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Film / Dagon

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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.

No relation to Mehrunes Dagon.


Dagon contains examples of the following tropes:

  • An Arm and a Leg: When Paul and Barbara are reunited with Viki, they find her in a state of complete shock because the cultists cut off one of her legs.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: A tense scene gives us dueling ones from Paul and the Deep Ones, each trying to break down a door to either escape or catch the other.
  • Bilingual Bonus: English and Spanish are present here.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Than Lovecraft, who was an advocate of Nothing Is Scarier.
  • Body Horror: Those fish people...not all of them were born that way.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: What Uxia intends for her half-brother, Paul.
  • Bowdlerise: A version was aired on American TV with some changes for that audience.
    • Nakedness was covered or otherwise edited out.note 
    • Most of Ezequiel's skinning scene was cut.note 
    • When Dagon comes out of the water and takes Bárbara, her arms aren't left behind, in spite of her wrists being shackled. No justification is given.
  • Fish People: Some of them have cephalopod traits as well.
  • Flaying Alive: Ezequiel is ultimately subjected to this.
  • Ghost City: Imboca seems this way. At least at first...
  • Girl of My Dreams: Paul has recurring dreams of a beautiful mermaid who beckons him to join her. After he and his friends get stuck in a coastal town inhabited by a Fish People cult, he finds out that the girl in his dreams, Uxia the high priestess, is real. At the end he's told that they're both the demi-human offspring of a sea god and that he is destined to become his sister's lover.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Dagon, of course, but Captain Orpheus Cambarro counts as well: a disciple of Dagon who came to Imboca, seduced the townsfolk to worship his god, which turned them into the murderous Deep Ones, and is a distant progenitor of both Uxia and Paul. He's long gone: either dead or dwelling as a Deep One by the time the film starts, and has no direct hand in Paul's plight, but the story never would have happened without him.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 its 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. About the only true inaccuracy is the film being an adaptation of The Shadow Over Innsmouth as opposed to...well, Dagon.
  • Sinister Minister: The town's priest disguises himself in a regular catholic priest's attire, but he's actually part of Dagon's Religion of Evil.
    • Captain Cambarro was this in years past: after turning Imboca to Dagon worship, he became the town's head priest.
  • Sinister Scraping Sound: More like thump, shuffle and scrape.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Paul is half Deep One.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: If you've read this far down the page and don't know Imboca is that town, we don't know what to tell you.
  • 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 Uxia the Dagon high priestess.

"We shall dive down through black abysses... and in that lair of the Deep Ones we shall dwell amidst wonder and glory forever."

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