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Horror - Gorgo

Buy Gorgo
Widescreen Destruction Edition
Bill Travers, William Sylvester, Vincent Winter
Directed by Eugene Lourie
MGM 1961
VCI Entertainment 2005
76 minutes plus extras

Gorgo, recently re-released by VCI Entertainment is a good-looking DVD with a few extras like the trailer, a mini-documentary, and pictures. It is a very entertaining monster movie with much better than average for the time special effects, better than your usual story, and generally better acting (although the two leads tend to lose their British accent and become Americans when things gets out of hand). Gorgo is basically Godzilla goes to the British Isles to stomp a few London landmarks. Gorgo is great fun and one of the best monster movies of its time.

How do you capture Godzilla? Send some poor schmuck down in a diving bell as bait and simply go fishing. This is how treasure hunters Joe Ryan and Sam Slade, played by Bill Travers and William Sylvester, proceed when they encounter Gorgo, a Godzilla type monster off the coast of Ireland. Unfortunately Gorgo is just a kid and his mother is mighty pissed off when the two adventurers decide to take Gorgo boy to the London circus without asking her first. They also take on board a little kid named Sean (Vincent Winter) and it is hard to know sometimes who between Gorgo and Sean is the real brat here.

The name Gorgo is given to this Irish Godzilla by Dorkins, the circus owner, who doesn’t know his Greek mythology very well and so named the big lizard after the gorgon. If you see an echo here of the King Kong story, as in a big monster being taken to a major metropolitan area for exhibition, you are not wrong, especially because neither Kong nor Gorgo are big fans of flash photography. The first thing Gorgo does while at the circus is stomp on a few things and kill a human or two. This is because his captors decided to release him outside his cage and not in his cage for some reason (aside maybe from wanting to collect the insurance money on the couple of trucks the big lizard was sure to crush).

Gorgo’s mother comes out of hiding and stomps around the Irish island of Narda where her son was captured before making her way to London. This causes the British navy to send out ships to look for her, British ships that American jets are based on and whose sailors wear U.S. Navy labeled jackets for some stock footage reason. The stock footage also has a problem deciding if the attack on Gorgo’s mum is done in broad daylight, in the evening, or in the middle of the night.

The British navy receives Gorgo’s mum with a 21-gun salute that really only pisses her off some and makes her more determined to visit London and rescue her boy. While in London, Gorgo’s mother wipes out London Bridge, Big Ben, the very same Robinson’s Wines twice, a bunch of apartment blocks, an underground station, and Piccadilly Circus.

Gorgo is also good fun as a monster movie. Londoners, forgetting to keep a stiff upper lip, flee like Orientals in numerous Godzilla movies. There’s a guy in the streets with a Repent The End Is Nigh sign –this is London after all— and gets killed by the fleeing mob. A little girl loses her dolly and the panicking mob stomps on the dolly. A great line is uttered by a British general, “Piccadilly Circus? God knows what will stop it now!”

Gorgo definitely works. Any fan of monster movies, especially the Godzilla epics, will enjoy this one.


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