A young stock market tycoon, Paul, has been plagued by strange dreams of a green-eyed mermaid. His girlfriend, Barbara, feels it is most likely an indication of excessive stress and tries to convince Paul to go on vacation with her and their older friends, Howard and Viki, to the sunny shores of Spain. Paul, however, is reluctant to go citing work, though his girlfriend won't take no for an answer and the four of them set sail in a yacht for Italy.
Everything goes fine at first. However, a sudden storm near a small fishing village named Imboca dashes the yacht against the rocks. A large rock has pierced the cabin below deck and Viki's leg is trapped between the rocks and the yacht. Luckily, the yacht is otherwise stable and in no risk of sinking. Howard stays behind to care for his injured wife while Paul and Barbara go ashore to look for help....Dagon
is a 2001 horror movie loosely based on the Cthulhu Mythos
short story The Shadow Over Innsmouth
by H.P. Lovecraft
. The film moves the action from New England to the coast of Spain, in the town of "Imboca" (which means the same as "Innsmouth"). Dagon is a highly atmospheric horror film steeped in mist and eerie themes. Despite being a modern update, many of the themes remain the same. Even if much overlooked, Dagon is worth a watch for many horror and Lovecraft fans.
Dagon contains examples of the following tropes:
- Apocalyptic Log: The rise of Dagon.
- Barrier-Busting Blow
- Bilingual Bonus: English and Spanish are present here.
- Bloodier and Gorier: Than Lovecraft, who was a advocate of Nothing Is Scarier.
- Body Horror: Those fish people...not all of them were born that way.
- Brother-Sister Incest: between Paul and Xuia
- Campbell Country
- Child by Rape: You're going to submit to Dagon whether you want to or not.
- Cosmic Horror Story: By association with the Cthulhu Mythos.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Surprisingly frequent. A few couple include being skinned alive to make ceremonial masks and suicide by pocket knife Hara-kiri style.
- Cthulhu Mythos
- Downer Ending: The Bad Guy Wins. Our hero goes from Roaring Rampage of Revenge to Driven to Suicide to And Then John Was a Zombie in the course of two minutes.
- Driven to Suicide: But even that doesn't work out.
- Eldritch Abomination: Dagon itself.
- Extremely Dusty Home: As a citywide phenomenon.
- Fish People: Some of them have cephalopod traits as well.
- Flaying Alive.
- Ghost City: Imboca At least at first....
- Hell Hotel: Barbara picked a great place to look for help.
- As Paul discovers, it comes complete with a Disgusting Public Toilet, smashed windows, and a bed in which someone—or something—has apparently died recently.
- Horror Films
- Human Sacrifice: Viki and Barbara. Barbara gets more ceremony, though.
- Kill It with Fire: Paul goes with an old standby at the finale.
- Lovecraft on Film: An adaptation of The Shadow Over Innsmouth, with some elements of "Dagon".
- Luke, I Am Your Father: said by one of the fish people to Paul
- Malevolent Masked Men: wearing human faces no less.
- Man on Fire: Merman, too.
- The Mermaid Problem: Averted via tentacles with certain *ahem* functions.
- Monster Progenitor: Dagon
- Mood Whiplash: The slow pacing and dramatic mood of the film is interrupted by a flashback to a surprisingly dramatic depiction of the town's corruption by inhuman forces.
- Nightmare Face
- Ominous Fog
- Only Sane Man: The old drunk Ezequiel; though he admits to being crazy in his own way as well.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: Really, "mermaids" here are just another slight anatomical variation on Fish People.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Paul isn't stingy with that kerosene.
- Religion of Evil: The cult of the fish god, Dagon.
- Scenery Gorn: Also the city of Imboca with it's flooded houses, caving in roofs, and broken windows everywhere.
- Shown Their Work: The movie is actually almost completely faithful to Lovecraft's themes and stories. The director and producer also did extensive research on comparative religion, which shows in the design work regarding the various implements and decorative items the cult uses.
- Sinister Minister: The town's priest.
- Sinister Scraping Sound: More like thump, shuffle and scrape.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Paul is half Deep One.
- Town with a Dark Secret
- Unscaled Merfolk: They're more cephalopod than traditional merfolk or Fish People.
- Verbal Tic: "There are two possibilities..." for Paul. Eventually it changes to "No possibilities," when he tries to kill himself to avoid becoming the lover of his sister Xuia the Dagon high priestess