R.I.P. Stuart Gordon
11th August 1947 – 24th March 2020
If you enjoy my silly little reviews I do here for the To Watch Pile, you have one person to thank for it: Stuart Gordon.
As a kid, and I’m sure I’ve shared this before on this site or any of the others I’ve worked on, my father used to buy me Famous Monsters of Filmland every time one was delivered to my local news agency. The first drive in movie I can remember seeing was a vampire movie and I always had monsters as toys. I graduated to Fangoria after FMoF and liked horror movies but I wasn’t crazy about them.
Then my local video shop got a new release film called Re-animator on VHS, and I became obsessed by horror.
This turned my life around. HE turned my life around.
Everything I did from then on was for horror. I became obsessed with the writing of H. P. Lovecraft, and that turned into a love of horror stories. I started actually thinking about how movies were made, how special effects worked, how novels can be translated into cinema… this all was because of Stuart Gordon.
You have a few heroes in your life that really resonate in your artistic soul. For me, Jack Kirby, who co-created the Marvel Universe was a hero. Harvey Kurtzman, the co-creator or Mad Magazine was a hero. Kurt Cobain, the singer from Nirvana, was a hero… and people like Robert Crumb and Dario Argento are still heroes because of the effect they had on their various genres.
Gordon was different. Gordon effected me on a far more personal manner. Gordon made me think about cinema like I’d never thought about it before.
I could talk about what Gordon did in his life, about the films he made, about all the amazing stuff he did for theatre in Chicago, about what a revolutionary filmmaker he was but I’m not going to. If you want that, go and read the Variety obituary, or the Bleeding Cool article, or the Fangoria tribute piece, I’m going to give you something real.
Stuart Gordon influenced me in a way that I can’t describe. Re-animator was a key that opened my brain box and sprinkled awakening on my teenage mind, and still to this day, every time I watch something he directed, I see something that expands my understanding about storytelling.
Thank you isn’t enough, Mr. Gordon.