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Castle Freak (1995)

'Castle Freak' is a film I only recently discovered existed due to the latest release of the 2020 remake. With such negativity surrounding the remake, I figured it was best for me to go back and watch the original, this way I could prepare myself properly before taking on the wildly panned latest version. I honestly can't see how something this bad could have possibly been remade to a worse standard.

Learning after the credits rolled that this was released in 1995 was mind blowing to me. The cinematography alone looks worse than most films coming out decades before it. The cinematography, acting, score and overall standard of production feels very much like a made for TV movie you’d likely see from the 80's. With this being a production from the company ‘Full Moon Entertainment’, their straight to home video, B-movie standard is something they are renowned for. Having little experience of 'Full Moon' myself, I found this all to be rather jarring in comparison to the standard of most films released in the same year.

Actor Jeffry Combs takes the role of leading male John here, and having seen Combs in countless films throughout the years, time and time again I always find him to be the weakest link in the majority of the productions he is in. It is actually Barbara Crampton who outshines all of her co-stars in this (something I never thought I would hear myself say), it's a shame such an outstanding performance from her feels wasted in a film like this. Another notable performance is that of Jessica Dollarhide, who plays Combs', and Crampton's blind daughter, Rebecca.

Being filmed on location in the small Italian town of Attigliano, the set location was easily the most captivating aspect of this film. I found myself paying more attention to the architecture of the building than anything that plays out on screen. Had this not suffered with such terrible pacing issues and unnecessarily drawn out sub-plots, I would have likely not given this the attention it deserves. Fun fact, the Castle used is actually owned by the the president of Full Moon Entertainment, the distribution company for this film.

The 'Castle freak' itself, 'Giorgio', is actually rather impressive, something I was not expecting given how the first 40 minutes of this film plays out. Not only having a rather impressive full body practical and makeup suit/mask, actor Jonathan Fuller underneath it all plays it perfectly. Fuller had a very fluid and constant creature style movement throughout, portraying that childlike wonder and curiosity better than most similar creature incarnations I've seen across the horror spectrum.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't curious to see how much worse the latest attempt at this story can get. However, overall this is a film I will likely never revisit again. As far as recommendations go, if like me you have managed to avoid 'Castle Freak' up until this point, it's probably best to keep it that way.



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