Last night, I caught Dagon on pay-per-view (which is a good thing, because my lame-ass local video store never gets the obscure, nifty stuff). It being October, I was in the mood for a horror film, and there are precious few that I have not seen, so I was pleased to see Dagon on the schedule.
I had a passing familiarity with the film–I knew, obviously, the Lovecraft story which provided the basic tale. I knew that the film-makers were the team who had created those wonderfully tacky Lovecraft adaptations of the 80s–Re-Animator, From Beyond, etc. Having read about the film on Aint It Cool News, I knew that the film was set in Spain, rather than New England as in the original story, largely as an issue of cheap filming.
So…how was it?
Very, very enjoyable. I liked it. It had the same goofy charm of the 80s Lovecraft films, but with the added benefits of CGI special effects, rather than the latex-and-spirit-gum “rubber monster” syndrome that plagued the older efforts. It’s not a great film by any measure, but it’s creepy and atmospheric, and generally well-done.
Setting the film in Spain didn’t detract from the story, but rather enhanced the sense of otherness critical to the tale. The town of Imboca (a nice spanish translation of “innsmouth”, which gives a nice chuckle) is a ramshackle sea-side town, filmed in constant rain. The townspeople, even those unadorned with piscene make-up, are, in many case, casting coups…the town priest has his eyes practically on opposite sides of his head, and it doesn’t take much more than a grey-green pallor to his skin to give him the “Imboca look”.
The lead is annoying and awkward in the same manner as Herbert West or Crawford Tillinghast, which makes his eventual progression to heroism more marked. The film has its usual assortment of breasts and gore as well–hey, it wouldn’t be a low-budget horror film without (*ahem*) titilation (excuse the pun).
Gotta admit, though…the twisted sculptures adorning the town “church”…the huge well at that bottom of the ocean…the writhing of black tentacles…all of it was very evocative and mood-enhancing. When the score rose with a chorus chanting “IA! IA! CTHULHU FHTAGN!”…a chill went up my spine.
Very well done. Recommended.