Castle Freak

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Castle Freak
Home video release poster
Directed by Stuart Gordon
Produced by Albert Band
Charles Band
Maurizio Maggi
Screenplay by Dennis Paoli
Story by Stuart Gordon
Dennis Paoli
Based on The Outsider by H. P. Lovecraft
Starring Jeffrey Combs
Barbara Crampton
Jessica Dollarhide
Jonathan Fuller
Music by Richard Band
Cinematography Mario Vulpiani
Edited by Bert Glatstein
Full Moon Enterprises
Full Moon Entertainment
Distributed by Full Moon Entertainment
Release date
14 November 1995 (USA)
Running time
95 min.
Country United States
Language English

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.[citation needed]


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 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 non-English speaking prostitute whom John picked up and brought to the castle after being rejected by his wife, who becomes angry with him for cheating.

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 has been discovering around the castle and realizes that the freak is actually his brother and that 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 the 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.

John's funeral began and the son of the prostitute is seen with the police at the end.



Director Stuart Gordon was in Charles Band's office and he noticed a poster entitled Castle Freak with a Quasimodo-like man chained to a wall being whipped by a woman.[1] When Gordon asked about it Band replied "Well, that's a castle and there's a freak."[1] Band said he had no script but if Gordon wanted it, he could do whatever he wanted with the idea as long as he maintained a castle and a freak.[1]

Gordon made the film for $500,000 which was his smallest budget ever.[1]

Critical reception

Castle Freak has received mixed reviews from critics, although many have praised its disturbing feel and tight storyline. It currently holds a 63% approval rating on movie review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on eight reviews.[2] Dave Dunwoody from Oh, The Horror! gave the film a positive review, complimenting the film's direction, acting, gore, and make-up. Calling it "a standout among Lovecraft movies".[3] 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.".[4]

Home media

Castle Freak premiered on VHS on November 14, 1995 in the United States by Full Moon Entertainment as their first video release not from Paramount Pictures. In Canada, it was released on video around the same time by Astral Video. The Unrated Director's Cut of the film was released on DVD on December 16, 1997. Both were 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 released on VHS format by Entertainment in Video in the summer of 1996. 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 fullscreen 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.


  1. ^ a b c d Fischer, Dennis (2011). Science Fiction Film Directors, 1895–1998. McFarland. p. 256. ISBN 9780786485055. 
  2. ^ "Castle Freak - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Dunwoody, Dave. "Horror Reviews - Castle Freak (1995)". Oh, the Dave Dunwoody. Retrieved 28 September 2015. 
  4. ^ 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

External links

  • Castle Freak on IMDb
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