The Gorgon

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The Gorgon
The gorgon 320x240.jpg
Directed byTerence Fisher
Produced byAnthony Nelson Keys[1]
Screenplay by
Story byJ. Llewellyn Divine[2]
Music byJames Bernard[2]
CinematographyMichael Reed[2]
Edited by
Distributed byBLC/Columbia[1]
Release date
  • 18 October 1964 (1964-10-18) (United Kingdom)
Running time
83 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom[1]

The Gorgon is a 1964 British horror film directed by Terence Fisher for Hammer Films. It stars Barbara Shelley, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Richard Pasco.


Sascha Cass tearfully tells her boyfriend Bruno Heitz she is pregnant with his baby, so he leaves the house to tell her father. She goes after him, but loses him in the dark woods, where she is killed and turned her to stone by something. The next morning, Police Inspector Kanof finds the bodies Sascha and Bruno in the woods, both turned to stone. He brings the bodies to the local hospital run by Dr. Namaroff and his assistant Carla Hoffman, who he is in love with. At the coroner's inquest, Namaroff deduces Bruno and Sascha died from heart failure. Back at the hospital, Carla scoulds Namaroff for not telling the truth.

Professor Jules Heitz, Bruno's father and Namaroff's friend, visits Namaroff, who consoles him. That night, while reading a book on Greek Mythology, Heitz hears a haunting voice outside and follows it into the woods, where is attacked by something. Turning to stone, Heitz makes it back to his house and manages to write a letter to his other son Paul before dying. Paul arrives in Vandorf the next morning and visits Namarof, who has attributed his father's death to heart failure, but Paul does not believe him.

That night, while staying at his father's house, Paul hears the voice and follows it to the abandoned castle, where is attacked. He later awakes in the hospital; his hair has gone grey. He meets Carla and falls in love with her. When Namaroff later discharges him, Paul goes the graveyard where he digs up his father's grave and finds it turned to stone. Carla appears and confides to Paul that she is afraid of Namaroff. She confesses her love for Paul, who offers to take her away with him, but she hesitantly refuses. Back at the house, Paul's mentor, Professor Karl Meister, arrives to help him uncover the truth about the mysterious deaths. Meister deduces that the deaths were caused by a Gorgon, a demonic woman who turns people to stone. He believes that the spirit of Megaera, one of three Gorgon sisters, has taken over the body of a local and inhabits the village.

At the hospital, Carla confronts Namaroff about his jealousy and leaves him. When Carla goes missing, Namaroff believes Paul has abducted her and searches Paul's house. Namaroff threatens to press charges against Paul. Meister and Paul confront Namaroff about his lies and jealousy. After Namaroff leaves, Paul attempts to go out and look for Carla, but Meister calms him down and locks him in his room. Paul escapes out of the window and goes out to look for Carla.

Kanof arrives to arrest Paul for Carla's abduction, but when Meister realses Paul has escaped, he goes out to look for him. Paul searches the castle for Carla, but there is no sign of her. Namaroff arrives and confesses to Paul that he knew all along about Megaera. They both get into a fight, and Namaroff is knocked out. Megaera appears and attacks Paul, and his hair turns white. Meister arrives with a sword and beheads Megaera. Megaera's severed head changes back to its human form, which is revealed to be Carla. Paul is devistated over Carla's death, but Meister assures him that she is now at peace.



The Gorgon was based on a story submitted to Hammer by their Canadian fan, J. Llewellyn Divine.[3] Director John Gilling and producer Anthony Nelson Keys expanded on Divine's outline, developing it into a screenplay.[3] For the role of the monster, former ballerina Prudence Hyman was recruited because the monster was supposed to float gracefully like a wraith.[3]


The Gorgon was distributed in the United Kingdom by Columbia Pictures/BLC Films on October 18, 1964 where it was supported by The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb.[2] It was released in the United States by Columbia Pictures on February 17, 1965 where it was also supported by The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb.[4]

The Gorgon was released in the U.S. on Blu-ray by Mill Creek Entertainment in March 2018 as a double feature along with the Hammer movie, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll. The title of the film is misspelled as “The Gorgan” on the spine.[5]


Variety wrote, "Though written and directed on a leisurely note, 'The Gorgon' is a well-made, direct yarn that mainly gets its thrills through atmosphere. The period storyline is simple and predictable, but John Gilling has turned out a well-rounded piece and Terence Fisher's direction is restrained enough to avoid any unintentional yocks."[6] The Monthly Film Bulletin found that the monster's appearance was "belated, vague and insufficiently spectacular. Still, it makes a change from vampires, and though the film has little genuine flair for atmosphere it is quite well acted by Richard Pasco and an appropriately blank-eyed, statuesque Barbara Shelley."[7]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 67% based on 9 reviews, with a weighted average rating of 6/10.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Nightmare". Monthly Film Bulletin. Vol. 31 no. 369. British Film Institute. October 1964. p. 149.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Fellner 2019, p. 171.
  3. ^ a b c Fellner 2019, p. 174.
  4. ^ Fellner 2019, p. 173.
  5. ^ "The Revenge of Frankenstein/Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll/The Gorgon (Blu-ray)". Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  6. ^ "The Gorgon". Variety: 6. 26 August 1964.
  7. ^ "The Gorgon". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 31 (369): 149. October 1964.
  8. ^ "The Gorgon (1965) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 25 November 2017.


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