Exclusive Interview : Stuart Gordon

For the new “Masters of Horror” DVD


Filmmaker Stuart Gordon has been keeping us on the edge of our cinema seats for years with spine-tingling horror classics like Re-Animator and Dolls. Now, the veteran horror director is about to go to work on your spine within the confines of your lounge room, as one of the many directors that have contributed to the TV series “Masters of Horror”. CLINT MORRIS spoke to him about his episode, “Dreams in the Witch-House”.

You’re in Canada, right?
Yeah, I’m in New Brunswick, Canada – working on a film here.

Which one?
It’s a movie called Stuck. Its the true story of a woman who hit a homeless man with her car – he goes through her windshield –and rather than taking him to the emergency room, she puts him in her garage. It turns out a little like that movie Misery. It was actually something I was reading about in the newspaper a few years ago – it was something of the likes I’d never heard of.

I talked to Mick Garris recently about how this whole “Masters of Horror” thing came together… were you onboard from the get-go?
I was. It all started out as a series of dinner parties – where we’d all get together and compare war stories – and that’s when it was suggested that we should all work together on a series. It was amazing who was at these dinners… Tobe Hooper, John Carpenter, John Landis… and we knew it would just be great if we could combine forces.

How difficult was it for you to adapt H.P Lovecraft’s short story, “Dreams in the Witch-House”?
We’ll, I’m always working on films by H.P Lovecraft – I’ve done five movies based on his work – so they said ‘Will you do another Lovecraft for us?”. They thought it was my trademark. So I ended up doing an adaptation of Dreams in the Witch House, because it was something I’d always wanted to do.

Why do you think Lovecraft’s stories are so timeless?
I think because he’s tapping into this fear that people now, are really starting to experience. Lovecraft use to say ‘Lucky man is ignorant, because if he knew the truth he’d go crazy and kill himself’. That might be true.

Now when you sign up to do something on “Masters of Horror” do they just give you free-reign to do whatever you want with your segment, or movie – as is more the case?
Yeah, it was fantastic. Basically, as long as I kept it in the budget and did it within ten days, I could do whatever I wanted. It’s not often that you get an offer like that.

You worked in Australia a few years back didn’t you? The film “Fortress”?
I did. I had a wonderful time in Australia, I loved it there.

Forgot about that. Yeah…
Yeah, with Christopher Lambert. It was on the Gold Coast. We had a fantastic time. I’d like to come back and do something there again.

That was a good little action movie…
Well thankyou. There we were in one of the most beautiful places on earth, doing a film about one of the worst prisons that anyone could imagine.

I know most people probably gush about your “Re-Animator” films, but for me, its “Dolls” that I consider your crowning achievement. I remember sneaking a look at that film as a tyke, and returned to it many, many a time.
Oh thankyou!! Yeah, it’s one of those films that I know has its fans…. But it got overshadowed by some of the other films.

Has there ever been any talk about doing another “Dolls” or a remake of it?
There hasn’t – but it’s funny, when we were working on the film we were talking about whether or not there was going to be a sequel. We had a pretty good idea as to what we’d do it, if it ever came about.

I think today – with the resurgence in horror – that it would really work.
True, it’s never been bigger than what it is now. And I tell ya, I’m still afraid of Dolls – there’s something about them. It’s like you can see them in the corner of your eye, moving.

Wes Craven seems to be a on a roll doing remakes of his old films – would you ever consider remaking any of yours?
I’m sure at one point that someone is going to do a remake of Re-Animator, but I think I’ll sit that one out – I feel like I’ve done it already, been there – done that. I like doing new work. I just did a new film called Edmond, with William H.Macy and Julia Stiles. It was a David Mamet script, based on a play I’d seen many years ago, and thought it would make a great movie. So, it’s the new stuff that intrigues me.

But you’re doing another “Re-Animator” right?
We’re talking about doing another movie called House of Re-Animator, which is set in the White House.

That’s right, and isn’t William H.Macy going to play The President?
Yeah, that’s right, he’s signed on, and I think George Wendt is going to play the vice president. The plan is to reanimate Dick Chaney [in the film].

Jeffrey Combs is great in those movies – I’m really surprised his star hasn’t skyrocketed more than it has. Did you see him on “Enterprise”? He was great.
Oh yeah, he’s a fantastic actor – and I just finished working with him on the next episode of Masters of Horror. He plays Edgar Allen Poe in it, and he’s just amazing in it – he looks exactly like Poe, and he was essentially channelling him. He is amazing.

Yeah, you had to actually look twice at him in “Enterprise” – he’s unrecognisable.
Yeah, he’s unbelievable. He’s a total chameleon.

When are you going to shoot “House of Re-Animator”?
It’s going to be next year. I’m hoping we’ll be starting it about Spring.

Finally, who are your favourite horror filmmakers?
It’s funny, because I’m getting a chance to work with many of my favourites – Dario Argento is one my favourites, and I shouldn’t say it, but I think he’s done the best of the Masters of Horror episodes. He really raised the bar for everyone else. I also really liked Takashi Miike – but his episode was so full on, that they didn’t even air it on TV in America.

Stuart, thanks so much for talking to us today – come back down to Australia real soon. Maybe come down and do another “Fortress”.
It’d have to be “Fortress 3”, because I think they’ve already done a “Fortress 2”.

MASTERS OF HORROR is released on DVD this month in Australia