Let this be a warning for those of you seeking living, vibrant hair!
Cushing and Lee team for this battle with the lass with the ultimate stony glare. Enjoyable Hammer hokum for fans.
Murders plague the German town of Vandorf, the victims all turned to stone. The father of an artist falsely (and posthumously) accused of the latest murder is determined to find the true culprit, but meets evasion and silence at every turn. Who is enforcing such silence? Is it maybe the director of the insane asylum in the creepy castle on the outskirts of town?
Transfer of Greek myth to Germany, another land of folktales, is intriguing, but must rank as a noble failure. It's not due to the horribly fake snakes and papier-mâché Gorgon head at the climax, though of course that will put some people off. It's not the tragic, dream-like pacing, though again that might put some people off. It's more that the motivations behind the Gorgon, the reasons for her existence are never quite explored. Nor is the body horror of actually turning to stone ever captured in the visceral way Hammer did in other films, though Goodliffe and Pasco give the concept plenty of pathos. More damning is that Lee's bluff Sherlock Holmesian character and the sudden shift to action film bursts the oneiric bubble of inexorable fate that the movie has built. Perhaps this was intentional, but it deals the film a blow it can't quite recover from.
Even those faults cannot detract from the performances or production. Shelley, as always makes a wonderfully tragic heroine. And of course, the production design cannot be faulted, nor can James Bernard's fine score.
Thanks to Gerald Lovell for helping ID some of the uncredited actors!