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Stuart Gordon's latest H.P. Lovecraft adaptation, Dagon, is an odd throwback to the heyday of '80s horror. This is not the insult some would take it to be, nor is it a glowing rave. Dagon exists in an odd twilight between "not bad enough for straight-to-video but not good enough for a Halloween theatrical release."

It might, however, make for some okay Halloween viewing for the true horror geek who often sighs in front of the horror section, "I've seen all of these."

Way back when horror was the flavor of the day, a day when geeks didn't have the internet to discuss upcoming movies and the like, they had Fangoria. Sure, we still have it now, but back when Freddy and Jason were still active threats and not just franchise jokes, one could pick up Fango on any supermarket magazine rack, right next to the Redbook and the Dynamite. Dagon is a pure Fango movie.

Peaslee gets "surprised from behind."

While it's no Re-Animator (Gordon's classic Lovecraft picture), Dagon has its moments. Set in a Spanish fishing village, the film starts with four yuppies on a boat. The main yuppie, Paul (Ezra Godden), has been plagued with nightmares about a mermaid with a mouthful of sharp teeth. Of course a storm comes up and the tiny ship gets tossed.

When Paul and his girl, Barbara (Raquel Merono), go ashore to get help for their shipmates, they find that creepy kind of town that happens when the residents stop their good Catholic ways and start sacrificing outlanders to a dark sea god who promises riches and immortality.

who could misread the signs?

So Dagon is kind of a Children of the Corn with water and tentacles. The picture features a nice creepy atmosphere and a decent sting or two, but Godden comes up lacking as the hero of the story, and the plot moves along in fits and starts. For the most part there is a lot of running occasionally interrupted for some exposition just as the film starts to get messy.

Much of that exposition is delivered by Francisco Rabal (to whom this film is dedicated). Rabal could best be described as somewhere between Sean Connery and Ernest Borgnine, but Spanish.

Lovecraft fans will probably dig the picture, but then again any Lovecraft fan has probably already seen this picture. So for the casual video renter or the horror fan I don't quite wave you away, but if you're looking at the horror shelf and you've seen all the big boys up there, then give Dagon a shot; you might be a little surprised.

Find Dagon at Amazon.com

Jordan Rosa


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