Dagon Blu Ray Review (Umbrella Entertainment)
Dagon (aKa Dagon: La Secta del Mar) is a 2001 horror film directed by Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator, From Beyond, Dolls, The Pit and the Pendulum, & Castle Freak). It’s from the same creative team that brought the world Re-Animator which includes writer Dennis Paoli (The Dentist 1/2, Ghoulies II, Body Snatchers, & Meridian) & producer Brian Yuzna (Warlock, The Guyver, Return of the Living Dead III, & Necronomicon: Book of Dead). It’s based off two short stories from H.P. Lovecraft Dagon & The Shadow Over Innsmouth. It took almost 16 years to get made. It was a Spanish co-production with Flmax & it was released theatrically over there.
Stock market tycoon Paul Marsh (played by: Ezra Godden from Band of Brothers, Masters of Horror, & Laura) has a nightmare of a a mermaid with razor sharp teeth. Paul wakes up on his boat off the shores of Spain. He’s on vacation with his girlfriend Barbara (played by: Raquel Meroño from Beneath Still Waters, The Mark, Airbag, & Yo soy Bea) plus their friends Vicki (played by: Birgit Bofarull from The Deal & Second Name) & Howard (played by: Brendan Price from Doctor Who, Target, The Nun, & Exorcismus). A storm causes some problems for the friends so they have to split up. Vicki & Howard are missing, Paul goes to Imboca. He meets a old drunk named Ezequiel (played by: Francisco Rabal from Eye of the Cat, Sorcerer, Lola, & Goya in Bordeaux) there. He tells the stranger about the history of the town. After going around this unfamiliar place trying to find a way to escape Paul runs into Uxia Cambarro (played by: Macarena Gómez from The Horror Network, Witching and Bitching, Shrew’s Nest, & Boy Missing). He is caught so he ends up reunited with Vicki, Ezequiel, & Barbara. He is forced to battle & survive against a village full of Dagon worshipers including a vengeful priest Sacerdote (played by: Ferran Lahoz from The Machinist, Faust, The Lost, & Stigmata). As he gets deeper into this dark universe he starts become seduced by it’s mysterious ways. Can he leave before he’s trapped forever?
Dagon doesn’t really get as much love or notice as the other H.P. Lovecraft adaptations but it definitely stands out on it’s own. I will say it’s a little slower than some of his other material but when it picks up it gets batshit crazy so it’s worth the wait! Producer Brian Yuzna made this film during his Spanish co-production deal with Filmax so it does have that unique style to it. It’s also has a lower budget compared to his previous productions but the cast & crew made up for that in skill. The cinematography is beautiful & the whole look of the production grabs your attention from the start. It has a real dark atmosphere to it. The special effects were well made & used at the right moments during this. Horror fans will be pleased with the nightmarish visuals. Stuart Gordon delivered another quality H.P. Lovecraft film in a different setting. He really shows off his talent because he didn’t have any of the same crew or cast as the others that elevated those features from it’s surroundings. It’s also more straight forward & true to the original source material compared to previous version with more comedy & camp added to them. Recommended to any Stuart Gordon, Brian Yuzna, H.P. Lovecraft, Spanish, & Fish horror fans!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Umbrella Entertainment! This 1080p (1.78:1) transfer blows away the previous 2002 DVD release! It has so much going on visually & the atmosphere is top notch. It won’t be one of your reference quality discs when it comes to your collection but it’s a huge upgrade from before. It’s a slightly different transfer than the Vestron Video release with a few minor changes plus it’s brighter. The English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track helps move along the excitement & thrills from the feature. It’s also an improvement from the earlier U.S. home video release. Dagon really got some quality treatment for being such a small film on this brand new blu ray. It also includes English SDH subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features from Umbrella Entertainment on this blu ray release! “B-Roll/Making of” is a little over 4 minutes. It has behind the scenes footage & interviews from members of the production. This is one of the things that makes this release stand out from the other one. It has 4 archival “Interviews” with actress Macarena Gómez (it’s almost 13 minutes), director Stuart Gordon (a little over 17 minutes), actress Raquel Meroño (a little over 14 minutes), & lead actor Ezra Godden (a little over 20 minutes). These are all presented different from the Vestron Video blu ray & it ends up being around 37 minutes longer. They all talk about their experience on Dagon. They go into detail about their work on this film, actors talk about relationship with Gordon, & cover various subjects about the feature. They chat about adjusting from stage to screen. The development of the project & the struggles of getting it made. Jeffrey Combs & Barbara Crampton were the original choices for the leads back in the day but the feature took too long to put together. The actors mention this was their first feature role. Some of the actors are not speaking English so they are subtitled. Two on set “Interviews” with director Stuart Gordon (a little over 3 minutes) & lead actor Ezra Godden (a little over 2 minutes). They both discuss working on Dagon. Godden chats about his character. It also comes with a limited edition slipcover featuring amazing artwork since it’s # 3 from the “Beyond Genres” collection. This is a Region Free release despite saying B on the back. H.P. Lovecraft’s original short story is re-printed on the reverse side of the artwork. It’s available at most spots, CHECK IT OUT!!!!