GORGO

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GORGO - 1961
USA Release: March 29, 1961
King Brothers Productions
Rated: NR

Things can always get worse. I'll explain in a minute.

GORGO was directed by Eugene Lourie (BEHEMOTH THE SEA MONSTER, THE COLOSSUS OF NEW YORK) and written by Robert L. Richards (ACT OF VIOLENCE) and Daniel James (BEHEMOTH THE SEA MONSTER, THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS).

Sam Slade (William Sylvester: THE HINDENBURG, DEVIL DOLL) and his partner Joe Ryan (Bill Travers) run a salvage vessel near the Irish coast. Joe dives on a wreck, looking for treasure, but the rest of the men on board nervously watch a nearby patch of roiling, bubbling water. Joe surfaces; just before the undersea volcano blows nearly capsizing the ship. The eruption also brings many strange-looking fish to the surface.

They put in for repairs at isolated Nara Island. The Gaelic locals aren't very friendly to strangers and Harbormaster McCartin (Christopher Rhodes) gives them the run around and tells them they have to leave as soon as possible.

A young orphan boy named Sean (Vincent Winter: THE DARK AVENGERS) helps Joe and Sam discover that the Harbormaster is actually an archeologist busy salvaging priceless treasure from a Viking shipwreck.

Joe and Sam do some diving of their own to investigate and that’s when they see him: Gorgo. The creature is a giant reptilian – bigger than a T-Rex and able to live both underwater and (later) on land. Gorgo attacks the island that very night but they manage to drive him off. That's when the enterprising partners decide to forget about the treasure and focus on capturing the monster.

They do this without too much trouble and the news spreads around the world. The Irish government claims the creature but Joe and Sam ignore that and head for London to sell Gorgo to a circus.

And then what happens? Let's put a pin in that and take time out for a

!!!SCIENCE MOMENT!!!:
Is it possible that the deep sea contains undiscovered very large creatures? Certainly, but the implication here is that the volcano opened up a large undersea cavern where creatures like Gorgo had been living and that's harder to imagine. Life in the deep ocean depends on the steady fall of organic material from life near the surface. A cavern would be cut off from this and it’s difficult to see how such a closed ecology would be maintained and would provide enough food for very large predators. Add to that the fact that Gorgo is clearly adapted for moving around on land as well as the sea and the idea that this species has lived in a sealed off underwater cave for millions of years becomes quite a stretch.

Speaking of stretches, there are a lot of odd little details, like did these guys adopt Sean or kidnap him or what? He stows away on their ship and just keeps living with them. The plot is just a vehicle to see the monster and not a lot of thought goes into it beyond that. The monster, by the way, is the creation of two-time Oscar winning special effects artist Tom Howard (VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED, THE HAUNTING [1963]) who would go on to do the amazing effects in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

But the monster is pretty cool and just when you think that you've got a handle on the monster situation; it takes a turn for the much, much worse that results in a very unexpected ending. I like the unexpected so adding up all the pluses and minuses gives GORGO three shriek girls.

Shriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2007 E.C.McMullen Jr.

GORGO
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Gorgo (1961) on IMDb

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