Gordon (even though only a very
loose adaptation), but unfortunately the film is, despite a similar cast,
nowhere near as good as Gordon's masterpiece Re-Animator.
On the other hand of course, Re-Animator
was a bona fide classic of the macabre that is hard to live up to, and
while that film was full of black humour and absurd gore, Castle Freak is
a rather straight horror pic ... and as that, it isn't half bad either, a
competently crafted shocker with some nice, atmospheric sets (including an
Italian castle actually owned by the production company, some decent
acting and some gruesome gore. No classic perhaps, but not bad either, and
certainly among Full Moon's better films (on a pure quality scale,
not necessarily measured by enjoyment).
By the way, I love the title !!!