CASTLE FREAK (2020) Reviews and overview

 

‘A bold reimagining of a horror classic’

Castle Freak is a 2020 American horror feature film directed by SFX makeup artist Tate Steinsiek (making his feature debut) from a screenplay written by Kathy Charles. The Fangoria and Full Moon Features production is a remake/reboot of Dennis Paoli and Stuart Gordon’s 1995 film of the same name which was loosely based on the short story ‘The Outsider’ by H. P. Lovecraft.

“You could define my life by three major infatuations: Fangoria, H.P. Lovecraft, and Stuart Gordon. To be combining those three great loves of mine into the singular hallucination that will be our new Castle Freak is a bloody dream come true. It’s an absolute honour,” Steinsiek enthused.

The movie stars Clair Catherine, Jake Horowitz, Chris Galust, Kika Magalhães (The Eyes of My Mother) Emily Sweet, Elisha Pratt, and Omar Brunson.

Fabio Frizzi (The Beyond; City of the Living Dead; Zombie Flesh Eaters) composed the soundtrack score as he did for the recent Fangoria/Full Moon Features production Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich.

Plot: 

Recently-blinded Rebecca, her boyfriend John, and their friends travel to Albania to manage Rebecca’s sudden inheritance of a castle from her long-lost-mother.

Once there, they learn that Rebecca’s family harboured dark secrets with potentially cosmic implications. As mysterious happenings and horrific murders begin to occur, Rebecca must unravel her family’s own mysterious history before she too falls prey to… the Castle Freak!

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“I was hoping Castle Freak would amount to a cool love-letter to the original. Instead, we get something far cheaper with a straight-to-DVD feel. I dug the gore, along with the kills, and as a so-good-it’s-bad b-movie, this may find a big audience eventually. Things get really f*cking goofy towards the end, and maybe this is laughing at itself? If so, Castle Freak can be pretty fun, but I don’t know if that was the original intent.” Arrow in the Head

Castle Freak has been bashed for cardboard characters, schlocky tone, and not living up to its predecessor. I won’t argue those criticisms are undeserved. At the same time, a recent viewing of Blade: The Iron Cross reignited my ire for what Full Moon turned into with crap like Corona Zombies and choppy clip shows pretending to be new anthologies. Castle Freak 2020 reminded me what Full Moon movies were like at their height, with silly storylines, shoddy yet sincere craftsmanship, and midnight movie charm.” Culture Crypt

“The first half of the film was scene after scene of wasted opportunity to create some sort of creepy atmosphere. Instead, it was beyond dull and contrived. Yog-Sothoth? More like Yog-slog-oth… Anyway, kudos to the filmmakers for going full Lovecraft in the back half of the film, but it just wasn’t enough to bring this one together for me.” Got Me Wrong

“If a remake is done, then I expect it to be relevant and updated or do a very kitsch take on the style of the movies from that earlier era. Castle Freak in this 2020 remake version just didn’t really do anything for me. However, you should definitely check it out to see if maybe it rocks your boat. I would expect that at least some scenes make it worth watching.” Heaven of Horror

Castle Freak should surprise a lot of fans of the original, for the remake is a rare exception for making a good reboot/remake. I know a lot of people won’t even give this a chance, just because it’s a remake, and that’s a real shame because this is a brutal enjoyable experience of true horror […] The acting was also top-notch here and a tad stronger, than the supporting characters from the original, let’s be real, you only saw the original for Combs and Crampton.” Infamous Horror

“This is a really rough watch, which only increases in discomfort as the film presses on. It’s a fun ride if you’re down for it, but those expecting a Charles Band-like sense of whimsy are going to be hard-pressed to find it. Much like the Littlest Reich reboot of the Puppet Master films, it seems that snark and brutality have supplanted goofiness and cartoonish violence.” Nick, Letterboxd

“The actors don’t exactly put in great performances but it would be hard for anyone with some of the dialogue they are given. Each character is interchangeable and have no redeeming traits. The one thing that saves Castle Freak from being a complete waste of your time are the make-up and special effects, especially the practical effects.” Nerdly

“It has no genuine scares. At no fault of its own, it’s too predictable. It isn’t capable of flourishing into the same beast as it takes itself too seriously. It’s almost meta in that it acknowledges the shock factor will always be non-existent and forces in a new angle that is a complete misfire. The end result is a downright cheap and nasty horror film…” The People’s Movies

“Beautiful set – castle interior, chapel, luxurious chambers, broken mirrors – luscious cinematography which adjusts to keep up with poor Rebecca’s story, and sensuous throughout. Sometimes there were dreamlike scenes, sometimes trippy or nightmarish, but wherever it went, my eyes grew wider as the film went on. Castle Freak pushed limits while pulling me in.” Ready Steady Cut!

“Steinsiek and Charles have crafted a film that definitely feels like it came from the past. It’s loaded with casual drug use, all of the major female characters get naked at least once and there’s plenty of gory practical effects. It’s very much a return to traditional trash cinema, complete with a score by Fabio Frizzi […] On the other hand, the film does lack for really likable characters and it’s obvious that apart from The Professor the rest of the crew are strictly there to be killed.” Voices from the Balcony

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Release:

RLJE Films will unleash Castle Freak On-Demand and Digital HD on December 4th 2020.

Trailer:

YouTube review(s):