Captain Spaulding on Skull Island

RIP Stuart Gordon

March 25th, 2020

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When I moved to Chicago in 1993 to pursue a career in theater, I was lucky enough to get hired by Touchstone Theatre to work in the Box Office.  A couple of years after that, in 1996, Touchstone merged with Organic Theater – the former artistic home of Stuart Gordon.  Stuart had done a lot of experimental and highly regarded work with Organic before moving on to Hollywood in the 1980’s.

During the merger and rebranding, Stuart came around a couple of times.  I always got to be on hand whenever he visited because I was the only person on staff who had seen his films.  In our limited contact, he seemed gracious and friendly.  He supported the merger and Organic’s re-birth.  He even let us have the Chicago premiere of his Dennis Hopper film SPACE TRUCKERS as one of our yearly benefits.

Stuart didn’t make a lot of movies, but they all offer something to make them worth watching.  Even SPACE TRUCKERS, which is far from a masterpiece, has one inventive, funny special effect involving a hot dog and a spray of mustard. And, while he’ll be remembered for his five exemplary Lovecraft adaptations, two of his best films are THE WONDERFUL ICE CREAM SUIT (which Ray Bradbury felt was one of the best adaptations of his work) and STUCK (based on a disturbing true story).

Speaking of Lovecraft, in 2000 I had my first Lovecraftian tale published.  It was called “In the Garden Apartment of Madness” and was in the Twilight Tales anthology CTHULHU AND THE COEDS.  I sent the book to Stuart and I’m sure it was on his short list of Lovecraftian stories to adapt to film.

He will be missed.

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