Stuart Gordon, Cult Classic Horror Director, Dies at 72

SOURCE: VARIETY with Additional Filmography Information by AZ

Stuart Gordon, best known as the filmmaker behind such cult classics as “Re-Animator” and “From Beyond,” has died, his family confirmed to Variety Tuesday night. He was 72.

Although best known for his seminal work in independent horror, Gordon had a varied career that included founding the Organic Theater Company with his wife, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon. The Organic premiered such prominent works as David Mamet’s “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” and “Bleacher Bums,” which starred Dennis Franz and Joe Mantegna. He was a co-creator of the “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” franchise, for which he shared a story credit, and produced the film’s sequel and directed an episode of the TV spin-off. In 2005, he directed a film adaptation of Mamet’s “Edmond,” starring William H. Macy. Other films include “Fortress,” “Castle Freak” and “King of the Ants.”

In recent years, Gordon was active in L.A. theater, finding success directing the solo show “Nevermore…An Evening with Edgar Allen Poe” starring his “Re-Animator” star Jeffrey Combs. He also directed and co-wrote the book for “Re-Animator: The Musical,” which won several awards and was praised by a Variety critic, who wrote, “not since ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ has a screamfest tuner so deftly balanced seriousness and camp.”

Gordon also won a Stage Raw Award for directing “Taste,” a two-person drama that premiered in 2014, based on a true story where one man agrees to be eaten by another.

He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, daughters Suzanna, Jillian and Margaret Gordon, four grandchildren and his brother, David George Gordon.

Gordon had this to say about working with Disney in an interview with Digitally Obsessed back when Dagon was hitting the festival circuit:

They were kind of nervous. It was after Re-Animator had come out, and our kids were complaining that they couldn’t see these movies that we were making. We came up with the idea for Honey! I Shrunk the Kids, and took it to Disney. They liked it, and we developed it for them. We got Ed Naha, who wrote Dolls, which we had done together, to write the script. I was going to direct, and did all the planning and worked out the special effects, and two weeks before it started shooting I got sick and couldn’t do it. They got Joe Johnston to direct the film, and I was pretty pleased with the results…It’s funny. When people talk about [Honey! I Shrunk The Kids] they say, “It’s so different.” Really, it’s not that different than Re-Animator. It’s about a mad scientist and an experiment that goes wrong, and so forth…the potential for severing some heads was there, when you have a giant ant coming at you with those big mandibles. Who knows what could happen?

Gordon commented on it in a 2003 interview with Film Threat:

Originally I was going to direct it. I did all the prep work, the story boarding, the set design, got all the way up to casting and I had drop out because I got sick. So it was disappointing…I was happy with it. I think Joe Johnston, who ended up directing it, did a good job.

The film as originally conceived was to be titled Teenie Weenies, named after a comic strip about tiny people. Naha recalled in an interview with Dr.Gore’s Funhouse in 2011:

Stuart and Brian had young children back then and came up with this idea about shrunken kids. They pitched it to Disney and the studio was interested. So, they approached me about working with them and we came up with the story. When I was a kid on the East Coast, there was a comic strip in the Sunday edition of The New York Daily News called the Teenie-Weenies. It was one huge frame showing little people riding around on mice or sitting in thimbles and I just loved that. There was also a little guy or girl that you could cut out of the newspaper and paste on cardboard to play with. So, in a way, I was prepared for this sort of thing ever since I could hold a newspaper in my chubby little hands.

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About Alex Zander

Alex Zander resides in Chicago, IL and is the founder and publisher of MK ULTRA Magazine, established 1995. He can also be heard on the MKULTRASOUND PodCast www.soundcloud.com/mkultrasoundpodcast

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