This morning I was thrust back into the moments when I heard about the passing of George A Romero and Tobe Hooper. Those were two devastating days, as the art created by both men had left such a mark on my own work. Now, here I am again, saying goodbye to another filmmaker whose work helped shape me into the writer I am today.
Stuart Gordon has left us at the age of 72.
Fair to say that Gordon will be best known for his adaptation of HP Lovecraft’s Herbert West: Re-Animator, but he got into filmmaking later in life and had a whole career in theatre, founding the Organic Theater Company with his wife, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon. Re-Animator was his film debut, a journey which started with the delicate task of not only finding a copy of the story, which had immediately gone out of print in the 1930s but then having to actually save the story from being lost forever by painstakingly xeroxing the crumbling pages of one of the last copies. Partnering with producer Brian Yuzna, Gordon assembled a perfect cast (Jeffery Combs, Barbara Crampton, Bruce Abbott, David Gale), amazing special effects artists (John Carl Beauchlar), and shot one of the most ambitious, funny, and disgusting living dead films in a mere 22 days.
Stuart Gordon went on to create or co-create a slew of varied projects like Robot Jox and Dolls for Full Moon Entertainment; Honey, I Shrunk the Kids for Disney; more Lovecraft adaptations, including Castle Freak, From Beyond, and Dagon; and returned to the theatre to direct Jeffery Comb’s one-man Edgar Allan Poe play (they also teamed up to adapt Poe’s The Black Cat for Mick Garris’s Masters of Horror series).
Gordon had a unique, singular vision. His brand of horror could fearlessly swing between genres making you laugh and jump at the same time. Every interview I’ve ever seen or read with him was smart and inspiring, and though I never had the opportunity to meet him, my friends who had always spoken of him as kind and friendly.
Rest easy, Mr. Gordon. Thank you for everything you gave us.