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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Gorgon can be found here.
When both his brother Bruno (Jeremy Longhurst) and his father, Professor Jules Heitz (Michael Goodliffe), die under mysterious circumstances in the early 20th century village of Vandorf, Paul Heitz (Richard Pasco) travels to the village to investigate. He gets no help from the village doctor, Dr Namaroff (Peter Cushing), who seems to be hiding something, so he invites his mentor, Professor Karl Meister (Christopher Lee) from the University of Leipzig, to join him in the investigation. Meister has heard the legend of Megaera, the last remaining of the three Gorgon sisters, which tells of her moving to Vandorf at the turn of the century and suspects Megaera may be the cause. He also suspects that Namaroff's nurse Carla Hoffman (Barbara Shelley), with whom Paul has fallen in love, may know more than what she's telling.
English writers John Gilling and J. Llewellyn Devine wrote the storyline (Devine) and screenplay (Gilling) for The Gorgon based on the legend of the Gorgon sisters from Greek mythology. The script was novelized by John Burke as part of his The Hammer Horror Omnibus (1966).
The Gorgons are female figures from Greek mythology, often depicted as having serpents for hair. They were so terrible to look at that anyone who gazed upon their faces would turn to stone. There were three of them: Medusa, Stheno, and Euryale. Medusa was beheaded by the Greek hero Perseus, who gave it to the goddess Athena to put on her shield. In The Gorgon, the Gorgon's name is Megaera, and she is supposedly the last of the three Gorgons, her sisters Tisiphone and Medusa having already been slain. In the Greek myths, however, Megaera and Tisiphone are actually two of the Furies (aka the Erinyes), whose heads were also often depicted as wreathed with serpents.
The opening prologue reads:
Overshadowing the village of Vandorf stands the Castle Borski. From the turn of the century, a monster from an ancient age of history came to live here. No living thing survived and the spectre of death hovered in waiting for her next victim.
The film does not say where Vandorf is located. From other clues in the movie, such as a sign in the hospital that reads "verboten" (German for "forbidden"), the style of the policemen's uniforms, and the identity cards of the women who have applied for citizenship from Germany and Austria, it may be assumed that the setting is a fictitious country somewhere near Germany and Austria. The actual movie, however, was shot at Bray Studios in Berkshire, England.
After learning about his girlfriend's pregnancy, Bruno is found hanging from a tree. At the inquest, it's ruled that he committed suicide because he didn't want to face the consequences of Sascha (Toni Gilpin) having his baby. However, he was on his way to tell her father that he would honor his obligation, so it's unlikely that he suddenly decided to hang himself. One possible explanation is that he faced Megaera who turned Sascha into stone, so Bruno hung himself before the same thing happened to him. Another is that he was murdered by Namaroff and Ratoff to silence him.
It was Megaera's spirit, not her actual body that lives in Castle Borski. During nights of the full moon, her spirit takes possession of the body of a human woman of the village. How Megaera got to Vandorf and why she picked the body of this particular woman is not revealed in the movie.
No. They look like rubber heads sticking out from a very bouffant hairdo. Its said, however, that Barbara Shelley, who plays the role of Carla, had an idea for a wig with real snakes in it, but the producers thought such a wig would be too expensive and too time-consuming to make, so they opted for the cheaper wig.
The body of Carla Hoffman.
Paul dashes over to Castle Borski to rescue Carla, but Namaroff tries to prevent him lest he inadvertently looks at Megaera's face and is turned to stone. The worst happens and both Paul and Namaroff see her face. As Megaera stares at Paul and he begins to turn to stone, Professor Meister sneaks up behind her and lops off her head with a sword. The head fades back into that of Carla. Paul collapses on the floor, crying, but continues to turn to stone anyway. "She's free now, Paul," Meister assures him. "She's free."
Since Medusa, the most well-known Gorgon, figures largely in stories about the Greek hero Perseus, movies about his exploits will likely feature his bout with Medusa. One such movie is Clash of the Titans (1981). Another that builds on Greek myths is Perseo l'invincibile aka Medusa Against the Son of Hercules (1963). 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964) features Medusa as one of the creatures in Dr Lao's mysterious circus.
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