Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Terence Fisher|
|Produced by||Anthony Nelson Keys|
|Written by||John Gilling|
|Music by||James Bernard|
|Edited by||Eric Boyd-Perkins|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|18 October 1964|
It stars Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley and Richard Pasco. Written by John Gilling and directed by Terence Fisher, the film was photographed by Michael Reed, and designed by Bernard Robinson. For the score James Bernard combined a soprano with a little-known electronic instrument called the Novachord. The film marks one of the few occasions when Hammer turned to Greek mythology for inspiration; this time it is the legend of the Gorgon that is respun for the Hammer audiences.
Bruno Heitz is painting a semi-nude portrait of his girlfriend, Sascha. She announces she's going to have his baby, so he goes to talk to her father. She runs after him and through the trees sees Castle Borski, then screams in horror. At Vandorf Medical Institution, Inspector Kanof arrives to see Dr Namaroff to discuss the mysterious murder. Sascha's body is brought in and a calcified finger breaks off the hand as Carla Hoffman, Namaroff's assistant, looks in horror. Police with dogs search the forest and find the body of Bruno hanging from a tree. At the coroner's inquest, Bruno is found guilty of Sascha's murder and his father, Professor Jules Heitz, vows to clear his name. Afterwards, Carla chides Namaroff for not telling the truth.
Jules visits Namaroff and recounts the myth of the Gorgons, whose ugliness turns those who see them to stone. Jules is later attacked by angry villagers and wires his other son, Paul, to come to Vandorf. Jules hears a female voice and goes outside. The full moon appears and he goes to the castle where he glimpses a green figure. He staggers back to the house and writes a letter to his son before he turns to stone. Paul arrives but is not allowed to see his father's body. Namaroff has attributed his death to heart failure but Paul does not believe him. Carla tells Paul that Megaera the Gorgon does exist. At the hospital, Carla tells Namaroff what she has learned about the Gorgon from Professor's Heitz' letter to Paul, which she read at his house. Ratoff, an orderly, comes in and reports that Martha, a mentally disturbed patient, has escaped again. Namaroff tells Carla that Megaera has taken on human form.
Paul hears the haunting female voice and goes out into the courtyard where he sees the reflection of a horrible figure in the pool and collapses. He wakes up in a hospital bed; his hair has gone grey. When he's discharged, Paul tells Namaroff that he's staying in Vandorf to destroy the creature. As he leaves, Namaroff sees that Paul and Carla are holding hands. Paul digs up his father's grave and finds his body turned to stone. Carla appears and Paul offers to take her away but she refuses.
Back at the house, Professor Karl Meister, Paul's tutor, arrives. Namaroff performs an autopsy on Martha and removes her brain, but discovers she is not Magaera. Inspector Kanof shows them details of all the women who have come to live in Vandorf; Carla is one of them. Carla demands to know why Namaroff spies on her. She arranges to meet Paul at Castle Borski the next morning. They meet and she agrees to come away with him but says it must be immediately. When he says he must find Megaera first, she says she will never see him again. Ratoff attacks Paul but Meister saves him. Meister finds a file on Carla which shows that she suffered from amnesia attacks during the full moon; he thinks she is Megaera but Paul refuses to believe it. They find Carla outside struggling with Ratoff. She tells Paul it's too late to go away. The door bell rings and Paul hides Carla. Namaroff and the police search the house but can't find her as Paul has sent her to catch the train to Leipzig. She never arrives.
Meister locks Paul in his room but he climbs out of the window. The police return to arrest Paul for Carla's abduction. Meister escapes and follows Paul to the castle. There, Paul finds Namaroff armed with a sword and waiting for Magaera. Paul protests and tries to disarm him, but Namaroff knocks him out. Magaera appears and Namaroff attempts to behead her, but she turns him to stone. Paul regains consciousness and Magaera overpowers him. Meister arrives and beheads Magaera from behind, and the severed head turns back into Carla. Meister assures Paul that Carla is free, and Paul turns to stone.
- Christopher Lee as Professor Karl Meister
- Peter Cushing as Dr. Namaroff
- Richard Pasco as Paul Heitz
- Barbara Shelley as Carla Hoffman/Magaera
- Michael Goodliffe as Professor Jules Heitz
- Patrick Troughton as Inspector Kanof
- Joseph O'Conor as The Coroner
- Prudence Hyman as The Gorgon
- Jack Watson as Ratoff
- Redmond Phillips as Hans
- Jeremy Longhurst as Bruno Heitz
- Toni Gilpin as Sascha Cass
- Joyce Hemson as Martha
- Alister Williamson as Janus Cass
- Michael Peake as Constable
In other media
The film was adapted into a 10-page comic strip for the September 1977 issue of the magazine House of Hammer (volume 1, #12, published by Top Sellers Limited). It was drawn by Alberto Cuyas from a script by Scott Goodall.
Home video release
In North America, the film was released in 2008 along with three other Hammer horror films (The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll and Taste of Fear) on the 2-DVD set Icons of Horror Collection: Hammer Films (ASIN: B001B9ZVVC), from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. It is available in the UK as a single disc from the same company. The Gorgon was released in the U.S. on Blu-ray by Mill Creek in March 2018 as a double feature along with the Hammer movie, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll. The title of the film is misspelled as “The Gorgan” on the spine.
Variety wrote, "Though written and directed on a leisurely note, 'The Gorgon' is a well-made, direct yarn that mainly gets its thrills through atmosphere. The period storyline is simple and predictable but John Gilling has turned out a well-rounded piece and Terence Fisher's direction is restrained enough to avoid any unintentional yocks." The Monthly Film Bulletin found that the monster's appearance was "belated, vague and insufficiently spectacular. Still, it makes a change from vampires, and though the film has little genuine flair for atmosphere it is quite well acted by Richard Pasco and an appropriately blank-eyed, statuesque Barbara Shelley."
- Tom Johnson and Deborah Del Vecchio, Hammer Films: An Exhaustive Filmography, McFarland, 1996 p242
- "The Revenge of Frankenstein/Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll/The Gorgon (Blu-ray)". www.dvddrive-in.com. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
- "The Gorgon". Variety: 6. 26 August 1964.
- "The Gorgon". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 31 (369): 149. October 1964.
- "The Gorgon (1965) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes.com. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
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