Patrick Troughton and Peter Cushing in The Gorgon (1964)

Stone Me

The residents of a Balkan village have become use to living in the shadow of an imposing castle. In fact they have become use to a lot more as the resident of the castle is a Gorgon who turns people who look at her to stone and when ever this happens the villagers are quick to hush things over. But when a young man is stitched up by the locals for the latest death things become more complicated as the young man's father arrives, refusing to believe what others are saying and taking it upon himself to investigate and when he suffers a terrible fate his other son arrives seeking answers.

I think I will never fully understand what was so great about the Hammer horror movies as the more I watch the more I am convinced they were a time and place movie, working well for one generation but not having what it takes to work for later generations. And it is how I feel about "The Gorgon" as from the gothic sets to the familiar actors such as Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Patrick Troughton this is just another typical Hammer production. It has the look, the pacing, the tone, the costumes and I could go on because if I had a tick list of Hammer horror cliches it would tick most of them.

But the trouble is that narratively "The Gorgon" is not exactly compelling with Peter Cushing playing duplicitous doctor who covers up what is going on, a creature in the castle which leads to people dying and a young hero trying to get to the bottom of things whilst becoming romantically involved with a local. It just fails to really grip you by what is going on and that is partly down to the fact that everything about it is so familiar. In fact in my mind "The Gorgon" reminds me of the later "The Reptile" a little too much to the point the basic storyline feels the same.

What this all boils down to is that "The Gorgon" once again proves to me that the Hammer movies still work best for those who encountered them when they were released but for new audiences they are an acquired taste one which is not for me.