Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gargoyles (1972)


Network: CBS
Original Air Date: November 21st, 1972
A totally offbeat monster movie, Gargoyles isn't for everyone but it is for some of us.

Cornel Wilde plays Dr. Mercer Boley, an anthropologist whose specialty is debunking things that can't normally be explained. Along with this voluptuous daughter Diana (Jennifer Salt), they head off to Mexico to investigate one Uncle Willie (Woody Chambliss) who claims to own the bones of a monster. Once at Willie's budget "freak museum", the Boley's humor Willie but feel that they have been bamboozled into a trip that will lead them nowhere. Then, after the sun sets, winged animals begin flying overhead before attacking Willie's house. There is a fire and the Boley's escape while Willie perishes with his collection of atrocities.

A gang of bikers are arrested for the crime and although the Boleys attempt to get them released, neither is quite willing to own up to exactly what happened. Later, they are pursued again by the angry gang of winged monsters and as they attempt to escape, they accidentally hit one of the gargoyles, killing it.

That's when revenge becomes oh-so-sweet. The gargoyles steal Diana into the night and its up to Mercer and whomever he can get to tag along (think biker gang), to save his daughter from the evil clutches of the ... dun..dun...dun... Gargoyles.

A pretty neat little movie with wonderful costumes, the downside of Gargoyles is quite simply the pacing. The story is fun, if a bit unfulfilled, but the direction leaves our actors with tons of dramatic pauses and just plain ol' gaps between the action. Bernie Casey is superior as the head Gargoyle, even if all we get is his concealed body in a costume. He's menacing as hell and the way they fixed his voice is mesmerizing.  Grayson Hall is hilarious as the motel owner whose idea of a pick up line is to talk about horrible car accidents! A young Scott Glen plays the head biker and he's easily the most charismatic human (not Gargoyle mind you!) in the movie.
Gargoyles enjoyed an extremely limited vhs and DVD release, making it not at all hard to find anymore. Still, I'd rather see it on a local station's afternoon movie, but we can't always get what we wish for, now can we?


VoyagerG said...

I've been wanting to see this movie for years, and I it's finally on DVD. I have it in my netflix queue. I really like Cornell Wilde so this should be a creepy treat. I used to be a big fan of the Disney Cartoon Gargoyles. It was an extremely well done series. Too bad they never went ahead with plans for the movie version of that.

VoyagerG said...

arrh, double checked my queue..Netflix doesn't have it, but it's listed for the future. bummer! I was just about to move it up a few notches, lol.

Craig Edwards said...

Yeah - the movie's pretty cool - with some pacing issues as you mentioned - but this one will always be a keeper for the gargoyle costumes alone! What a great start to a great blog!

Amanda By Night said...

You know what, I think when I started this blog, I was too heavy handed with some of my reviews. I have always loved Gargoyles. Yes, it's not perfect, but it's a film I've been thinking about reassessing.

And I completely agree, the costumes are just amazing. This movie really had me mesmerized through the first few years of my childhood!