The Gorgon


Terence Fisher
Columbia Pictures
Hammer Films

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.

-The Sloth

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!

-Dave W.

21st August 1964

83 mins

17th February 1965

83 mins

14th October 2008

83 mins

Christopher Lee
Professor Karl Meitzer
Peter Cushing
Doctor Namaroff
Richard Pasco
Paul Heitz
Barbara Shelley
Carla Hoffman
Michael Goodliffe
Professor Jules Heitz
Patrick Troughton
Inspector Kanof
Joseph O'Conor
Prudence Hyman
Megaera - The Gorgon
Jack Watson
Redmond Phillips
Hans, the Valet
Jeremy Longhurst
Bruno Heitz
Toni Gilpin
Sascha Cass
Joyce Hemson
Martha, Madwoman
Alister Williamson
Janus Cass
Michael Peake
Peter Diamond
Sally Nesbitt
Victor Chapman
Asylum Attendant
Fred Haggerty
Constable (uncredited)
Unknown 7546-03
Recording Clerk at Inquest
Unknown 7546-04
Inquest Jury Member
Fred Stroud
Inquest Jury Member
Peter Evans
Inquest Jury Member
Unknown 7546-07
Inquest Jury Member
Bobby Wright
Inquest Jury Member
Arthur Howell
Leader of Angry Mob
Unknown 7546-10
Angry Mob
Bill Sawyer
Angry Mob
Jim Brady
Angry Mob
Unknown 7546-13
Angry Mob
Unknown 7546-14
Angry Mob
Pat Halpin
Man Warning Mob of Police

Dave Wright: Screencaps & Notes