Two CIA agents are sent to Bucharest, Romania to solve a high profile kidnapping. But what they discover is something inexplicable. An evil gargoyle, once thought dead and banished forever, ... Read allTwo CIA agents are sent to Bucharest, Romania to solve a high profile kidnapping. But what they discover is something inexplicable. An evil gargoyle, once thought dead and banished forever, has returned with a vengeance.Two CIA agents are sent to Bucharest, Romania to solve a high profile kidnapping. But what they discover is something inexplicable. An evil gargoyle, once thought dead and banished forever, has returned with a vengeance.
I think the movie suffers from a lack of sex and violence, though there is one car chase stunt that looks so dangerous it could only have been filmed in a country where life is cheaper than beer. "Gargoyle"'s heart is in the right place, but its aspirations are conservative. It is at least not pretentious. But I had a great time acting in it, playing the perennial idiot in the horror movie who says "What's down this hole?" and dies for his hubris. Plus I got to meet Michael Pare. Every film junkie should work with a B-movie staple at least once before death. And Romanians are the loveliest people I've met. Literally the loveliest. Walk down the street in Bucarest: if 7 of every 10 women aren't absolutely beautiful, you're walking down a street I didn't come across; and be consoled by the fact that at least 5 of the 10 are available for drinks.
Part of the film was shot in Casa Radio, an abandoned, unfinished Classic Communist Bloc-cum-Georgian Nightmare edifice originally intended to house KGB propaganda ministries, i.e. Radio Not-so-Free Europe. The building's five stories tall and takes up a city block; best of all, while its facade radiates Big Brotheresque state solidity, it resides near the city center like a post-apocalyptic ruin in a jungle of burdock and hemp peopled by dozens of Gypsies and scores of wild dogs. Construction on Casa Radio was suspended when Caucescu and his wife were executed on TV in 1989, and still there are gaping holes that drop from the sun-baked top floor (offering surreal vistas of a modern quarter-mile stretch of concrete roof, decorated with jutting rebar and old car parts, overlooking a crumbling ancient city) all the way down to the damp, creepy sub-basement (which doubles in the film for the Gargoyle lair.) No American-style guardrails or warning signs for Bucarest.
Since the demise of the Soviet Union, Casa Radio has hosted several non-union film shoots, including "Highlander III". It is attractive to producers because it's a cheap location, massive in terms of scale and available space, bizarre looking, and free of insurance headaches as it's still state property. Plus no one complains if you don't clean up after your production: anything left onsite is interpolated into the resident Gypsies' construction of their shanty town in this actual urban jungle.
An assistant director was bitten bloody by a wild dog during the shoot of "Gargoyle". The apples provided by catering were pressed into service by cast and crew as projectiles in order to keep the prowling dogs at bay. I too was bitten by wild dogs in Bucarest, once in a bar (!) and once in a city park. I also survived two car wrecks in two weeks, both in taxis and neither of which was seen by the drivers involved as grounds for stopping the cars.
GEEK NOTE: The Sci-Fi Network or Channel or whatever was one of the backers of this film (the smaller the budget, the more producers on set), so it's a little weird that nobody had a problem with the original title, "Gargoyles", until it was almost time to show it on the network, even though Sci-Fi already had an unrelated series of that name. The title was changed sometime relatively close to release, as I have a color-corrected copy labeled with the former title.
- Oct 28, 2005