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Film / Castle Freak

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Castle Freak is a 1995 horror movie directed by Stuart Gordon, the director of Re-Animator and From Beyond and starring two of the lead actors from the both of them, Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton.

John Reilly (Combs) has inherited a castle in Italy, where he moves in with his wife, Susan (Crampton), and blind daughter, Rebecca. As time passes, strange happenings occur in the castle, and it becomes clear to John that there’s someone — or something — living in the castle with them. And it’s not friendly.

Loosely based on the H. P. Lovecraft short story, The Outsider.


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Tropes found in Castle Freak include:

  • Adaptational Intelligence: Inverted. Whereas the narrator of The Outsider is shown to have an understanding of his surroundings and to have some degree of literary knowledge, the castle freak is only slightly more than a mindless killer.
  • Adaptational Villainy: While the narrator of The Outsider is certainly frightening in appearance, there's nothing to say that he would have hurt anybody, as the party guests fled when they saw him. The castle freak, however, is a lot more vicious and dangerous.
  • Adult Fear: Getting in a drunk driving accident that costs the life of one of your children and the sight of the other is certainly this. As is said blinded child being stalked by a murderous, barely human creature.
  • Antagonist Title
  • Ax-Crazy: Giorgio has zero grip on reality, and only knows how to interact with others through violence.
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  • Body Horror: The castle freak is facially disfigured, gray-skinned, and horribly emaciated.
  • Bittersweet Ending: John is dead, but he's saved his family from Giorgio by taking him with him, and Susan has apparently forgiven him for the accident that killed their son and blinded their daughter.
  • Chain Pain: Giorgio uses his chains as weapons in his fight with John.
  • Darker and Edgier: While Stuart Gordon is most well-known for darkly humorous Lovecraft adaptations, Castle Freak is visibly lacking in any of the sardonic humor of Re-Animator or the campiness of From Beyond, and plays its mature themes completely seriously. It’s also this compared to most other Full Moon Pictures productions.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: The prostitute that John has sex with, and that Giorgio rapes and murders.
  • Freudian Excuse: The castle freak has a damn good one: his mother was ashamed of his existence, and as such, kept him chained up in a small room, only coming by to either to feed him or to beat him. As such, he doesn't have any concept of social interaction aside from what he'd known his entire life. He makes the life of the titular character of the story Castle Freak is based on look cheerful!
  • Heroic Sacrifice: John fights Giorgio to the death, allowing Susan and Rebecca to escape. He jumps off the roof, taking the castle freak with him.
  • Precision F-Strike: “I fucked her, okay?”
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Due to his only human interaction in years having been the abuse he received from his mother, Giorgio doesn't realize that he's doing anything wrong when he commits murder and eventually rape. He just observed John having sex with the prostitute, and as such, thought that it was perfectly okay for him to make advances on her the way he did.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Once he escapes from his prison, Giorgio sees himself in a mirror, which he promptly smashes.
  • Redemption Equals Death: John, who was responsible for the death of his and Susan's own son and spent the majority of the movie acting being a jerkass and not owning up to his history, earns his wife's forgiveness by saving her and Rebecca from Giorgio. Saving them, in this case, entails a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Tragic Monster: The castle freak lived such a traumatic and sheltered childhood, and as such, has absolutely no idea how to peacefully interact with other living creatures.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Poor Giorgio. You just can’t help but feel sorry for the guy, with the miserable life he lived. Arguably, John did him a favor by killing him.
  • Your Cheating Heart: John cheats on Susan with a prostitute.
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