Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Gorgon (1964)

Hammer Films only seem to get better with time. They so define an age of American horror film making that they are almost their own genre of film.

Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee - were there ever two more reliable film stars. You know just what you are getting the second they appear on screen.

They had a way of making Easter Europe look really grim.

Naked girlfriend asks painter boyfriend while posing for him.

"Are you going to marry me, Bruno?"

"Yeh sure baby. Now put your shirt back on."

I can't get enough of the hammy overacting. Nothing is every subtle or subtext in a Hammer film.

Test tubes filled with colored water is just so set designer showing off.

The plot is goofy but creepy. I liked seeing the results of the encounters with the Gorgon. How anyone didn't immediately come to that conclusion once a 'person had been turned to stone' that they had a Gorgon on their hands is beyond me. Even ignorant 18th century Easter European peasants knew their Greek myths.

The sound and music are all top notch. It feels like a stage production with the over the top make-up, hammy over acting and garish color pallet. It's like some child just got his hands on a color movie camera. It's interesting to look at.

The make-up is delightfully distracting.

I love the way the peasants in their Sunday best coming to burn the place down until the police (who don't chase any of their rioters down) show up. Small town ignorant provincial monster protectors.

The castle is sufficiently run down and spooky with the sudden sounds and wind only adding to the terror. When you are ten and watching this movie at 2 am, it can freak you out a bit.

This one reminded me of the matinee movies we went to on the base when we were kids.


M. D. Jackson said...

I love those old Hammer films. I would sneak down from my bedroom and turn on the tv really low and sit really close to watch them in the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes my parents woke up and sent me to bed but many times I was able to watch the whole thing through.

And, yes, they did give me nightmares. But it was worth it.

Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

It is pretty impressive when a British film studio can define an "Age of American Horror Film" as you put it.

I'm a huge fan of old school horror, particularly the Universal Horror Monsters because I grew up with them, but I'm slowly working my way into Hammer since they seem to have a unique blend of sex, gore and camp for a very "Friday Night Fun" kind of feeling.

So far I've seen "Curse of Frankenstein", "Horror of Dracula" and "Revenge of Frankentsein". Hammer's first forays into Dracula and Frankenstein were a bit slow, but I suspect that the sequels will be faster paced and flashier since they no longer have to adhere to an older plot. Or at least thats what I thought until I saw "Revenge of Frankenstein" were Dr. Frankenstein is barely in it, he doesn't take revenge on anybody and he actually helps people in need. WTF? Talk about false advertising.

DrGoat said...

Curse of Frankenstein is one of my favorite Hammer films. There's one with a mummy in it that's pretty good.