JULY 23, 2007


Man, I really thought Dark Harvest would have provided me all of the ‘bad actor as lead’ movie watching I could handle this week, but along comes Ezra Godden in Dagon to prove me wrong. Luckily, unlike that disaster, Dagon is good, often even great, and Godden’s abysmal acting isn’t enough to sink it.

The CG effects, on the other hand, come dangerously close to doing just that. For a story that relies heavily on giant storms, sea monsters, etc, the CG budget should have been a lot more than the apparent ten, twelve dollars tops it actually had (maybe they should have stolen some money from the sound dept., since though the surround mix is way above average). Luckily the effects are used sparingly, but that’s also part of the problem, as you get totally immersed in the story and then BLAM! You’re suddenly seeing what should be demo animatics at best. Escape From LA itself didn’t look so bad at times.

OK, yeah it did. Come on. Nothing’s as bad as Escape From LA’s effects.

Godden also commits cinematic sin twice in one scene. After first trying a (broken) light switch three or four times, he goes over to the phone and, not hearing a dial tone, taps the receiver a bunch of times. God fucking dammit, has this EVER worked, in cinematic OR real world history? If the fucking light isn’t on, and you flick the switch, and it still doesn’t come on, then the fucking thing is broken!!! Give up! The most excruciating example is in Halloween 5, when Loomis does it with the butt of his gun, and takes about 30 seconds to do so.

The guy also has the most durable eyeglasses I have ever seen. Through the course of the movie, he fights, dives, runs, falls, jumps, etc. Almost every single time he lands, his glasses go flying off, but they never break! At one point they just disappear, but I bet they are intact.

For a Lovecraft story (the film is NOT based on "Dagon", but "Shadow Over Innsmouth", just to confuse folks), this one moves along rather quickly too. I was expecting long bits of atmospheric walking around and things of that nature. But from the 20, 25 minute mark all the way to the end, it’s almost nonstop action/suspense/ horror/whatever. The hero is constantly on the run, and the one time he really stops is when he gets to 2nd base with a mermaid. Who turns out to be his sister (and then we get this gem: “You are my brother, and you will be my lover.” Hey-o! Between this, Hamiltons, and Captivity, maybe I should make an ‘incest’ genre).

The other day I bemoaned the amount of production logos at the head of Isolation. Well those Irish bastards ain't got NOTHING on the Dagon investors!

OK, two is the norm... that's fine. Let's begin the Dagoning!

OK, now we're in Isolation territory....

Uh..... movie? You there, pal?

Now they're just making companies up!

Oh fuck this, I'm gonna go grab a soda. In Kansas.

Movie on yet? No? OK....

Oh for the love of- Oh wait this is the actual film.

Seriously, movie companies: PUT THIS SHIT AT THE FUCKING END. There is no need for TEN goddamn production logos at the start of a film! Considering the fact that this film obviously did not have a bank-breaking budget, it is beyond ridiculous that so many different companies need to give themselves a pat on the ass before the movie begins. All we need to know at the beginning of the movie is the title and the ONE distribution company (in this case, of course, Lion's Gate) for the format we are watching it on. That is IT. All the rest of this shit can be saved for the end credits. Christ!

Otherwise, I can't recommend this one enough. Stuart Gordon is always hit or miss, but this one was still a pleasant surprise. Maybe for the 25th anniversary of the film, George Lucas can buy it and have his wizards fix the effects to his liking. I doubt he will have the technology to improve Godden’s hilariously bad performance, but at least then he can be pretty much the only flaw in an otherwise pretty f-ing good movie.

What say you?


  1. You are absolutely RIGHT ON about Dagon. That guy is about as annoying as it gets. Was he trying to do Herbert West? At least his girlfriend was hot. (Yeah that happens) lol

    Also...fucking Fantastic Factory films are ALWAYS like that with a good 5 minutes worth of company logo's before the film begins. I think the first time I watched one I thought the tape hadn't been rewound and I was watching the end credits. Retards.

  2. And thanks for the link, by the way!

  3. Anytime sir... you're right about West too! Didn't even occur to me. Lame.

  4. On the commentary I think Gordon and Paoli say that the script was written with Jeffrey Combs in mind, but they never got the financing when he was young enough to play the role. So Ezra is like a "young Jeff." Except not nearly as charismatic or talented.

    But yeah, I love this movie. One of the best faithful adaptations of a Lovecraft story on film, to be honest (albeit not the titular story, as you mention). And the production design is great, particularly the reason for the fishmen wearing the human skin masks, which Gordon and Paoli go into on the commentary.

    The CG was iffy, but I could forgive it because everything else was so good.

    I did have to turn on the subtitles when the old drunk was talking though.

  5. Okay... I know I'm commenting on an old post, but I only just found your blog and being the lover of horror that I am, I am already in love with it. That being said - Dagon is one of my favorites. :D I'm always shocked at how few people have actually heard of it. Rock on, BC. :D

  6. I was expecting "Dagon" to be an awful movie, why did I rented? because sometimes you get a good laugh from crappy movies ("killer klowns from outer space" is my guilty pleasure) and my netflix queue needed to be filled, but I actually enjoyed it, and as a horror film, I´d guess that sometimes the companies put soooo many "crepits" (credit crap)on the beginning of the films because they know the movie itself it´s so horrible you won´t be hanging around by the end of the film.

    On the other hand, I though it was cool that the Spanish people were real Spanshi actors who spoke real spanish, unlike tons of films, were the supposedly hispanic characters (spanish, mexicans, cubans, etc, etc)are only dark skinned people that speak some bastardized language that totally ruins the mood for me. (and I´m not being racist, I´m Latin myself)

    By the way, great site, i just found it a 4 days ago and you got me browsing your files (and filling my netflix queue though most titles have that "long wait" crap on them.

    Keep up the good work!!!!

  7. Ya, same here, I was expecting something borderline unwatchable but I really dug it. Glad you enjoy the site!

  8. Really entertaining movie. Kind of rapes the original story, but it's pleasant and mixes a couple more Lovecraft's tales, then you have this.
    Man, what a lough I spitted with all those logos, I remembered noticed back when I watched Dagon.


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