We sadly lost Stuart Gordon in 2020, but his legacy includes a myriad of H.P. Lovecraft adaptations, including Re-Animator, From Beyond, and Castle Freak. However when it comes to his Lovecraft adaptations, one that often gets overlooked is 2001’s Dagon.
It’s a creepy and surreal tale (pun intended) that never quite got the recognition it deserves among mainstream horror fans. So in honor of its 20th anniversary today, we thought it would be fitting and fun to look at 20 fun facts about Dagon!
Also if you’re interested, check out this previous Halloween Year-Round piece on Dagon that was published following Gordon’s tragic death.
1. While there is an H.P. Lovecraft story called “Dagon”, this movie is primarily based on “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”.
2. This is further evidenced by the name of the mount Imboca, which translates to “Innsmouth” in Spanish.
3. Dagon himself was originally a deity worshipped by ancient Syria. He was known as the “father of gods”, and the fishlike appearance didn’t come in until the 19th century.
4. Director Stuart Gordon initially planned on making this movie back in the mid-80s, but it took nearly 15 years of rewrites and back and forth until production started.
5. The final script was written by Dennis Paoli, a longtime collaborator of Stuart Gordon. He previously co-wrote From Beyond, Castle Freak and Re-Animator.
6. Wound up being the final film of Fransico Rabal, to whom the movie is dedicated.
7. Dagon connects back to the rest of H.P. Lovecraft lore with the chant “Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn!” which is also heard in other stories and movies.
8. Another reference can be seen with the Miskatonic University t-shirt, the same school that Herbert West attended in The Re-Animator.
9. The “Esoteric Order of the Dragon” cult from the movie was in fact a real life organization. Rather than a cult, it was a group of sci-fi writers who formed in 1973.
10. Feature film debut of lead Ezra Godden. He had previously appeared in a few episodes of HBO’s Band of Brothers. But this was his first movie.
11. Shot entirely on location in Spain.
12. The film’s cinematographer, Carlos Suárez primarily shot the movie via hand-held camera.
13. Apparently the line about needing a bigger cell phone was inspired from a real life altercation between producer Brian Yuzna, his wife and a gunman. As Yuzna told it, they were driving and held at gunpoint, and his wife struck the attacker with her cell phone and exclaimed she needed a bigger one to hit him with.
14. Many of the actors were famous Spanish TV stars.
15. Although it failed to recoup its production budget, Dagon received generally positive reviews. Some were critical of the low budget CGI, but praised the atmosphere and creepy setting.
16. It was released in limited capacity, but was mostly seen by audiences as a direct to video release.
17. The 2020 movie Underwater is considered a loose adaptation of the same story.
18. In the same year, a more direct remake titled The Deep Ones was made.
19. Dagon was the final H.P. Lovecraft adaptation Stuart Gordon ever directed. He would make a few more films in the early 2000s until his death in 2020.
20. Nominated for Best Limited Release/Straight to Video movie at the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards, but lost to Dog Soldiers.
Which of these did you know already? Which ones surprised you? Let us know in the comments!