Directed by Terence Fisher [Other horror films: Three’s Company (1953, episodes ‘The Surgeon’ & ‘ Take a Number’), The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Dracula (1958), The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959), The Mummy (1959), The Stranglers of Bombay (1959), The Brides of Dracula (1960), The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960), The Curse of the Werewolf (1961), The Phantom of the Opera (1962), The Horror of It All (1964), The Earth Dies Screaming (1964), Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966), Island of Terror (1966), Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), Night of the Big Heat (1967), The Devil Rides Out (1968), Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969), Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974)]
This Hammer film is a very worthwhile watch on many levels. Not only is the cast superb, but the story here is actually decently mysterious up to a point, and though the finale isn’t all that it could have been, the story here’s interesting and memorable.
Peter Cushing is one of the stars, playing a tight-lipped medical examiner, and that alone is enough to push this movie in a positive direction, given Cushing is one of my favorite actors (after Vincent Price). What’s even better is that Christopher Lee eventually shows up, and the two of them together is great. Lee is always of good quality, and he’s best here during his heated conversation with Patrick Troughton. Horror fans might best remember Troughton from The Omen, and that was a solid role, but being a rather big fan of the science-fiction series Doctor Who, I know Troughton as the Second Doctor, perhaps one of my favorite incarnations of the character.
Seeing Cushing, Troughton, and Lee all in one movie is very much a treat. Lee has a very commanding presence here, and though Troughton is a bit brow-beaten, his situation doesn’t really do him any favors. Even without those stars, Barbara Shelley (who has a somewhat unique story arc here), Michael Goodliffe (though he gave one of the worst justifications for the belief in the supernatural that I have ever heard in my life), and Richard Pasco came to play. Goodliffe really carries the first half of the film, and has a somewhat touching last scene. With a cast like this, even an okay story can go a long way.
Luckily, The Gorgon has a somewhat interesting one, which deals with memory loss and people being turned to stone. Much like other Hammer films, this possesses a strong atmosphere, and while in my opinion the color somewhat mutes that, it’s still nice to see a classic story like this using the best of the techniques at the time.
I’ve seen The Gorgon a handful of times before, and I still find it an enjoyably solid movie with a pretty interesting (and somewhat surprising) finale. The only real flaw here is that the design of the Gorgon, when it fully appears, is somewhat laughable. Otherwise, this is an enjoyable slice of 1960’s British horror. Just look at that cast and say ‘yes.’