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Stream Warriors: Dagon & Dreams in the Witch House

March 20th, 2011 by unkle lancifer · 5 Comments

A recent traumafession regarding DOLLS left me filled to the gills with love of all things STUART GORDON, what better way to celebrate than with a double feature of streaming, screaming, crafty LOVECRAFT-ian tales? Grab some tartar sauce the first course is DAGON!

DAGON (2001)

DAGON keeps on swimming upstream through the river GORDON in my head. It seems every time I plunge my noggin into its soggy clammy world, I feel a little more at home there. Based (mostly) on the LOVECRAFT short story “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” DAGON delivers non-stop nightmare atmosphere but beneath the waves of horror rests a satisfying transformative hero’s tale dunked in GORDON’s devious dark wit. EZRA GODDEN plays Paul Marsh, a bespectacled and twitchy graduate of Miskatonic U., who we gather has difficulty steering a direct course in life. Waking from a prophetic dream he is thrown via shipwreck into a savagely slimy battle for survival in an increasingly surreal dismantled town inhabited by unfriendly fish folk. DAGON may be low budget and there are a couple of missteps into curdling CGI territory, but all in all it creates an impressively distinctive universe of its own.

EZRA is golden and a succinct successor to GORDON affiliate JEFFREY COMBS. There are long stretches of the film with zero dialogue but you can read every single thought on EZRA’s expressive mug. Also on hand is hypnotic BARBARA STEELE clone MACARENA GOMEZ (complete with CURSE OF THE CRIMSON ALTAR-style head gear!) who is somehow lovely enough to parlay tentacles into a fashion asset. A blasphemy is brewing inside me; could this, frog-warts and all, be my favorite GORDON film? Hmmm, usually my favorite GORDON film is whichever one I viewed last so I shouldn’t carve anything in stone just yet but on a visual, textural and even inspirational level, I think it just might be. Gory, strange, funny and beautiful in its own grotesquely fantastic way DAGON is quite the catch especially if you have the imagination to blur away its budgetary blemishes.


EZRA GODDEN returns this time as Walter Gillman, a heartier Miskatonic student whose journey of the soul goes in the opposite direction as DAGON’s Marsh. You’d think it would be a good thing to discover a portal to another dimension comes free of charge in the room you’ve just rented, but don’t forget doorways to other dimensions go both ways. The last thing anyone needs while trying to study is the distraction of a pesky witch and her human-faced rat familiar, both of whom keep nagging you to kill your neighbor’s infant. DREAMS is one of the stronger entries into the MOH series and much of what comes across initially as amusing or comical is soon convincing as the nonsensical stuff of true madness. Again EZRA excels and is a joy to watch this time channeling just as much BRUCE CAMPBELL as COMBS. Here’s to hoping this guy returns to horror soon. He’s effortlessly entertaining and unafraid to respond the way any true man would when faced with the phantasmagorical…by screaming like a tween struck with Bieber fever. DREAMS is delightfully dismal with its baby in peril storyline but is buoyed, like DAGON, with flashes of winking absurdity too.

If you ever find yourself like I did having a STUART GORDON attack I recommend watching both these gratifying streamers back to back (DREAMS is also available on Hulu)! GORDON and LOVECRAFT are a notoriously exceptional pairing and the inspired troika making addition of GODDEN makes these two dips into the abyss all the better.

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5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Professor Von WhiskersenNo Gravatar // Mar 20, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Lovecraft is my favorite author and many of the movie adaptations of his work is sadly subpar. As you said, Dagon (and to a slightly lesser degree DitWH) pleasantly surprised me. I never though any previous Gordon Lovecraftian films, while enjoyable in their own right, really captured the qualities that make a Lovecraft story really come alive for me. Part of that is the fact that the source material is heavy with “unnamable”, and “unimaginable” creatures. Kind of hard to translate that to a visual medium.

    But these films both did a better job than most. Maybe it’s because they stuck with stories that relied less on those cosmic horrors that HPL is so known for.

    My HPL Movie Weekend would include these two films, The Ressurected, The Unnameable, and the brilliant silent Call of Cthulhu.

  • 2 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Mar 20, 2011 at 12:19 pm


    I agree that the spirit of Lovecraft is alive and well in these two flicks. It’s not an easy thing to pull off but in both you get the sense of a sort of advancing and expanding “rot” for lack of a better word.

    Have you ever seen the artwork of Ivan Albright? That’s how Dagon feels to me…. I love it.


    I found out (Thanx 2 Cruella Moxham!) that the night I watched these flicks, March 15, was in fact the 75th anniversary of Lovecraft’s death! How weird is that?

  • 3 cmcmcmcmNo Gravatar // Mar 20, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    wow – those paintings are amazing!

    thanks for posting the link.

  • 4 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Mar 20, 2011 at 5:53 pm


    Isn’t Albright amazing? I wish there were some better reproductions online. I have a book of his stuff and you can just get LOST in his work. He did the painting for the movie “picture of Dorian Gray (1945).

    Check out this video I found on Youtube!….

  • 5 Kim ColemanNo Gravatar // Mar 22, 2011 at 4:41 am

    i really like MASTERS OF HORROR: DREAMS IN THE WITCH HOUSE it’s great actually.

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