Castle Freak (1995)

A creature approaches a woman in chains who looks at it with fear.

The Reilly family arrive in Italy to inherit a castle left to them by an elderly Duchess. They don’t know that she kept a creature chained up in the dungeons, beaten and fed on scraps until her death. John, Susan and their daughter Rebecca plan to only stay as long as it takes to make an inventory of the place, but the desperate creature escapes causing cannibalistic mayhem.

John and Susan are barely holding on in their marriage — he killed their son in a drunken car crash that also blinded their daughter. Even though it must be intentional, the heightened acting style and melodramatic tone is annoying. The creature is like Frankenstein’s monster, but created through abuse rather than science, and the most effective parts of the film are when he is shambling through the castle after his prey.

The copy on Shudder is terrible quality, so this felt like watching a VHS tape back in the day, and for one particularly tough cannibalism scene I was actually glad of the fuzzy picture. Let’s call it a fundamental mix-up between intimacy and appetite.

All films in 2023’s #31DaysofHorror…