Plot: John Reilly (Jeffrey Combs) has inherited an Italian castle, a locale rich with history and character. He travels to Italy along with his wife Susan (Barbara Crampton) and daughter Jessica, who is blind. He plans to give the castle a good look and experience it for himself, but sell the estate and all of the relics inside. Even during this incredible trip, John is haunted by his past and the event that changed his family forever. He struggles with alcoholism and while he was intoxicated, caused a car accident that blinded Jessica and killed his son. But their attention soon shifts when strange events unfold at the castle, perhaps related to the violent, feral person that was chained in the basement but managed to escape. But who knows for sure, right? The police are consulted after odd noises are heard and a mirror is broken, but the castle is too large to search in full. As the events get more violent and more frequent, will the Reilly family be able to leave unharmed or will they become part of the castle’s twisted lore?
Entertainment Value: You have to love it when Stuart Gordon, Jeffrey Combs, and Barbara Crampton all get together. Castle Freak has all the elements a horror fan could want, which made it a video store staple in the late 90s. The castle locale is familiar to Full Moon veterans, but it adds so much to Castle Freak and is almost a character itself. Jeffrey Combs is great here, as usual, with some memorable drunk scenes including the fun segment in the local bar. But to me the real star here is Jonathan Fuller as the twisted creature, as he is pure savage in the role. Even through the makeup he emotes well and brings the hideous beast to life. The writing is solid and the supporting cast is good too, so not many weak links in the chain here. You have tension, atmosphere, a great monster, terrific cast, and Gordon at the helm, so quite a lineup. If for some reason if you haven’t seen Castle Freak, its one any horror buff shouldn’t be without.
This movie has some nakedness, but not that much. A prostitute bares all in a drunken love scene, then stays nude during a vicious attack from the monster. That attack gives new meaning to “eating out a girl,” without question. We also get a peek at the monster’s coin purse in that scene, if you like feral testicles. On the blood front, Castle Freak packs in a nice assortment of violence. As I said above, the attack on the prostitute is wild and in addition to literally eating her vagina, the monster bites off her nipple. There also scenes of general blood splatter and smashing in a skull, so overall a nice amount of the red stuff is on showcase. The movie doesn’t have a lot of memorable lines, as it focuses more on character development and narrative. So yeah not much wacky dialogue, but a good story is a nice substitution. Castle Freak has some crazy moments, but it is more about being a solid monster movie than a camp experience. So while not high on the insanity chart, it compensates and then some.
Overall Insanity: 2/10