From Tacoma’s Grand Theater, horror-film master Stuart Gordon talks about his audience in terms of reverence and respect, with a little humor thrown in. “My fans are pretty unique, I must say. All shapes and sizes. Some of them are pretty strange fellows. My favorite is the guy that comes in with pierced everything, tattoos, shaved head, and mohawk. He’ll say, ‘Man, I just want to shake your hand, ‘cause you’ve made me what I am today.’ I go, ‘Okay… thanks a lot.’
Ironically, Gordon concludes the conversation below – an overview of his films provided exclusively for “Cinema CPR,” emphasizing the different ways in which each movie has weathered the test of time – and is greeted by precisely such a fan. Attending a midnight screening of Gordon’s 1985 horror classic “Re-Animator” being shown at the Grand, the admirer is wearing a black t-shirt slathered with the poster art from Lucio Fulci’s “Zombie,” complete with maggot-ridden, eyeless corpse. He’s enthusiastic; perhaps a bit too much so. “Some people worship rock stars,” the filmgoer exclaims, a metal trinket dangling from his lower lip. “But I worship you, Mr. Gordon.” The director shakes hands with his wild-eyed greeter, then slips into the screening room to introduce his movie to the Grand’s sold-out throng of anxiously-awaiting fans.
Earlier in the evening, before deranged medical student Herbert West enchanted a noisy crowd with his green, zombie-generating serum, Gordon offered an uninterrupted hour to discuss his prolific body of work. Keeping in mind this column’s goal of revisiting films in danger of sliding from popular culture’s selective grasp and fading into obscurity, Gordon focused on how his own movies have held up over time.
Certainly, a classic gem like “Re-Animator” is available to even the most mainstream moviegoer, but what of “Dolls,” “From Beyond,” or other worthy scare-fests? How can a fear-film connoisseur get his claws onto these more obscure offerings? Meanwhile, how does a moviemaker make sure that his work remains available, instead of rotting away in some metal canister festering on a film-studio shelf? Like Herbert West evaluating a corpse that reacts violently to his rejuvenating potion, do film companies dismiss their older archives, complaining, “They just aren’t fresh enough”?
In the paragraphs that follow, Gordon provides some answers. For additional information on the Stuart Gordon catalogue, refer to part one of this interview, featured in the previous “Cinema CPR” column.
Get the interview in part two of CINEMA CPR: THE FILMS OF STUART GORDON, PART II>>>