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The Gorgon
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.66:1 Widescreen
  • English PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Audio commentary with Daughters of Darkness’ Samm Deighan and Kat Ellinger
  • Introduction by actor and filmmaker Matthew Holness
  • Heart of Stone: Inside ‘The Gorgon’
  • Hammer’s Women: Barbara Shelley: academic and author Patricia MacCormack examines the life and career of ‘the first leading lady of British horror’
  • 'The Gorgon' Comic-Strip Adaptation: Goodall, Goring & Coyas’ 1977 comic strip, originally published in House of Hammer magazine
  • Production gallery
  • Theatrical trailer

The Gorgon

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Terence Fisher
1964 | 83 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: £42.99 | Series: Indicator | Edition: #55
Powerhouse Films

Release Date: October 30, 2017
Review Date: November 7, 2017

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amazon.co.uk

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SYNOPSIS

Four classics from Hammer, each presented on Blu-ray for the very first time in the UK. Whether it's a madman brandishing a welding torch, a mythical monster whose looks can kill, an ancient royal with diabolical powers, or a mad woman wielding a pair of scissors, this set has something to unease everybody. Containing a wealth of new and exclusive extra features – including title-specific documentaries, cast and crew interviews, expert appreciations, introductions and more – this stunning Blu-ray-only Limited Edition box set is published in a horribly limited, numbered edition of 6,000 units.


PICTURE

Available exclusively in the Indicator box set Hammer Volume One: Fear Warning, Terence Fisher’s The Gorgon receives a new Blu-ray edition and is presented in the aspect ratio of 1.66:1 on this dual-layer disc. Though a UK release the film (and the set) is region free.

Similar to Maniac I’m not sure where this master comes from, but again it looks damn good and is yet another wonderful surprise. Colours look nice, retaining that Technicolor look with no bleeding or colour separation evident. Whites look nice and black levels are also good, though a few night shots lack depth. But what just really floored me is the stellar digital presentation and the incredible work that would have gone into the restoration. The image looks very film-like, rendering the film’s grain beautifully: it’s fairly fine but never looks blocky or sharpened. The restoration work has also thoroughly cleaned up things and only a handful of minor bits of dirt seem to remain, nothing that will draw your attention.

In all it’s quite beautiful, especially impressive for a low budget horror film made 50 years ago. It almost looks new.

9/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The film’s soundtrack is presented in lossless 1.0 PCM mono. It does the trick, clearly delivering dialogue, music, and sound effects. Range is limited but some screams that occur in the film do test things out a bit.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Maniac did get the shaft a little bit in features but The Gorgon’s supplements all on their own make up for it (with two other discs to yet get through). This title first features an all new audio commentary featuring Samm Deighan and Kat Ellinger, both associate editors at Diabolik Magazine and participants of the “Daughters of Darkness” Podcast. The two manage to keep it professional while geeking out, and this keeps things entertaining and interesting. They talk at great length about Hammer’s Columbia output while also talking about the actors that showed up in their films. But what I most liked is how they get into detail about folklore and Greek mythology, particularly in relation to The Gorgon, and explaining how the film makes use of some the details from these. As explained in the track and elsewhere throughout the supplements and the included booklet, the film wasn’t a huge success and appears to be a bit of a black sheep in the Hammer filmography, but the two really push the unique elements of the film and really defend the film as an unappreciated Hammer classic. It’s a really terrific track and I’m a bit bummed the two actually don’t provide commentaries for any of the other films in the set.

Heart of Stone: Inside “The Gorgon” is another film-specific documentary in the set featuring interviews with author Jonathan Rigby and cultural historian John J. Johnston along with narration by Claire Louise Amias. The participants talk about the film’s development, including what sounded to be various script variations, and then also talk about the performances.

There are then two of the more overtly academic supplements in the set, the first featuring author Patricia MacCormack

talking about Barbara Shelley and her role in the film, as well as her roles in other Hammer films and how the women in this film differ in comparison to other Hammer films (this film has their first female monster up front and center for starters). This is then followed by an interview with filmmaker Matthew Holness who spends 15-minutes talking about the film, its look, how it compares to other Hammer films, and then pays special attention to director Terence Fisher and what he brings to the film.

We then get a couple of good galleries, the first being a production gallery featuring a number of behind-the-scenes photos and advertising materials. The next is a gallery featuring the comic strip adaptation from two issues of “House of Hammer.” The latter gallery also ends with the covers for each issue. The film’s original theatrical trailer is also provided.

Each release in the set also gets a booklet. The Gorgon comes with a 35-page one that starts off with an incredibly in-depth essay on the film and its production written by Marcus Hearn, which is then followed by a reprint of an article from a 1977 article of House of Hammer magazine, covering the film’s title monster and its star, Barbara Shelley. This article is then followed by excerpts from a 2010 interview with Shelley done for Fangoria. The booklet then closes with a sampling of what newspaper clippings advertising the film and its female monster. A really great booklet and the set is full of them.

Of the films in the set this one seems to get the most love (I haven’t gone through Fanatic’s at this point, though, so I’m basing that off listing right now) but then it appears this film is the more unappreciated of the four films collected here, so obviously it needs the extra push. The supplements, thanks primarily to the commentary, do elevate one’s appreciation for the film and its unique elements that help it stand out from other Hammer films. A really great effort overall.

8/10

CLOSING

Probably the strongest disc in the set it offers a surprisingly superb presentation and a wonderful set of supplements.




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