From Forum with No Name:
ChrisJ: Well Noel, you know I have not taken Gordon for granted and believe several of his films, flaws and all are far far better than both the junk and over-rated stuff that seeps into the movie theaters under the premise of being horror films (when they are instead horrible films: The Grudge, the crap Wes Craven has his name on, the bad slasher movie re-dos etc.).
I'm glad you have an appreciation for DAGON. There is quite a bit of humor in the film, if you look at the lead character as a Harold Llyod archetype. The actor decided to do Harold Lloydd in a few scenes and Gordon thought it worked. Perhaps it was a bit more subtle than it should be--but if the film is viewed in a theater (which it rarely has been in the United States) you focus on what is on the screen and it works very nicely.
KING OF THE ANTS was made for well under A MILLION, it was shot on short ends. Gordon remains very very independent and he'll do projects he believes in for far less money than he deserves and work under terrible conditions...
Gordon comes from a strong background of theater in Chicago and New York, he discovered several actors and playwrites. He encouraged and helped David Mamet form his first few plays...He was the first to stage Sexual Pervesity in Chicago which eventually was made into the truncated movie.. About Last Night. He is editing Mamet's EDMoND now which stars Bill Macy and Julia Stiles. I'll be talking to him more about it shortly.
Oh, I appreciate the slapstick in say the hotel room scene, or the carnapping scene (love it when he tries to hotwire the vehicle), or when he locks himself in that house with the young boy, or when he's shutting a door and turning to face a beautiful woman lying in a luxurious bed (I'm guessing the punchline was the basis for a Futurama episode, the one with the lost sunken city of Atlanta); Gordon's probably never without a sense of humor (haven't seen Robojox). But there's Harold Lloyd homages and then there's Jeffrey Combs, looking down on David Gale's corpse, pensive expression on his face; a bulb goes off inside his head and he says "Parts! I've never done parts before..." Poor Combs really hasn't capitalized on his onscreen persona since; maybe the only time was when Jackson let him loose in The Frighteners...
Rabal--can't say enough about him. In his penultimate moment he manages to put some humanity into what's essentially a prosthetic effects scene.
And the other oft cited complaint about the film is how difficult it is to understand Rabal. I saw that and just wanted to spit...
It's not a perfect film but much better than a lot of over-praised low budget horror films that did 100 times the box office of Dagon.
Haw! It's a story told by a crazed old man, poetry in a Spanish accent. When Daniel Day Lewis tried that stunt they gave him an Oscar.
Holy shit--it's so fucking obvious. Stuart Gordon would be perfect to do The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch--in fact any Phil Dick adaptation.