Customer Reviews: Castle Freak
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VINE VOICEon December 31, 2003
Stuart Gordon with Full Moon bring us two essential elements for creepy pleasure....A Freak...and A Castle! Poor baby has been locked away in the cellar and beaten his entire life, but he has also been fed regularly. Till Mama dies.
John Reilly inherits this beautiful castle, and travels with his wife and blind daughter to see his new windfall. A brief and non-intrusive flashback show us that John and Susan have recently lost their son in an automobile accident, the same accident that left their daughter blind. Susan blames John for their son's death, and this explains the tension between the two as they settle into their quarters in the castle. Their plans are to sell the furnishings and artwork, and John wants to get started right away on inventory. He takes his daughter Jessica along with him, but Jessica gets curious about a cat meowing and follows it instead.
Of course, we all know that Jessica will wind out in the lower halls of the castle where our hungry, wretched little friend awaits. Jessica gets away, Freak eats Kitty and gets loose, but while Jessica didn't see Freak, he saw Jessica and would like a closer look. He sneaks into her room, leaving with a sheet to wrap himself in, and only Jessica's dad believes her tale that there is someone or something else in the castle with them.
Surprisingly good acting in this low budget film, with Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator and the Frighteners) and Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator and Body Double) and a good supporting cast; plus gorgeous castle background giving us beauty and creepiness all in one, set the perfect stage for our lovely, twisted, lonely freak.
When John Reilly brings home a local prostitute, our darling, grotesque little intruder will give you a whole new meaning to the term "oral sexx" in a particularly gory "love" scene.
Over all, if you are lover of cheap and/or cheesy horror flicks, you will not want to miss out on this jewel. Enjoy!
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on October 20, 2001
I love watching Full Moon videos.Subspecies,Trancers,and Puppet Master are the best series in horror.B movie fans will enjoy this but you'll have to wait until the middle of the movie when you see the guy's face.SPOOKY!
A family moves into a castle in Europe.They don't know what's lurking below.But they soon discover its haunted by a blood thristy creature who will kill anyone he sees.The movie has a great plot and story but not everyone will enjoy.If you hate nudity in horror movies,skip this title since the creature loves looking a breats.Hate tons of gore,skip this title.If you just want ot get scared,see this title.
Sex,nudity,violence,and gore all in one movie?This is the work of Director Stuart Gordon who also created Re-Animator.Stuart Gordon really made this thriller something.Can the family survive the night?FEATURES BEHIND-THE SCENES!
Rated R for strong violence and gore,nudity,and some language.
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on October 22, 2009
Stuart Gordon is the only horror director that can make me cringe. I've done so during every movie of his I've seen. As far as I'm concerned, he's the most underrated dude still doing it, and his work in the last few years is the best he's ever done.

Though I didn't cringe as much as during Stuck (2007), Castle Freak is definitely his most gruesome film to date. It's unrated, and if it were to be rated by the MPAA, would no doubt receive an NC-17. Gordon always pushes the envelope with his images, toying with his audience. He holds on the gore when you expect he might cut away from it, he cuts when you expect he might hold. In addition to that, he paints his horrific images with a very fine brush. Though the acts may be similar to other films (after all, there are only so many horror situations in the world) his gore always looks more original than 90% of the other horror movies out there, which is a great lesson for anyone looking to get into horror. It's a crucial way to stray from the pack.

The only thing preventing me from giving this one five stars is that the script could have been way more interesting. They had all the pieces of a compelling story there, but it didn't really gel together. That said, I adore every other aspect of this movie, and highly recommend it. It's one of his best, and at $5.99 new on, it's a MUST own.
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on March 10, 1999
I liked this movie. Directed by the same guy who did Re-Animator, From Beyond, and Fortress. Unfortunately like Bruce Campbell, I've come to expect a little bit of tongue in cheek comedy whenever I see a Jeff Combs movie. That wasn't there, it was just a serious movie.
Combs plays the father of a family of four. He has a drinking problem and has destroyed his family because of it. But an old unknown relative left him a castle and they all go to stay there and check it out. Unknown secrets of the family are discovered and it leads to the utmost horror. The 'freak' is horrifying, yet sad because of how he became such a freak.
This is my first Full Moon DVD which has the 'VideoZone' movie magazine on it as well. Unlike all the movie companies that have just started doing stuff like this when DVD came out, Full Moon has been doing it for years. I used to be a big fan years ago and saw everything they had like Subspecies, Puppet Master, Pit And The Pendulum, etc.
The only thing it lacked was a Full Moon starlet introducing their new merchandise and movies. Instead they have taken the DVD route and you just browse though it with your remote.
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on August 8, 2016
castle freak (1995). been a long time since i watched stuart gordon's fantastic little movie, and i was especially moved by its' heartbreaking emotional center. i could watch jeffrey combs and barbara crampton read a telephone book, but fortunately, they get to read dennis paoli's creepy script instead, as they play a fractured husband and wife, trying to pick up the pieces of their lives with their recently blinded daughter as they head to collect their inherited castle in italy. crampton and combs play this dynamic brilliantly, and the tension between these two is oppressive. when we discover why their family is falling apart, it's a kick in the gut. how do you move on from that? castle freak has a dark, grainy, and mature atmosphere that is punctuated by jarring screams, cries, and rattling chains. the make-up on the monster is creepy as XXXX, and the music is typically effective richard band ripping off bernard herman. i do think there were some unnecessary scenes of sexual violence, scenes that threatened the overall tone of the movie, but then stuart gordon has always challenged my sensibilities in this area. certainly, the creature was dealing with some issues, so the scenes in question weren't out of left field or lascivious; the scenes were unpleasant to watch, as they should be. the standard issue dvd is terrible visually, but it does contain a delightful, weird, and awkward sit down with combs, crampton, and gordon being interviewed by...william shatner! shatner really wants to talk about himself, lovable egoist that he is, but stu, jeff, and barb manage to hold their own.
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on June 18, 2016
Straight horror film from Stuart Gordon with great performances by Combs and Crampton. The gore is excessive as you would expect, however this time Gordon slips more into tastelessness than usual. Many will be disappointed that Comds isn't giving the chance to display his flair for the sardonic or the tongue in cheek that made him a horror favorite, but he handles it extremely well. Interesting story keeps you into it. You could do a lot worse.
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on May 26, 2008
Castle Freak is one of my favorite horror movies.
of it's type..

It's not a slasher but some slashing occurs.
I think I like it so much because the Castle Freak is so realistic looking and scary.As I mentioned about the creature in my
review of "The Funhouse" matter how hideous The monster is, he is still humanized enough in the story for you to feel sorry for him at times..He has the same needs and desires as other men do but is a product of his deformity and environment.

It has one of the most macabre sex scenes in horror history"in my opinion"..Hold on to your Areolas ladies..YEEK.
The fact that the daughter brought to live in the castle with her parents is blind lends well to the storyline too. Plus you have Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton, Two of Lovecrafts favorite actors as the leading characters.

It's quite an intresting well written and well executed little movie..
My advice is buy it.
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on October 15, 2009
With October horror film number 16 we decided to go a route that's always been very good to us. That route just happens to be Full Moon Productions that have been supplying Sid with poorly made hilarious b for years. We had enjoyed the Puppet Master series but were drawn in when we saw Sideshow about 8 years back and couldn't help but continue on. They have made so many films that are on the verge of barely watchable except for a select handful of gems. Castle Freak happens to be one of those rare occurrences where we enjoyed it for being a good flick instead of a complete low budget laughs fest. Yes the budget was still very minimal but was actually really decent for what they spent.

The films starts with John Reilly (not Cal Naughton) who goes to Italy accompanied by his wife and blind daughter. He's inherited a huge castle and wants to put in on the market, but will be staying there for a bit. He's been dealing with lots of guilt since he killed in son and blinded his daughter when he drove them around totally wasted, and decided the Italy trip would be good to repair the damaged relationships. Before he hatch the chance to patch things up Dr. Phil style they're introduced to the freak lurking in the dungeon. This kid had spent year being beaten by his old lady, the duchess that owned the castle prior, and remained chained up for quite some time after she passed. So he's hungry, angry, and for some reason very horny which made for a very uncomfortable scene with a prostitute. Oh yeah This is one freak you'd like to avoid at all costs. Just look at his mug shot on the cover and you'll understand why.

For Sid Castle freak was supremely entertaining. You have to give Stuart Gordon props for bringing one of the few legitimate films under the Full Moon label. What we liked about it was the very original concept and great dark atmosphere the castle provides. It's a creepy thought strolling around a castle without even knowing a complete mutated nut job lurks around the in a dark lair below. The film wasn't overly gory outside of some breast eating done by the castle freak, which is a good thing as far as Sid's considered. We happen to like the ones that don't have to rely too much on the blood and guts, even though you do need a healthy balance. We'd def recommend this one and are sure it would have been enjoyed years back.
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VINE VOICEon February 23, 2004
Stuart Gordon's CASTLE FREAK (1995) is a direct-to-video production that is actually way above the average quality of such fare. Gordon, as most genre fans know, is the director of the highly venerated RE-ANIMATOR, the Lovecraft-inspired horror-comedy starring Jeffrey Combs as the titular character, Herbert West, and the beautiful Barbara Crampton as the requisite T&A. With CASTLE FREAK, Gordon re-unites with Combs and Crampton, but this film is much bleaker than the other, dealing with more serious and grimmer themes. Fans of RE-ANIMATOR will therefore be disappointed if they go in expecting the same tongue-in-cheek situations and gallows humor, 'cause it just ain't there. CASTLE FREAK is an earnest, adult horror film.
The film follows the three members of the dysfunctional Reilly family--father John (Combs), mother Susan (Crampton), and daughter Rebecca (Jessica Dollarhide)--as they travel to Italy to check out a castle and surrounding estate that has been bequeathed to John by a recently deceased aunt. But the family arrives at the castle with more baggage than just that which contains their clothing and personal items: A year earlier, an inebriated John had been driving his kids home from school during a rainstorm, and an accident resulting from his drunkenness caused the death of his son and the blindness of his daughter. In spite of John's sincere contrition and his subsequent commitment to remaining sober, wife Susan has been unable to forgive him, and her participation in the marriage has since been perfunctory at best. John hopes that Susan's willingness to come to Italy, stay in the castle, and help him sort out the details of his inheritance is a signal that the wound to their relationship is healing. Once there, however, Susan is as icy as ever, and this depresses John so much that he eventually falls prey to old habits and seeks solace from a bottle...and from a local prostitute.
In the mean time, sightless daughter Rebecca decides to explore their new digs on her own, and she learns that she and her parents are not the castle's only inhabitants when, deep in the miasmic caves and catacombs beneath the old building, she inadvertently stumbles upon the dwelling place of a hideous, blood-thirsty freak. In spite of her ocular handicap, Rebecca is able to escape unharmed, but she is unable to subsequently convince her parents or the police that her subterranean encounter was genuine. Eventually, though, everyone associated with the Reilly family will have to face this castle freak, and John Reilly will also come face-to-face with the truth about his heritage and his own past.
The plot of CASTLE FREAK--very loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft's THE OUTSIDER--is actually pretty deep, with good character development and tons of subtle Freudian and Existentialist subtext. As fans would expect, Gordon's direction is judicious and tight, and the work of Italian cinematographer Mario Vulpiani is breathtakingly aesthetic. Though CASTLE FREAK lacks the levity and humor of Gordon's RE-ANIMATOR, it still has plenty of the shocks and gore. In fact, the current DVD version from Full Moon offers the restored, unrated director's cut, and the gore and violence that has been added back is pretty gut-wrenching and gruesome. Since the special FX and make-up FX are skillfully executed, the blood and guts look quite realistic, so the gore hounds should not be disappointed.
The acting in CASTLE FREAK is also wonderful. Jeffrey Combs affects his usual smarmy yet likable on-screen persona, and the acting abilities of beautiful Barbara Crampton have only improved with age. (Alas, Ms. Crampton does not have the same degree of--ahem!--exposure here that she had in RE-ANIMATOR.) One of the best performances is from newcomer Jessica Dollarhide, who creates a refreshingly sincere average-teen character, one of the best to appear in a horror flick in recent years. Rather than the cocky know-it-all attitude that teenagers exude in most contemporary genre films, Dollarhide's Rebecca is a genuinely nice, likeable kid who loves both of her parents and is struggling to cope with both the growing contention in her family and her new disability. Also outstanding is Jonathan Fuller as the eponymous "castle freak." Presumably because of injury or deformity, the character is unable to articulate normal speech, but Fuller is nonetheless able to relay to the audience all of the character's emotions or thoughts via groans, whines, and guttural sounds or sometimes via pantomime. His is an amazing performance.
As mentioned before, the DVD from Full Moon offers the restored, unrated director's cut of CASTLE FREAK, meaning that there is some pretty graphic gore and some pretty explicit nudity--all the trappings of a really cool horror flick. Since this film is a direct-to-video production from the mid-1990s, it is assumed that the 1.33:1 aspect ratio is the original format. (Close scrutiny of the framing bears out this assumption, as there is never a shot that appears to be poorly arranged, nor is there any camera motion that clearly indicates pan-and-scan butchery.) The digital transfer from film appears fairly sharp, with only occasionally noticeable digital or film-wear artifacts. A few nice extras include the film's trailer, a cool making-of featurette, and some amusing trailers of other lesser Full Moon home-video offerings.
All in all, 1995's CASTLE FREAK is a high-quality horror production that belies its conception and design as a direct-to-video release. It is a must-see for fans of director Stuart Gordon, and the superb DVD from Full Moon is priced low enough that any horror aficionado can add it to his or her collection.
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on January 21, 2015
Yes!!! This movie has everything you could want in a B-movie: scary mutant, HOT Italian hookers, old creepy castle, Barbara Crampton, Jeffery Combs and GORE! Plus Stuart Gordon directed. I had a hazy memory of watching this late night as a kid and being scared as piss. Glad I revisited it as an adult.
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