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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Video Beaverhausen: Hammer Films' The Gorgon

At the turn of the 19th-20th centuries, residents of a small village are becoming petrified -- both figuratively and literally! Hammer Films' The Gorgon is indeed an atmospheric horror film (wonder what their smoke machine-and-dry ice budget was), very moody and stylish, and very campy. It will  especially appeal to its gay audience, none of whom would dare style that hair! Why, one would have to cut it blindfolded for one thing (probably chopping off some serpent heads), and I can't imagine what the shampooing/ blow-dry would be like. Back around that time, when my mom gave herself her Toni Home Permanents, the rollers kind of resembled those snakes.

Turning to stone in the 20th Century may be a metaphor this movie wishes to convey. I really believe that high-minded concept may be at work in this film. Stage-trained, Shakespearian actors and Hammer stalwarts Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Barbara Shelley are in The Gorgon, giving it gravitas.

As for the creature itself, named Megeara, she is a real mess in a dress. Miss Thing doesn't look the least bit convincing, unfortunately. But that only brings us back to what makes this film a camp classic. Long after shooting this film, Christopher Lee said, "The only thing wrong with The Gorgon was the gorgon!" He praised the film and called it "beautiful looking" but added that, due to budget constraints, the f/x just weren't convincing. "It could have been terrific," Lee said.

Handsomely directed by Terrence Fisher who helmed many Hammer horror classics, including many of the Dracula, Frankenstein and Mummy films. Damn those full moons!

Hammer Films are back with us. Its newest "monster" is The Woman in Black.

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