Stuart Gordon Day

If you’ve seen a horror movie within the last forty-plus years, you’ve probably seen a movie that Stuart Gordon had a hand in making. His reach didn’t end with horror, either. Keep your eyes open for a curveball a little down the line.

I will by no means cover Gordon’s prolific career completely, but will rather point out a few films that personally stand out to me. All but one of these films fall under the Empire Entertainment umbrella, which later became Full Moon Entertainment led by Charles Band. If you’ve been to the site before, I’m sure you’re aware of my love for horror from the 1980s. With that in mind: buckle up, tune in and pop that corn.

Re-Animator (1985)

Jeffrey Combs leads the day in this retelling of the H.P. Lovecraft story, “Herbert West, Re-Animator.” Combs plays West, a weird new student who draws Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) and Megan Halsey (Barbara Crampton) into his madness of bringing dead tissue back to life. Shit gets perfectly crazy and doesn’t stop.

Combs is absolutely in his element as West. With all due respect to every other actor in the universe: others could play him, none could do better. Huge shoutout to the talking head, as well. David Gale takes his role of Dr. Carl Hill to an unfathomable level of creep and gore and we love it.

The practical FX are exactly what is needed and the lighting is spot on with the bright green ambience of the serum.

Director: Stuart Gordon

Writers: H.P. Lovecraft (story “Herbert West, Re-Animator“), Dennis Paoli (screenplay), William Norris (screenplay) (as William J. Norris), Stuart Gordon (screenplay)

From Beyond (1986)

Another taken from an H.P. Lovecraft short story of the same name. Jeffrey Combs and Ted Sorel build the Resonator; a device that generates a magnetic force field that alters the perception of those within it, allowing them to see a different side of reality. That will never go well.

Spoiler: it doesn’t.

Enter the monsters, in all their goopy practical glory. The CGI isn’t the greatest, but not too bad for 1986. The practical FX are where this film really stands out. Dr. Pretorius’s dripping, sleezy sliding fingers made me gag and I loved every slimy second.

Backed by a semi-topless and screaming Barbara Crampton, as well as Ken Foree running around in his undies, the cast is pretty stellar overall. Crampton’s wails do get a bit long in the tooth near the end, though.

Director: Stuart Gordon

Writers: H.P. Lovecraft (short story), Stuart Gordon (adaptation), Brian Yuzna (adaptation), Dennis Paoli (adaptation & screenplay)

Dolls (1987)

This is a favorite in our house. I put this masterpiece in the Whimsical Horror subgenre, bc it’s part slasher – part fantasy. It’s just bloody and lighthearted enough to stand out in each, which makes for a damn fine watch. Strange, wonderful movie. Superbly written, acted and directed.

The plot is pretty simple: an elderly doll maker and his wife (masterfully played by Guy Rolfe and Hilary Mason) open their giant old home to a group of travelers caught in a storm. One by one they start to disappear and it’s up to Ralph and Judy to save the day.
The soundtrack is incredible, the lighting is fantastic, the gore is perfect and the sets are magical. I can’t recommend this movie enough.

Director: Stuart Gordon

Writer: Ed Naha

OK, folks. Remember a few minutes ago when I said there would be a curveball? Step up to the plate.

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)

Your eyes do not deceive you, fellow Unfocused. It blew my mind when I saw this one pop up on his filmography. Like a lot of other millennials, this movie was everything to me for a good while growing up. I can’t tell you how many times I rewound that tape and started it over again.

If you’re not familiar with this film, the plot is genius. Rick Moranis plays a scientist who accidentally shrinks his and the neighbor kids. After figuring out what happened, the adults set out in search of rescue as the kids battle outdoor troubles and tribulations.

I haven’t watched it in probably 25 years, but I would imagine that it holds up. How can it not? Look at the cast, and more importantly for this post: the creators.

Director: Joe Johnston

Writers: Stuart Gordon (story), Brian Yuzna (story), Ed Naha (story & screenplay), Tom Schulman (screenplay)

What’s your favorite Gordon movie? I’m dying to know…

Edited by Amy Woody

Feature photo credit:

Movie poster credit:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s