A couple in a strained marriage with a blind daughter discovers that they’ve inherited a castle in Italy which is a home to a mutated relative they didn’t know existed…what could go wrong?
For those who enjoy cult horror, and those who watched the first season of Shudder’s The Last Drive in with Joe Bob Briggs know just how bizarre 1995’s Castle Freak is. Few other filmmakers were so adept at adapting H.P. Lovecraft stories as Stuart Gordon (who we sadly lost earlier this year).
So in honor of Castle Freak’s 25th anniversary today, let’s take a look at 25 fun facts about it!
1. The film’s plot was partially inspired by the H.P. Lovecraft short story “The Outsider”.
2. Castle Freak marked the third collaboration of director Stuart Gordon and actors Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton, with the first two being The Re-Animator and From Beyond.
3. Unlike those two previous films, Gordon approached Castle Freak with a more realistic and gritty tone.
4. Pre-Production began without a script, just a premise from executive producer Charles Band that the movie would have “a castle and a freak”.
5. With a budget of only about $500,000, Stuart Gordon stated that he enjoyed working with a low budget, because it meant more creative freedom and getting to release a movie without a rating.
6. In order to further develop the movie, the cast and crew was gathered at the beginning and just “brainstormed” to come up with fun and scary ideas for the movie.
7. The mansion where they shot is a real life medieval Italian castle that was owned by the president of Full Moon Pictures.
8. It was the very same castle where Stuart Gordon had filmed Pit and the Pendulum in 1991.
9. Located in the Giove area of Umbria, Italy, the lands around the castle were hotly contested in the medieval period by the local lords and the Catholic Church.
10. The makeup effects for the titular “Castle Freak” took 6 hours to apply.
11. Composer Richard Band (brother of executive producer) Charles Band did the film’s score, as he did for many Full Moon productions.
12. While on set, Gordon even helped apply some of the gore makeup himself.
13. Actor Jonathan Fuller had to lose considerable weight to play the “freak”.
14. Years later, Fuller would return to his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama and found a theater company that’s still around today.
15. Reportedly, Charles Band himself arrived at the castle to make sure that filming finished as scheduled.
16. The original script called for more nudity, however Barbra Crampton pushed back on it due to how cold the castle was.
17. While shooting the ending, the crew used real brain matter for makeup effects.
18. The Vatican actually “blessed the movie” in order to ensure that it didn’t have a negative effect on the audience.
19. Initially, it was supposed to be released theatrically, but was too extreme for Full Moon’s new distribution deal.
20. It was then scheduled for a Halloween 1995 video release, but was pushed back 2 weeks.
21. While it was a direct to video release and didn’t get much attention, Castle Freak was generally well received and is now considered a cult classic.
22. Castle Freak won the Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Independent/Low Budget Film.
23. According to Stuart Gordon, the “moral” of the film was always about being a good parent and taking proper care of your children.
24. There is a remake in the works with Barbara Crampton serving as a producer.
25. Crampton has said that her goal is to create a “Lovecraft Universe”.
Which of these did you already know? Which ones surprised you? What’s your favorite Saw movie? Let us know in the comments!