Dagon was originally "Dagan." He was a Caananite God of grain, crops, and, to some, fertility. According to mythology, he was the father of Baal. Possible meanings of the name are fish, grain, or corn, this first suggesting that he was some kind of fish like entity. He has been often represented as having the lower half of a fish, kind of like a merman, but he has also been represented as having a fishy upper body instead. He bears an interesting resemblance to the Oannes of Mesopotamia and Babylonia.

The most famous worshipers of Dagon were the Phillistines of primarily Biblical fame. The Phillistines had a number of temples to Dagon with statues of the god in them. An amusing episode is described in 1 Samuel 5:1-4 when the Phillistines capture the Ark of the Covenant, and have the bright idea to put it before one of the statues of Dagon. When they did this, the statue fell over onto its face. Naturally, they picked it up. When the Phillistine priests came back later, they found that Dagon's head and hands were cut off, and only "the stump of Dagon" was left. Vicious, no? The famed judge Samson, when captured, hairless, and eyeless, pulled down a temple to Dagon on the heads of the Phillistines.

Dagon was big in Palestine for a good while, but, after a time, his son, Baal, ursurped his duties. As with Astarte, Ishtar, Tammuz, Marduk, and the other fallen gods, Dagon was given no pretty cairn.
American-Spanish horror film, released in 2001. It was directed by Stuart Gordon, with a screenplay by Dennis Paoli, based on "The Shadow over Innsmouth" by H.P. Lovecraft. Stars include Ezra Godden as Paul Marsh, Francisco Rabel as Ezequiel, Raquel Merono as Barbara, Macarena Gomez as Uxia, Brendan Price as Howard, Birgit Bofarull as Vicki, and Ferran Lahoz as the priest.

Fans of Lovecraft's stories have always had slim pickings when it came to movies based on HPL's work. Usually stuck watching mediocre to sub-par flicks that take little inspiration from the Master's writing, like "Die, Monster, Die!", "The Haunted Palace", "The Dunwich Horror", "The Crimson Cult", and "The Unnamable", fans have learned to embrace films like Lovecraft-faithful movies like "The Resurrected", Sorta-Lovecraftian-but-still-way-fun movies like "Re-Animator", and Not-Lovecraftian-at-all-but-damn-they-got-the-mood-right movies like "In the Mouth of Madness" -- mainly because there's just nothing else out there.

Director Gordon and producer Brian Yuzna have something of a mad-on for Lovecraft. They were responsible for both "Re-Animator" and "From Beyond", based on Lovecraft stories, and they've been working for years on bringing a big-budget adaptation of "The Shadow over Innsmouth", with big stars galore and creature effects designed by Berni Wrightson and Dick Smith, to the big screen.

"Dagon" has no big stars and only a small budget, and the reviews in the mainstream press have been middling to poor. But it's definitely not a failure. It's not completely faithful to its source material--numerous characters are changed or added, the location is shifted from Innsmouth, Massachusetts to a small coastal town in Spain (mainly because most of the cash for the flick was raised in Spain), and great heaping gobs of nudity and gore are added to the mix. But for Lovecraft fans, "Dagon" has it goin' on.

We start out following bespectacled and nightmare-plagued Paul Marsh and his friends aboard a small yacht. A sudden storm blows their boat onto some rocks, so Paul and his girlfriend Barbara take a lifeboat to a nearby town to get help for their injured friends. They discover a ramshackle, decaying town, a sinister church, oddly-deformed citizens who never seem to blink, and lots and lots (and lots and lots) (and lots) of rain. As Paul runs from the croaking, braying townspeople, he runs into few allies (the almost unintelligible Esquivel and the beautiful but ominously unblinking Uxia), collides with far, far too many enemies, and discovers more secrets than he'll ever be comfortable with.

What Gets Done Right: atmosphere, first and foremost. The omnipresent rain and darkness, coupled with the filthy, decaying town, keep the spooky, Lovecraftian mood going perfectly. (It rains almost constantly in this movie. I had to check my carpet for water damage after the film was over.) The acting, especially from Godden, is also pretty good. In fact, the character of Paul Marsh--limping, fumbling with his glasses, screwing things up over and over and over--is also a definite keeper. The special effects and makeup are generally low-tech prosthetics, thank Azathoth. The few computerized effects are completely unconvincing. Oh, and Paul wears a Miskatonic University T-shirt. A minor detail, but it makes all the Lovecraft geeks go "Awwww, yeah."

What Gets Done Wrong: the accents are often irritating and distracting, especially Esquivel's. He has huge chunks of exposition to deliver, but it's almost impossible to understand anything he says. Like I said before, the computer effects are bad. There's at least one giant plot hole concerning why Esquivel has been able to spend the last 75 years in Evil Monster Fish Town without being killed or turning into a fishman himself.

Should you watch it? If you don't have a high tolerance for blood and gore or gratuitous nudity, you might better give this one a pass. If you don't enjoy horror movies, especially low-budget B-movies, give it a pass.

If you're a fan of H.P. Lovecraft, go see it now.

Research from the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com)

Da"gon (?), [Heb. Dagon, fr. dag a fish: cf. Gr. .]

The national god of the Philistines, represented with the face and hands and upper part of a man, and the tail of a fish.

W. Smith.

This day a solemn feast the people hold To Dagon, their sea idol. Milton.

They brought it into the house of Dagon. 1 Sam. v. 2.


© Webster 1913.

Dag"on (?), n. [See Dag a loose end.]

A slip or piece.




© Webster 1913.

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