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In early-twentieth-century middle-Europe, villagers are literally becoming petrified. Although the authorities try to hush the matter up, it is apparent that at the full moon, Megaera, a Gorgon, leaves her castle lair and anyone looking on her face is turned to stone. When this fate befalls a visitor, experts from the University of Leipzig arrive to try and get to the bottom of it all.Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Actress Barbara Shelley, who played the possessed heroine, Carla Hoffmann, wanted to play the part of the gorgon as well for continuity, and suggested to producer Anthony Nelson Keys that she use a special wig with live green garden snakes woven into it for a more realistic effect. Her idea was rejected by Keys due to budget and time considerations. When Keys saw the abysmal gorgon effects in the finished film, he told Shelley that he should have listened to her suggestion. As Christopher Lee quips, "The only thing wrong with "The Gorgon" is the gorgon!" See more »
When Carla meets Heitz in the graveyard, she tosses back the hood of her cape. In the next camera angle, the hood is artfully draped around her shoulders. This occurs again in the castle scene. See more »
We are men of science. I don't believe in ghosts or evil spirits, and I don't think you do, either.
Professor Jules Heitz:
That's one of the most unscientific remarks I have ever heard. I believe in the existence of everything which the human brain is unable to disprove.
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I have to say that I'm really surprised that The Gorgon isn't one of the better known Hammer Horror films. Aside from the fact that it stars Hammer's two biggest actors - Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing - The Gorgon also features a fairly original cinematic monster, and it makes for a great fun watch! This film reminded me a lot of The Reptile in the way it plays out, in that it focuses on a mystery surrounding the central monster. It has to be said that, like a lot of Hammer Horror films, the plot is very simplistic; but that's hardly a problem as there's plenty to enjoy outside of the plot in this film. As the title suggests, the film focuses on a mysterious 'Gorgon', a woman with a head full of snakes that can turn people to stone just by looking at them. She's creating quite a problem for the local village, as citizens begin turning up dead - but unlike most dead people, they've turned to stone! The authorities try to cover it up, but as the murders continue, the son of one of the victims decides to investigate.
The film is very typical of Hammer in that it features a lush colour scheme and a lot of eerily Gothic settings. The Gorgon is directed by Hammer's most prolific director, Terence Fisher, and as usual - he does a solid job. The fact that this film stars both Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee is definitely to its advantage, although it is unfortunate (as is the case with many of their joint ventures) that they don't get to spend a lot of screen time together. Neither one is at their very best; but even Lee and Cushing on autopilot makes for great viewing, and neither one disappoints. It has to be said that the special effects are a bit shoddy and the monster doesn't look particularly scary; but stuff like that is part of the charm of Hammer Horror, and personally - I wouldn't have it any other way! It all boils down to a pretty standard conclusion, but while nothing about this film stands out too much next the rest of Hammer's output - it still stands up as a more than decent little horror film and I'm certain that my fellow Hammer fanatics wont be disappointed with it!
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