Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Monday, August 4, 2008

THE GORGON


THE GORGON (1964). Director: Terence Fisher.

In 1910 a European village is beset by one of the mythological gorgons who has inexplicably taken up residence in the ruins of a local castle, possessed the body of a local woman, and emerges periodically to turn men and women into stone. This Hammer production has atmosphere to spare, as well as handsome art direction and adroit color schemes, all of which serve to enhance the ominous proceedings. Whatever its illogic, the film is also bolstered by good performances, and a cast that includes Peter Cushing as a village doctor, Christopher Lee as a visiting professor and friend to more than one of the literally petrified victims, and Barbara Shelley as Cushing's assistant Carla Hoffman, who falls for Paul Heitz (Richard Pasco) whose father (Michael Goodliffe) and brother were turned to stone by the gorgon. The Gorgon has the strange quality of a fantastic tragic operetta, with its doomed love story and an effective enough score by James Bernard. The monster may be a little disappointing, but the premise is certainly unique.

Verdict: Worthwhile horror fantasy. ***.

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