In Memory of Stuart Gordon (1947-2020): Our Five Favorite Films

2020’s been a rough year for the arts in general as while COVID-19 pandemic has forced many films to be delayed, postponed, and or cancelled, and film festivals have been cancelled or delayed, we’ve also lost some excellent artists. Among many of the gut wrenching losses is Stuart Gordon. One of the most widely celebrated and appreciated horror masters, Gordon was a wiz conjuring the spirit of HP Lovecraft to horror cinema, and introducing him to a generation aspiring filmmakers.

Passing away at 72, Gordon will be very sorely missed by horror fans far and wide, but we can at least take solace in the fact that he’ll live forever in his cinematic masterpieces, work behind the camera, and his impression on men and women in the industry.

May he rest in peace.

In his honor, here are five Stuart Gordon films I particularly loved, and five I hope to continue re-watching well in to my old age.

Castle Freak (1995)
While not the best of Gordon’s filmography, “Castle Freak” is still a weird, and unusual Gothic horror film about sexual sadism, and demons of the past boiling to the surface again. This is one of Gordon’s most perverse horror films, and it once again stars Gordon favorite Jeffrey Combs and the immortal Barbara Crampton. There’s a remake/reboot due very soon with Crampton returning to film.

The Dolls (1987)
“The Dolls” is like a weird and demented fairy tale about a group of people that end up in the mansion of a pair of doll makers. Said dolls happen to have so much more going on behind them, and soon enough the night becomes a quest for survival. This isn’t as celebrate as Gordon’s other film works, but I enjoy it a great deal for Gordon’s lighting and color work. It’s also a great precursor to “Puppet Master,” and Charles Band’s obsession with small monsters.

Robot Jox (1989)
One of the various collaborations with Charles Band, “Robot Jox” has a lot more ambition than budget, but it still manages to be an entertaining and unique science fiction cult classic. I love movies about giant robots doing battle and Gordon brings the concept front and center with a tale about the world’s superpowers engaging in war through competition with man operated robots. A precursor to “Pacific Rim,” this is a gem. 

From Beyond (1986)
Gordon’s twisted horror masterpiece is yet another of his cinematic offerings to horror fans bringing the HP Lovecraft flavor front and center to much fanfare. Still a very widely celebrated horror entry, “From Beyond” is a gruesome, twisted, and demented tale of madness with Gordon’s favorites Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton starring once again. This is a film filled with immense ambition and myriad iconic moments.

Re-Animator (1985)
One of the many tastes of HP Lovecraft that Gordon brought to horror fans everywhere, “Re-Animator” is arguably the quintessential Stuart Gordon film. Starring his regulars like Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton, “Re-Animator” is a twisted, morbid, and gruesome horror masterpiece centered on a maniac who appeals to the base human desire for eternal life. This is a classic, and if you’ve yet to see it, now is as good a time as any. It deserves as big an audience and as much appreciation as possible.