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Masters of Horror - Stuart Gordon - Dreams in the Witch House (2005)

Karen Austin , J. Winston Carroll , Stuart Gordon  |  NR |  DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Masters of Horror - Stuart Gordon - Dreams in the Witch House + Pickman's Muse + Dagon
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Product Details

  • Actors: Karen Austin, J. Winston Carroll, Miho Ninagawa, Anthony Harrison, Diego Martinez-Tau
  • Directors: Stuart Gordon
  • Writers: Stuart Gordon, Dennis Paoli, H.P. Lovecraft, Mick Garris
  • Producers: Adam Goldworm, Andrew Deane, Ben Browning
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: March 28, 2006
  • Run Time: 55 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E5KUMO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,709 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Masters of Horror - Stuart Gordon - Dreams in the Witch House" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary by writer/director Stuart Gordon as actor Ezra Godden
  • "Dreams, Darkness and Damnation: An Interview with Stuart Gordon" featurette
  • "Behind The Scenes: The Making of Dreams in the Witch House" featurette
  • "Working With a Master: Stuart Gordon" featurette on the director and his work
  • "SFX: Meet Brown Jenkin" featurette
  • "On Set: An Interview with Chelah Horsdal" featurette
  • Stuart Gordon Bio
  • Still Gallery
  • Storyboard Gallery
  • Trailers
  • DVD-ROM: Original Screenplay
  • DVD-ROM: The original story “Dreams in the Witch House” by H.P. Lovecraft
  • DVD-ROM Screen savers

Editorial Reviews

Director Stuart Gordon picked an H.P. Lovecraft story for his installment of Showtime's Masters of Horror series. So what did you expect? This filmmaker gained his horror-movie spurs with his wild and wonderful Lovecraft flicks Re-Animator and From Beyond (following up years later with another H.P. tale, the fishy Dagon), so nothing could be more super-natural. For his hour-long episode, Gordon chose Dreams in the Witch House, which follows a student (Ezra Godden) at Miskatonic University (that's Lovecraft's frequently-mentioned fictional school) as he moves into a suspiciously cheap boarding house. When he has intense nightmares about a rat with a human face, it should be a warning sign, but the student is mightily attracted to a single mom at the house, played by the mighty attractive Chelah Horsdal. Some acceptable mood-setting comes courtesy of Godden's elderly downstairs neighbor, and the half-dozen shocks are just fine. Somehow the straight-line story disappoints, as the ultimate outcome of it all seems fairly obvious from the opening scenes, and there's nothing much to complicate the slide into evil. Still, this episode merits a passing grade by the strict standards of Miskatonic U. --Robert Horton

Product Description

When stressed-out student Walter Gilman (Ezra Godden of DAGON) rents a room in a decrepit old house, his graduate thesis studies begin to take some very strange twists: He suffers nightmares about a voracious rat with a human face. He suspects that a gateway to another dimension may exist behind his wall.And he is seemingly seduced by a luscious she-demon who thirsts for souls of the innocent via a covenant that screams for blood. But when Walter must face the most depraved urge of all, will the line between madness,murder and unholy mayhem be crossed forever? Chelah Horsdal (HOLLOW MAN 2) and Jay Brazeau (INSOMNIA,THEY) co-star in this disturbing shocker directed by Stuart Gordon, co-written by Gordon & Dennis Paoli (THE DENTIST, CASTLE FREAK) and based on the infamous short story by horror master H.P. Lovecraft

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great especially for Lovecraft fans April 2, 2006
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This is an unusually good little horror flick, with those elements of utter wierdness that only Lovecraft adaptations seem to deliver on these days. This one is unusal for Lovecraft in that it somewhat ties into traditional Christian mythology.

I agree the library scene was almost incongrous and some backstory would have been welcome, especially something from the original story. But it was fairly faithful in spirit and though fairly slow in the beginning, has a truly horrific bang-up ending. I rate this one roughly between re-animator and the recent Dagon which I also liked a lot.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Master of Horror's Masterpiece of Horror! May 8, 2006
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It is often whispered amongst horror aficionados that, in spite of H. P. Lovecraft's unquestionable influence on the genre, the works of the venerable horror author are difficult to translate to either the small or large screen. Nonetheless, director Stuart Gordon (with more than a little help from his screenwriting partner Dennis Paoli) has built his cinematic reputation around his celluloid interpretations of Lovecraft's work. And though most of Gordon's Lovecraftian films are well made, commercially successful, and popular with genre fans, few (if any) of them are clear reflections of the Lovecraft pieces that inspired them. At best, Gordon's films use satire to evoke the nihilistic subtext of the author's original work (e.g., Stuart Gordon's 1985 audience favorite RE-ANIMATOR) or pay simple homage via mood, setting, or character monikers (such as Gordon's 1995 direct-to-video CASTLE FREAK or his 2001 opus DAGON).

However, with "Dreams in the Witch House" (a.k.a., "H. P. Lovecraft's Dreams In The Witch House"), Gordon's 2005 entry in Showtime's cable-TV series MASTERS OF HORROR, Gordon comes closer than ever to actually translating a Lovecraft story to film. True, the director and his writing partner Paoli have still done a bit of creative redacting--most noticeably, the story is moved forward from the 1930's to the present day, and there is the addition of a few high-profile characters--but most of the changes serve only to overcome the characterization shortcomings of Lovecraft's original work. (Many literary scholars agree that, while it is an engaging piece thematically, "Dreams in the Witch House" is not Lovecraft's best literary work in terms of character and style.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gordon's best effort in a long time October 8, 2006
Stuart Gordon, best known for the low-budget shocker classic Re-Animator, not to mention many adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft horror yarns, brings another one to life for Showtime's Masters of Horror. Dreams in the Witch House re-unites Gordon and his Dagon star Ezra Godden as Godden plays a physics student renting a dingy room in an old house that also has a single mother and a seemingly crazy religious old man as tenants as well. Soon enough, he's having dreams of a human faced talking rat and an evil witch that wants the baby's blood, and plans on using him as a method to make it happen. For most of it's running time, Dreams in the Witch House is a compelling and inventive horror yarn that makes the most of it's source material, and the shocker ending sets it apart from other episodes in the series. Once again, the gore and makeup effects are superbly done by KNB, which just makes the package all the sweeter. All in all, Dreams in the Witch House is one of the best episodes in Showtime's horror anthology series, and for Lovecraft fans this should prove enjoyable as well.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I thought Amazon shoppers might appreciate a quick review from someone who was aware of Stuart Gordon and his works, but who hasn't actually gotten around to seeing any of them yet. This Gordon newbie found "Dreams in the Witch House" to be genuinely unsettling and scary, and- just as importantly- well crafted across the board. I particularly liked how Gordon- while making sure the story doesn't slow to a crawl- gave us a little time in the beginning to get to know and like the main character, as well as get a sense of some of his neighbors in the world's creepiest boarding house. By getting to know everyone a bit, when the scares come, they have that much more impact.

Like the DVD for "Cigarette Burns" (another title in the "Masters of Horror" series), this DVD also gives you a ton of stuff in addition to the fifty-some minute main feature. I particularly enjoyed the interview with Stuart Gordon, which includes many clips from his movies, including "Re-Animator", "From Beyond", and "Dagon". Knowing of his reputation for over-the-top gore effects, it was fun to see that Gordon is friendly and soft spoken, comes from a community theatre background, and didn't by any means have a particular ambition to do horror films. But once a set of circumstances fell into place that lead to him making his first film, the still notorious "Re-Animator", he said he found his true calling.

Criticisms of this short film? Not any of consequence.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars weird good
i love stuart gordon stuff! this movie is amazing visually as stuart always is. it's
quite strange and weird.. but i enjoy that!! thank you stuart!!!
Published 10 months ago by juby x
4.0 out of 5 stars Masters of Horror - Stuart Gordon - Dreams in the Witch House
Very good and disturbing interpretation of an H. P. Lovecraft tale, but I believe the author might have wanted more concentration on atmosphere and less visualized gore (but then... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Roger M
3.0 out of 5 stars The Elusive H.P. Lovecraft
Like Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft is a writer whose essence is always trying to be captured by film makers, all with widely varying degrees of success. Read more
Published on April 17, 2012 by Eric Sanberg
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor HPL!
An adaptation of one of H. P. Lovecraft's lesser works, "Dreams in the Witch House" is a MAJOR disappointment. Read more
Published on January 27, 2012 by Scadhog
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, creepy, CGI-free horror story!
Soon after student Walter Gilman moves into a low-rent boarding house and makes friends with a lovely, single mother in the same building, he begins to be plagued by nightmares of... Read more
Published on November 9, 2011 by Monty Moonlight
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay Lovecraft adaptation
A graduate student (Ezra Godden) and his lovely neighbor (Chelah Horsdal) find that their low-rent apartment building has a rather disturbing occupant. Read more
Published on July 1, 2011 by David Bonesteel
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Done and Truly Shocking Filming
What is there to say about Stuart Gordon that hasn't already been said before? The man is a genius within the horror film world, creating masterpieces such as "Re-Animator",... Read more
Published on October 6, 2010 by Siklootd
5.0 out of 5 stars When Dimensions Collide...
A college student (Ezra Godden) moves into a boarding house to write his thesis. He soon wishes he'd stayed on campus when a portal opens in his room, unleashing a nefarious witch... Read more
Published on December 10, 2009 by Bindy Sue Frřnkünschtein
3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK, but Could be Better
Based on the HP Lovecraft story about a legend of a house in which a a witch travels through dimenions thru the angular design of the house. Read more
Published on September 26, 2009 by Master of Reality
4.0 out of 5 stars A must own for Stuart Gordon fans (whom all probably have it)!
This is one of my, if not the, favorite episodes in the Master's of Horror series!I've been checking for Gordon films since seeing Re-Animator years ago, and this is an excellent... Read more
Published on May 20, 2009 by D. F. Clarke
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