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Castle Freak

USA 1995
produced by
Maurizio Maggi, Albert Band (executive), Charles Band (executive) for Full Moon
directed by Stuart Gordon
starring Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Jessica Dollarhide, Jonathan Fuller, Massimo Sarchielli, Elisabeth Kaza, Luca Zingaretti, Helen Stirling, Alessandro Sebastian Satta, Raffaella Officani, Marco Stefanelli, Tunny Piras, Rolando Cortegiani
story by Stuart Gordon, Dennis Paoli, screenplay by Dennis Paoli, inspired by The Outsider by H.P. Lovecraft, music by Richard Band

Stuart Gordon's H.P. Lovecraft adaptations

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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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 client.

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 !!!


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD