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Film / The Gorgon

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A Hammer Horror film from 1964, directed by Terence Fisher and starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Richard Pasco, and Barbara Shelley.

It's 1910, and several strange deaths have occurred in the Central European village of Vandorf. When his father becomes one of the victims, Paul Heitz (Pasco) comes to investigate, and discovers that an old Greek legend resides in the area.

This film has the examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: In one scene Dr. Namaroff is shown removing a dead patient's brain, nodding to Peter Cushing's role as Victor Frankenstein.
  • Agent Mulder: Prof. Jules Heitz, as evidenced by this exchange:
    Dr. Namaroff: We're the men of science. I don't believe in ghosts or even spirits nor I think you do either.
    Prof. Heitz: That's one of the most unscientific remarks I have ever heard. I believe in the existence of everything which the human brain is unable to disprove.
  • Asshole Victim: Professor Namaroff gets turned to stone by Magaera. Given all of his doubting behavior, he really had it coming.
  • Comicbook Adaptation: A comic strip adaptation was made for the House of Hammer magazine.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Prof. Meister slaps Paul when he is about to go look for Karla in a distressed state.
  • Demonic Possession: Magaera is possessing a human woman to manifest herself. It's Karla.
  • Dirty Cop: Inspector Kanof who is working with Dr. Namaroff to cover up the truth of the murders.
  • Downer Ending: On one hand, the Gorgon monster Megaera has been taken down for good, putting an end to this ancient horror's reign of terror. On the other hand, however... that means that she takes Karla Hoffman with her and Paul dies shortly thereafter by being turned to stone and the last words of comfort that Prof. Meister manages to speak to him that soften the blow are that this is the only way for her to finally be freed from the bond.
  • Haunted Castle: Castle Borski, where Megaera turn her victims to stone.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bruno Heitz. He's somewhat frivolous but when he learns that his lover Saschsa is present, he goes at once to her father to take responsibility and marry her.
  • Leitmotif: Megaera's presence is made apparent with a One-Woman Wail.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Paul's hair turns to grey after seeing Megaera from a reflection in water.
  • Love Interest: Nurse Karla Hoffman for Paul.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Paul's feeling for Kara makes him unwilling to listen to Prof. Meinster's conclusion that she is being possessed by Magaera.
  • Medusa: The main villain is her sister.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. Namaroff covers up the Gorgon's murders and removes the brains of his dead patients.
  • Novelization: Written by John Burke as a part of The Hammer Horror Film Omnibus.
  • Off with His Head!: Megaera is decapitated with a sword in the climax.
  • Opening Scroll: Gives the name of the setting for the horror to come.
  • Papa Wolf: Julius Heitz is furious at his son's name being dragged through the mud and vows to clear his name.
  • Police Are Useless: Inspector Kanoff is completely unhelpful. The only useful thing he accomplishes is to drive off the mob threatening Prof. Heitz and Kanof only provides vital information when Professor Meinster threatens to use his connections to the Foreign Secretary. He's revealed to be a conspirator in league with Namaroff.
  • The Reveal: Carla is possessed by the spirit of Megaera, who takes her over every full moon.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: The Gorgon is identified as Megaera, one of the sisters of Medusa. The film takes liberties about the myth in this regard, since Medusa's sisters are actually called Stheno and Euryale in the Classical Mythology, and the film conflates them with the three Furies with Medusa's other sister being named as Tisiphone, another member of that group.
  • The Scapegoat: The dead Bruno Heitz is used as this to cover up the truth of Sascha Cass' death.
  • Taken for Granite: Megaera's victims turn to stone.
  • This Was His True Form: When Megaera is killed, her decapitated head turns to Karla's.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: The villagers of Vandorf live in fear of Megaera, covering up her misdeeds and try to drive away anyone who tries to investigate.
  • The Unreveal: The film never explains why Bruno was Driven to Suicide if he actually was.