Friends, it is with a heart so heavy that it feels broken that we pass on the news that Director Stuart Gordon passed away on Tuesday night at the age of 72. Gordon is probably best known for his stunningly darkly comic Re-Animator – an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s “Herbert West-Reanimator” – which was published in the early 1920’s. I know that is where I first learned of the iconic Stuart Gordon, as Re-Animator was one of the very first VHS tapes I ever rented – a year after that 1985 classic came From Beyond, Gordon’s follow-up reuniting both Barbara Crampton and Jeffrey Combs from his previous film. It too was based off the work of H.P. Lovecraft – the short story of the same name being published in the June 1934 issue of The Fantasty Fan.
Gordon besides being a talented Director and screenwriter was also an accomplished playwright and theatre director – co-founding the Chicago Organic Theater Company with his Wife Carolyn Purdy-Gordon. The news of Stuart Gordon’s passing was first shared with me by Rockford Jay – although the source of that information was pulled a little bit later – so we both hoped that it had been a mistake. It was Variety however that was first to officially confirm the dreaded news and Stuart Gordon is already trending on Twitter with the many memories and condolences from fans around the World. For my money I think that Director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) has said it the best:
“Sorry to hear about the great Stuart Gordon passing. Along with his storied career in theatre and independent film, he is in the horror hall of fame forever for films like ‘From Beyond’ & the outrageous gem that is ‘Re-Animator’. Put a plaque up at Miskatonic University for him.”
In nearly a decade of writing for the Retroist, I had no greater honor than when I was allowed to interview Stuart Gordon – it was in regard to Re-Animator: The Musical as well as Nevermore…An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe. I so very much wish that the interview survived today so I could link to it – as Gordon was kind enough to put up with my inane questions – making the interview something special with his evident wit and charm.
It sure feels like 2020 has taken far, far too many talented celebrities from us… personally I feel that 72 years is too young – although Stuart Gordon has most assuredly left us an impressive list of films as his legacy. He was an accomplished creator in multiple mediums and genres with the likes of Dolls, Robot Jox, Fortress, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, and Dagon to name a few. He was a true Master of Horror and we will dim the lights in the auditorium in his honor.