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Dagon: Vestron Video Collector's Series (2001) - Blu-ray Review

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Dagon (2001) - Blu-ray Review

4 beers

Poor Barbara.  Barbara.  Barbara.  Barbara.  They truly are coming to get you, Barbara.  In what might go down as one of the most gruesome (and serious) horror deaths of the early 2000s, this poor woman is strung up nude and slashed repeatedly as she is lowered down into an ancient cauldron that leads straight into the open mouth of a horrible beast.  Welcome to Dagon.  Your stay here will be memorable.

Nailing down the dark and disturbing waters of H.P. Lovecraft is not easy.  Bringing his disturbing tales to the screen isn’t either.  While director Stuart Gordon’s Dagon strays from the source material (especially at the end of the movie), I find this 2001 Spanish horror film damn effective.  It is fierce with its creature designs as one man, suddenly successful, finds his vacation off the shores of Spain interrupted by a bunch of sharp-teethed fish people and one hot mermaid that wants more than just his body.  She wants his seed! 

"Dagon is THE PERFECT cinematic adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft."

Time itself has been very kind to this horror film.  Know that.  And Vestron Video Collector's Series rolls on successfully with yet another solid release from the heyday of video stores with this Blu-ray from Lionsgate.  This release is actually one of two Lovecraftian films Vestron is releasing this week.  The other title, Beyond Reanimator, is unfortunately far less successful.  But here, with foul-smelling fish people hiding in plain sight upon the shores of Spain, we have more than enough thrilling deliciousness to watch unfold.

In my honest opinion, Dagon is THE PERFECT cinematic adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft.  Screenwriter Dennis Paoli, who worked with Gordon on Reanimator, delivers an engaging adaptation that is both terrifying and entertaining as a small coastal town is revealed to be the home territory of a HUGE water-based demon that exists to chomp on souls.  Making deals with The Void is never a good idea but most of the cursed souls on Imboca were born into this watery agreement. 

Starring Ezra Godden as Paul, a stock market lucky duck, and Birgit Bofarull as Barbara, his frustrated girlfriend who hurls his work into the sea, the film descends into the murky void quickly as Paul dreams of scuba diving and is suddenly face to face with a lovely mermaid (Macarena Gómez).  What a catch!  This brunette is enticing and, as she opens her mouth to receive a kiss, Paul can’t help but notice that this beauty does it better…with fangs.  Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!  Ariel, why you so toothy, my dear?! 

He wakes from the dream screaming.  We should consider Paul warned. He doesn’t know it yet, though, and even the sudden storm that spreads out across the sky like spilled black ink from a bottle isn’t enough to get him realizing the danger that he – and everyone else on the boat – is in. 

The shores of Imboca are not friendly.  With the boat suddenly destroyed, Paul and Barbara are looking for any help they can find among the civilians.  These people are anything but helpful, though.  And in scenes that are both horrifying and comical (thanks to Paul’s responses), Paul and Barbara find themselves eventually separated.  Suddenly, the call for distress turns into a game of survival and a make-shift rescue mission through fisherman, churches, and spooky manors as this nerd has to rise to the occasion and navigate a truly deadly nightmarish situation that is far from normal.

Dagon (2001) - Blu-ray Review

With dark turns and great creature designs, Dagon takes its main inspiration, Lovecraft’s 1931 novella The Shadow Over Innsmouth, and gives audiences an enjoyable ride though some of the author’s watery (and otherworldly) obsessions.  The themes are there, even if the film becomes a sort of race against time as Paul goes through the ringer in order to save Barbara…or at least try to.  The scares are also there thanks to an atmosphere that feels ancient and absolutely insane.

And the ending, while not of Lovecraft’s design, works well enough for the movie, providing an extra level of hopelessness as Paul and his friends are given chances to either be friends or foes with these demonic fishes.  What a choice!    

Thanks to this digitally restored release, you truly will sleep with the fishes.

Dagon (2001) - Blu-ray Review

 MPAA Rating: R for strong violence/gore, sexuality/nudity and language.
Runtime: 98 mins
Director: Stuart Gordon
Writer: Dennis Paoli
Cast: Ezra Godden, Francisco Rabal, Raquel Meroño
Genre: Horror | Fantasy
Tagline: H.P. Lovecraft's.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Yeah, but there's a catch. It has to live the rest of its life as some kind of half-ass fish of the sea."
Theatrical Distributor: Lionsgate Films
Official Site:
Release Date: No theatrical release
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: July 24, 2018
Synopsis: A boating accident runs a young man and woman ashore in a decrepit Spanish fishing town which they discover is in the grips of an ancient sea god and its monstrous half human offspring.

Dagon (2001) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Lionsgate
Available on Blu-ray
- July 24, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH; Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Ambiance and atmosphere, that’s what you get with this release from Lionsgate.  The new 2K scan of the interpositive is beyond impressive. This series continues to deliver the goods to fans of the forgotten films. The polished visual upgrade from its original release is definitely a stunner. The new transfer showcases the draw of the coastal town with a nice, scenic beauty. The film is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Nicely saturated, there are no dents in its new HD shiny armor. Colors are strong throughout and are particularly memorable with their inclusion of details and strong edges. Black levels are clearly defined, too. Shadows are detailed. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is solid and aggressive, making the film’s score sound as awesome as it really is.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Fans are rewarded with two audio commentaries.  The first one is with director Stuart Gordon and screenwriter Dennis Paoli.  The second is with Gordon and the film’s star, Ezra Godden.

Special Features:

Outside of the two commentaries, fans also get new interviews with the filmmakers who talk about the struggle getting the financing together for the movie and the making of the movie, too.  The original release’s archival goodies are also included.

  • Gods & Monsters (23 min)
  • Shadows Over Imboca (20 min)
  • Fish Stories (18 min)
  • Vintage EPK Featurette (28 min)
  • Archival Interviews (22 min)
  • Conceptual Art Gallery
  • Storyboard Gallery
  • Still Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer   

Dagon (2001) - Blu-ray Review

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