Fish Don’t Carry Guns: Dagon (2001)
Two American couples, vacationing on a yacht somewhere off the coast of
Director Stuart Gordon, the man responsible for some of the most enjoyable B-movies of the last couple of decades (Re-Animator, From Beyond, Fortress), here gets a chance to finally realize his dream of bringing H. P. Lovecraft’s classic short story “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” to the big screen, with a little borrowed from the story “Dagon” as well. Rich in visual ideas and suspense, Dennis Paoli’s screenplay is also the first on-screen Lovecraft adaptation that has convincingly contained a truly passive protagonist in the Lovecraft mold. Un-heroic, scared, and generally irritating, Paul nevertheless becomes courageous by being forced into getting out of increasingly dire situations. He has no choice but to react and fight, even though his natural instinct is to curl into a little ball and cry. And though Lovecraft himself would’ve no doubt loathed Gordon’s gleeful depictions of aberrant sex, explicit gore, and other Grand Guignol delectations, Dagon is faithful to Lovecraft’s overall mood of cosmic nihilism. It isn’t perfect, but until a director more attuned to Lovecraft’s philosophical ideas and epic visuals (or until a major studio decides to fund such an obvious big budget endeavor) comes around, Dagon will do just fine.
Available on DVD from Lion's Gate Home Entertainment.