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By Steve Anderson | August 1, 2003

Ah, Howard Phillip Lovecraft. Your work has been adapted, stolen, modified and outright bastardized more times than I care to count. Your name appears above more titles than John Carpenter, not to mention more opening credit crawls than Bob and Harvey Freaking Weinstein, and I get the distinct feeling that, somewhere, you are SPINNING in your grave. If you are in hell right now, you are likely tied to an uncomfortable chair and forced, your eyelids pried open, to watch these movies over and over again. “Cthulhu Mansion” alone is probably making you vomit, but that’s another story.

But anyway, back to Dagon.

We join our story with the next dot-com millionaire in the making on a boat with his wife and their friends. The boat, of course, doesn’t last long and the dot-com millionaire and wife head ashore into a small fishing village. Stopping into a church with a familiar sign, Esoterica Orde De Dagon, allows them to at least try and get their stranded friends some help. This sets off a chain of events in the most evil little seaside village since John Carpenter and his “Village of the Damned” redux.

Which, of course, anyone even vaguely familiar with Lovecraft’s work will see coming from hundreds of nautical miles away. When the only church in town worships the psychopathic meat-eating god of murderous mer-creatures, you know it’s not going to be Pleasantville On the Seaside.

And I have to hand it to our boy genius here…when there’s fifty angry villagers storming his hotel room, how does he help himself? Not by taking a couple minutes to push his bed and other furniture against the door, oh NO that’d be far too simple! He instead decides on removing a deadbolt lock from one door and installing it on another with a SWISS ARMY KNIFE!! He then takes the couple minutes he bought with the half – installed deadbolt (at a net time loss of like a minute and a half–I haven’t seen an investment idea this miserable since the “All Enron and Haitian Penny Stock Portfolio”.) to take his skinny, hundred and fifty pounds soaking wet body to try and break down the door into the room next to his.

This guy’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, folks.

And if you’ve ever wanted to see a man’s face removed manually, Dagon’s the title for you.

The biggest problem with Dagon is that it doesn’t seem to have much of a point. It’s a wandering, rambling discourse about an incident that happened in a town full of monstrous mutant prosetylizers. It’s like Night of the Living Dead meets the Mormons. Random plot elements, including the worst cliche of all, find their way into Dagon. The cliche?

“(Fill in the Blank), I am your (circle one) father / mother / sister / cousin / uncle / other _____________ / bookie / former roommate.”

Yes, it’s one of THOSE movies…isn’t it bizarre how family members you never knew you had suddenly crop up when you’re stranded in an evil little town by the sea? You have to wonder what these parents tell their kids.

“Gosh, son, you really aren’t an only child…we just don’t talk about your sister because she’s a half human, half squid running the cult of Dagon on some island somewhere.”

It’s like the Maury show on crack!

Although you have to hand it to Lovecraft’s bastardizers for sheer depth of continuity. All the Lovecraft – based films I can recall seeing in the last five years plug Miskatonic University in one way or another. Someone somewhere in the film is invariably named Howard out of homage, and Dagon is no different in either regard. As always, prime baddie Cthulhu is mentioned.

All in all, Dagon is a horribly confused contrivance that can never seem to get off the ground. Too much script effort was blown on making sure the piece was self – referential, and not enough was spent on making sure the piece made SENSE.

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