It’s time to look at a pretty old horror film. There aren’t too many films about the Gorgon since they tend to focus on Medusa so that’s a good change of pace. Considering how bad most of the Hammer films are this one was actually pretty decent. It even avoided the old animal violence trope. It’s still nothing great, but it’s a film that’s actually watchable and fairly entertaining. I was impressed.
The film starts off with a bunch of people being murdered in a small village. One day another girl dies and her fiancee decides to get to the bottom of this. He has no luck and is destroyed so his father comes along to see what he can dig up. The townspeople threaten him and the cops allow it because the whole town is corrupt. The father manages to see the Gorgon and uncovers the truth, but dies as soon as he writes a letter. Then his son Paul shows up to finish his legacy. He wants to find the truth behind these murders but is being hampered at every turn. He’s called in his old pal Karl to help him out and a nice heroine by the name of Carla is also eager to help in his discoveries. Will the 3 of them be able to take down the Gorgon or will she turn them to stone?
Right away I have to say that all the misdirects at the beginning were a blast. The main character switches like 3 different times until the actual lead shows up. The first two live long enough where you think that they actually would have made it through. Now that’s an unexpected death if I ever saw one. The town being corrupt was also done in less of an iffy way than usual although naturally they all still look pretty bad as you’d expect. Doesn’t the town realize that if they let the Gorgon run free it will mean the end of everything? They’re content to just murder anyone who tries to murder the threat that is after them, but that logic is just so bad.
The only one that has a valid reason to help Gorgon for spoiler reasons is Namaroff and even he can be pretty bad the whole time. He changes his tune quite drastically by the end which makes his whole journey pointless. The guy was basically around to fulfill the role as the corrupt doctor but his goals and aspirations just didn’t make any sense either. By being overly cryptic and curt he should have known what was ultimately going to happen. The guy just wasn’t very smart.
Now lets talk about the standout character- Karl. Karl is a hardened professor who has been to many corrupt towns like this one. He knows how to fight and is also the smartest character in the movie. He knows law like the back of his hand so the police aren’t able to bully him as they did with Paul. He outwits everyone and constantly digs up facts about the case. He even solves the mystery early on but naturally Paul won’t hear anything of it. Without Karl, Paul would have been doomed from the start. Effectively this professor is Sherlock Holmes and he completely stole the show. I was surprised to see a character this likable in this film.
Paul is the actual main character of the film and right away you’ll see what I mean when I say that the guy wouldn’t last long. He’s not all that smart. He always talks tough but can’t back it up so when it’s fight time he is doomed. He tries quite often to persuade the doctor to help in his cause but it’s futile from the start. He also starts to let his emotions get the best of him as he forgets logic by the end. It’s one of his many issues in the movie. In general the romance between him and Carla wasn’t particularly good. I think the film could have done without that. It also would have made the identity of the Gorgon a little less obvious. After all there’s only 1 female character in the film. I wonder who the Gorgon can be……
Carla is a reasonable character for the most part. I think she should have also suspected what was happening a little sooner, but it’s also reasonable to assume that she would have some memory issues. By the end of the film her will power wasn’t particularly strong though which hurt her character arc a bit. Willpower isn’t something you can train all that much, it’s just something that you have but she could have used it to a better extent.
The writing was actually pretty good here. I can’t say I had any complaints with it. I mean, the town could be super unreasonable but at this point I can’t even say that is an unrealistic thing to see. The film is quite short so it doesn’t drag on and is over in the blink of an eye. The film isn’t super violent or graphic compared to the average Hammer film either. At worst the film might just move a bit slowly at times, but I would argue that the film’s plot never comes to a halt either. There really isn’t much time for big filler scenes.
Overall, The Gorgon certainly is a film that you have seen many times before. Switch out the character names and this could work as any other retro horror film. Still, while it is generic the film doesn’t necessarily handle itself poorly. It’s still a big improvement over films like Dracula and the Werewolf titles. I’d recommend watching it if you want an old horror film like this one. It takes itself seriously and I’d say that it has aged well in the sense that it’s not campy or anything. That can actually be a tough thing to accomplish nowadays. It feels like most old films can be pretty cheesy when watched in the present.