I‘m a sucker for Hammer horrors but this is one that I often forget about, and I don’t know why it’s actually quite brilliant. Filled with the typical richness of any hammer horror production, a great intriguing story but a much older and more sinister monster in this whodunit style mystery.
A young girl is presumed murdered by her lover who then kills himself, his father Jules Heitz (Michael Goodliffe) protests the young man’s innocence, but there is some shadiness going on. The father is certain that an ancient mythical beast is to blame for the deaths and those of seven other people in the last five years in the picturesque rural village of Vandorf. The locals and authorities are scared and ignore all the facts, while trying to investigate his theory he hears a distant lullaby and is convinced that a phantom is causing the petrifying deaths and stalking the townspeople.
It’s not as terrifying as it used to be, but you can’t fault Hammer Horror for being lavish in acting, ideas and atmosphere. Once the story really starts to get going and the beast is being hunted it does liven up with the arrival of Prof Karl Meister (Christopher Lee) who is aiding Paul Heitz (Richard Pasco) who is in love with Carla (Barbara Shelley) and all three starred in Rasputin the Mad Monk (1966). There are some reused sets from one of the Dracula movies and the ethereal glowing greek bitch is actually quite freaky but I do wonder what the film would look if they utilised the claymation craft from Raymond Frederick “Ray” Harryhausen who worked on such films as Sinbad and the eye of the tiger (1977), it might have added a bit of uncharted depths to the creature.
If; like me, you’re a sucker for glowing Greek monsters, howling winds and ruined castles then this will certainly entertain, if not then you’ve got to check out Christopher Lee’s Einstein style hair and mustache, luckily his brilliant acting is more memorable as he takes control of this drastic situation. Peter Cushing delivers another variation of this Frankenstein persona, a doctor who runs an asylum and serves as a coroner but his villainy is more ambiguous, but it’s clear that he’s covering up for something but in this case he’s doing it out of love.
Overall the Gorgon is an interesting addition to the pantheon of classic monster movies, a sort of tragic gothic love story, the only real let down is the effects and makeup, but it doesn’t undermine the brilliance that the brings overall.
R – Rasputin (1966), Jason and the Argonauts (1963),
L – Hammer Horrors, Greek myths on film
5B – Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing
Vs – The Gorgon Vs Medusa (clash of the titans)