Sunday, October 5, 2008

#80: Dagon


Directed by Stuart Gordon
Written by Dennis Paoli (based on H.P. Lovecraft's "Dagon" and "The Shadow Over Innsmouth")
Released October 31, 2001

A movie based on the works of horror/sci-fi legend H.P. Lovecraft, about a town full of violent fish people who run around like zombies and want to feed on or sacrifice humans... directed by Stuart Gordon, director of Re-Animator?

Okay, Dagon, you have my attention.

In Dagon, two annoying wealthy couples crash their yacht onto a pile of rocks after a storm overtakes them. With one wife pinned between the ship and the rocks, the other couple (Paul and Barbara, if you must know their names) takes the inflatable raft to the seemingly abandoned nearby seaside village of Imboca. It doesn't take long for things to turn strange.

Paul is soon separated from his wife, and then discovers that there is a curse over the people of Imboca. After fighting off attackers with tentacles and fish gills on their necks, Paul stumbles into the town drunk - and the only person seemingly untouched by the curse - who informs him about Imboca's sordid past. It seems that, decades before, Imboca was a small but prosperous fishing community who fell on bad times. An evil fishing captain stormed the town church and told the townsfolk about a god named Dagon who would bring them all gold.

The citizens of Imboca collectively agree to reject their Christian god and tear the church apart. The evil captain, who murders the head priest with a sledgehammer, becomes the new Head Brother in Charge.

Paul is, of course, unconvinced of the drunk's story until he encounters a few dozen fish folk, a few human skinnings and a man with octopus arms who gives him a near fatal swirlie in a toilet that looks like it came right out of that scene in Trainspotting.

Will Paul be able to save his wife before she gets sacrificed to the fish god Dagon and knocked up with his tentacle baby? Will he become one of fish heads? Will he wind up married to the hottie vampire fish lady he sees in his dreams? What the fuck am I even talking about?

For a pretty low budget B-horror flick, Dagon isn't too bad. It looks and plays like something a step above what might appear as a Sci-Fi Channel original movie, with decent gore but some pretty bad digital effects. Story-wise it's a bit like a mixture of Night of the Living Dead meets... I don't know... maybe, in a very twisted way, Finding Nemo.

For the horror junkies out there, it's probably worth checking out if you think you've seen everything at this point. I wouldn't, however, recommend it to those folks who are extremely picky about their scary movies.

For more on Dagon:
- Movie information at IMDB and Wikipedia.
- A bit on the fish-god history of Dagon, and the alternate "versions" of the same god. Or, here's some more info at Bible History.
- The movie's official site
- Buy the DVD.

The Dagon trailer:

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