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.