Monday, October 10, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 10 - Movie 1

Gorgo (1961) was one of my favorite giant monster movies when I was a kid. I don't remember why. Maybe it was that little extra bit that the filmmakers introduced into this movie by providing motivation for all of the monster destruction. It's been ages since I watched it, so I thought it might be time to revisit it to see how it held it.

The crew of a salvage ship captures a giant monster which they decide to bring to London to exhibit as something of a center stage sideshow freak at a carnival. Scientists who are very interested in this giant dinosaur looking creature, (which was given the name Gorgo after the mythological gorgon who could turn a man to stone from fright) determine that Gorgo is pretty much an infant of its species. Sure enough, Gorgo's mother comes to rescue her child, destroying everything in her path, and not slowing down as she's blasted by missiles and bombs. How much bigger is mom? Gorgo only comes up to her ankles.

The movie is generally similar to movies such as King Kong (1933), Revenge of the Creature (1955) and even Dumbo (1941) in which greedy men cruelly bring a strange creature into captivity in order to exploit it, only to have it escape and wreak havok. The parental angle distinguishes this movie.

Director Eugene Lourie also directed The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953) and The Giant Behemoth (1959) so he was well versed in movies featuring giant prehistoric monsters on the rampage in urban locations. The movie benefits from some stock footage of military maneuvers including naval vessels firing their guns and depth charges, which are used effectively and not so much that they pad out the movie. The actors are all fine, but barely two dimensional and drop out of importance once Gorgo's mom comes looking for her abducted child. The two monsters are of an interesting design, and the special effects are good, but the monster suit itself is not well executed and the suit actor doesn't do a particularly great job of hiding the fact that there's a person inside that monster. This was no Godzilla.

It's an okay movie. Your enjoyment of it will depend on your tolerance for watching a giant monster breaking landmarks such as Big Ben.


Robert Pope said...

Well, the stills in "Famous Monsters" looked cool, anyway...(for the record, ashamed to admit I've never seen the darned thing!)

Michael Jones said...

Have you seen the CSI episode where Gil has just bedded Sara and she's watching a "Godzilla" movie on tv and comments how she feels sorry for the creature. Gil walks in and says something about the "oxygen destroyer". Of course the monster in question wasn't Godzilla but Gorgo, I guess they couldn't afford Toho's price.