The past, the future and Stuart Gordon: News April 2020

Believe it or not, Tonstant Weader, this blog finished another analytic crawl through another esoteric horror series. Like before, we were a little late here and there, but I leave with a renewed appreciation for “Boogiepop Phantom.” I always end up seeing a more of the series by the time we’re done, and whether you were looking at it for the first time or the 17th time, I hope you saw something as well.

We also got three “best of 2019” lists done, and we didn’t even put everything down. How could we have forgotten trippy not-actually-a-thriller “Call For Dreams” (what it lacks in narrative cohesion it makes up for in style and visual intrigue) and sci fi actioneer “Doom: Annihilation” (surprisingly serviceable but altogether too safe)? Well, apparently we could, and so we did, until just now at least.

As for what’s next, that’s looking a little…well, “grim” is probably too grave a word for us here, but things are definitely not the same. Perhaps “unusual” is the right word. The supply train of content to review and critique is obviously not what it was a month or three ago, but I am still sitting on this pile of library books that no one expects back for a while. I’m sure I can think of something to say, and I want to thank you all for continuing to listen.

Finally, I’d like to talk about the director Stuart Gordon, who passed away late last month. I imagine that every Cthulhu mythos fan has a list in her or his head of the best half dozen or so cosmic horror films. The list might change some over time, or it might have a couple that remain constant, but the odds are that it will have at least one film that was directed by Gordon.

Gordon was easily the greatest cinematic popularizer of H. P. Lovecraft, and I’m sure many people were introduced to the author through one of Gordon’s films. The first and most infamous was the cult classic “Re-Animator,” which was gory, funny, gross and Gothic, and featured a perfect performance from Jeffrey Combs in the title role. Gordon and Combs re-turned to Lovecraft with “From Beyond” and “Castle Freak,” although Gordon directed films adapted from the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Ray Bradbury as well. He was also comfortable in sister genres like sci fi and pulp thriller, and he was never afraid give his films a darkly comic edge.

For the record, the Gordon film that’s on my shortlist of best cosmic horror is “Dagon.” He shall be missed.

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