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Film / Gorgo

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A.K.A. British Godzilla.

Some British treasure hunters, headed by Captain Joe Ryan (Bill Travers) and first officer, Sam Slade (William Sylvester), are salvaging around Nara Island off the coast of Ireland when the region is rocked by an underwater volcanic eruption. Their ship is forced to dock for repairs. Ryan and Slade meet with the harbour master and learn that two divers in his employ have disappeared. One such diver is then found having died from fright. That night, the epononymous Gorgo emerges from the sea and trashes the harbour. Ryan offers to capture the creature, and succeeds in doing so. Gorgo is taken to London where he is put on display in a circus, against the wishes of the scientists who insist this could be dangerous. And yes, sure enough, said scientists are right. For it turns out the 65-foot tall Gorgo is just a baby. His fully-grown and very angry mother then emerges, and she wants her darling baby back...


This 1961 film was featured on the ninth episode of the ninth season of Mystery Science Theater 3000, being one of the better films showcased on the show.

Also had a Comic-Book Adaptation published by Charlton Comics, some of which had art done by Steve Ditko, and a Novelization by Carson Bingham.

This film contains examples of:

  • Always a Bigger Fish: The titular monster is just a baby. Its even more gigantic unnamed mother is the one that wrecks all of London's shit.
  • Bring It Back Alive: Gorgo was subjected to this and brought to London.
  • Chromosome Casting: There are no women in the film, except as background characters. This is lampshaded in the MST3K episode. (If it's any small comfort, the main monster is a female...)
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Illustrated by Steve Ditko.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: A reporter repeatedly gives speeches of this nature during the film's climax.
  • Advertisement:
  • Didn't See That Coming: Needless to say, the human cast didn't expect for the 60 foot tall kaiju they caught to be a baby and his 200 foot tall mother to come on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: Complete with people trampling it during the mad mob rush in London.
  • Gigantic Adults, Tiny Babies: Gorgo is about a tenth the size of his mommy. That said, he's still over 60 ft tall, while Ogra towers over 200 feet.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters:
    • Sure, Gorgo's mom levels London and probably killed millions of innocent people, but the only reason she went to London in the first place was because people kidnapped her baby and turned him into a circus attraction. The only human to actually oppose this last action is Shaun.
    • The movie was made with the intention to make you root for the monster. Apparently the director's daughter cried when she saw his earlier movie The Giant Behemoth when the monster in that film died, even scolding her father for 'killing the nice beast.' He made this film as an apology to her, seeing as how the monster survives and the relationship Shaun has with Gorgo.
  • Kaiju: Gorgo's mother. Gorgo himself, too, though he's only an infant, though already larger than a T.rex even as a baby.
  • Mama Bear: Replace "bear" with "kaiju" to have Gorgo's mother in a nutshell.
  • Monster Has A Mommy: And a very angry mommy at that.
  • Monumental Damage: London Bri... errr, the Tower Bridge and Big Ben get totalled by Gorgo's mom.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • One of the scientists insists the ship's crew continually hose down Gorgo while transporting him to London. We find out later that this creates a trail, which Mama Gorgo follows.
    • Also, one of the rockets fired at Gorgo's mother goes astray and hits Big Ben through the clock face.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Neither Gorgo nor its mother are out to destroy civilization or cause death for the sake of it, Gorgo's mother rampage is solely motivated by its desire to save its child from captivity and once she is reunited with it, they both leave peacefully.
  • Novelization Published by Monarch Books, it features some deleted scenes from the film such as a scene where Sam and Joe fight a giant octopus and a killer whale underwater while searching for the treasure. It also adds some sex scenes. How, you may ask, with no major female characters aside from Gorgo's mother? Simple. Author Carson Bingham writes in a daughter for McCartin who falls in love with Joe.
  • Oh, Crap!: Gorgo's mom continues to inspire these from the human cast from the moment she shows up and continues to rip through literally everything the military throws at her.
  • Product Placement:
    • A Coca-Cola marquee is visible during Gorgo's mom's rampage through downtown London.
    • Although the shot is Piccadilly Circus, which has had a Coca-Cola sign as a permanent fixture of its advertising hoardings for decades, so Truth in Television
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Literally defines the climax of the film involving Gorgo's mom.
  • Shout-Out: Nara Island is named after a city in southern Honshu, Japan, in honor of Godzilla. The movie was originally to be set in Japan, too, where the island's name would make sense. Though amusingly, it still works in an Irish context, as Nara is an obvious anagram of Aran, the three islands of which are Ireland's most famous.
  • Shown Their Work: All the Irish spoken by the islanders is real Irish and correct in context. (Indeed, if anything it's too good - it's very proper, educated Irish and not one of the strongly accented island dialects.)
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the comic adaptation, McCartin survives his encounter with Gorgo's mother.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: The military is entirely confident they'll be able to kill Gorgo's mother. It's for this reason that London wasn't evacuated despite them knowing she's coming. Needless to say, they fail.
  • The Juggernaut: Gorgo's mother is completely unstoppable, plowing through everything the military throws at her.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Several bystanders get roasted alive when they decide to go down to the dock and watch as the military fills the river with petrol and lights it in an attempt to burn Gorgo's mother.
    • The military isn't much better: It doesn't occur to any of them to give Gorgo back until Mama Gorgo has trashed most of the Royal Navy and a good chunk of London.
    • A guy with a sign around his neck goes around screaming "REPENT" in the middle of a panicking crowd, and is promptly trampled to death by said crowd.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: In the film itself, the fact that Gorgo's a baby and his mother goes on the warpath to get him back is a plot twist. However, the trailers flat out show the scene revealing that.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Gorgo gets trapped in a net, drugged with tranquilizers and paraded around London, and then put on display in a grimy, gray pool. Also, his mommy loses her son. She just wants him back. Wouldn't you be angry if someone did this to your son?
  • Worf Barrage: The military spends the last 40 minutes of the movie throwing everything at Gorgo's mother, confident in their ability to kill her...and absolutely none of it does so much as slow her down.


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