Stuart Gordon, the cult classic director whose films were at once shocking and outrageously entertaining, has passed away at the age of 72.
Gordon is best known for his adaptions of the works of horror author H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft's tales of fantastical cosmic horror found a perfect match in Gordon's imaginative filmmaking style. His most famous film, Reanimator, tells the tale of Herbert West, a brilliant but amoral medical student who discovers a way to bring the dead back to life. Played with nervous intensity by a young Jeffrey Combs, the film is at once hilarious and horrifying. It quickly became a cult classic among the horror community.
This wouldn't be the only time Gordon adapted the work of Lovecraft. His From Beyond tells the tale of another mad scientist who tampers with things he shouldn't. This time it's Crawford Tillinghast, creator of the Tillinghast Resonator. This device allows people to perceive dimension beyond the ones we are familiar with. Unfortunately for Tillinghast and his compatriots, this allows the beings that live in those lost dimensions to enter into our world.
His third Lovecraft film, Castle Freak, is a gothic nightmare reimagining of Lovecraft's "The Outsider." Produced by low budget producer Charles Band's Full Moon Entertainment, the story is about a monster who escapes from the dungeon he'd been confined to his entire life only to spread terror around him.
His final Lovecraft film, Dagon, is a sexy, violent Spanish/American co-production about ancient aquatic monsters lurking in a small coastal town. Low budget and uneven, the film still showcases Gordon's macabre skills. His non-Lovecraft horror films were also excellent, especially the movie Dolls. Another Charles Band-produced film, this one features a house of killer dolls.
Outside of his director work, he was one of the creators of the "Honey I Shrunk The Kids" series, which he received story credit for. He was also a well-respected theater director with the Organic Theater Company. In recent years, Gordon was active in L.A. theater, finding success directing the solo show “Nevermore…An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe” starring his “Re-Animator” star Jeffrey Combs. He also directed and co-wrote the book for “Re-Animator: The Musical,” which won several awards and was praised by a Variety critic, who wrote, “not since ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ has a screamfest tuner so deftly balanced seriousness and camp.”
He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon; daughters Suzanna, Jillian and Margaret Gordon; four grandchildren; and his brother, David George Gordon.