Stuart Gordan Gets You Stuck
My life has been punctuated with several important milestones. Fuck first kisses and graduations. The things I remember fondly include the first time I had a nightmare about Freddy Krueger, when I saw Night of the Living Dead on the big screen and, most recently, my interview with cult legend Stuart Gordon.
Gordon writes, directs and produces films. Talk about being multi-talented. The average horror buff would know Gordon as the director of classics such as Re-Animator, From Beyond and Dolls, which was so traumatizing for me as a child I had to stop playing with dolls. “I’m really sorry about scarring you for life,” Gordon laughs. “I still have one of the dolls from that movie.
Gordon’s latest movie, Stuck, is based on actual events that occurred in Texas in 2001. A woman hit a homeless man with her car and left him in her garage, lodged in her windshield to die. “It was in the front pages for weeks. You can’t make up stuff like that,” Gordon replies when asked what inspired him to tell this story.
Stuck stars Stephen Rea, who plays the character of Tom, a white-collar, average Joe who has lost his job, his apartment and is now living on the streets. Just when things can’t get any worse, he’s run down by drunk-driving Brandi (Mena Suvari), who continues home with Tom stuck in her windshield. Once she arrives at home, Brandi leaves Tom in her garage — still in the windshield — struggling to survive. Brandi decides not to call for help for fear of the consequences she would face. Instead she yells at Tom and blames him. Yeah ... she’s a real piece of work.
It’s easy to identify with the character of Tom, especially if you’re living in Michigan. He is the victim of a shitty economy and can’t catch a break. “We’re all in the same boat as Tom,” says Gordon. “It seems as if everyone is two paychecks away from losing everything.” And it’s not easy to hate Brandi, as she’s a devoted nursing home employee who unfortunately makes a terrible decision that ultimately puts her up against Tom as they battle for survival. “It would have been so easy to make her a monster,” Gordon says. “She makes a bad decision and has to follow that path.” Instead of calling the police or an ambulance, Brandi calls Rashid. Rashid is her cheating, drug dealing boyfriend who acts tough but behaves like the Cowardly Lion when he faces the problem of putting Tom out of his misery as he is still lodged in the windshield. Eerily enough, Stuck began filming on the anniversary of the actual real-life incident. “We didn’t plan it that way,” Gordon says. “We were constantly thinking about it and it was always on our minds.”
I feel I can’t end this article without mentioning Gordon’s much-anticipated House of Re-Animator, which would focus on re-animating the vice president in the White House. House of Re-Animator still needs financial backing and zombie vice presidents aren’t a subject too many people are willing to touch right now. “I’ve got to get it made,” Gordon says. “I almost gave up on it.” | RDW
Stuck opens 6/13 at Landmark's Main Art
Stuck Starring Mena Suvari, Stephen Rea, Russell Hornsby and Rukiya Bernard. Written by John Strysik and Stuart Gordon. Directed by Stuart Gordon. Rated R. Now playing at Landmark’s Maple Art Theatre.
Stuck is different than the horror movies that have been popping up lately. It’s not a remake of a Japanese film and it has no slashers. The script is fresh and has tones of dark humor pop up throughout, including a pretty nasty girl fight. Perhaps the idea of a caregiver not caring is more socially terrifying than any CGI-laced slasher flick. While lately the horror genre has hit a plateau, Stuck takes horror to a new place. | RDW
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