Gargoyles

I must have been young and naive when I first saw “Gargoyles” on television. It was released in 1972, so that means I was 15. I must have been impressionable, because I remember watching the film with my family and thinking it was neat. Now that I’ve sat through the film again on DVD, all I can say is I must have been on some heavy drugs without my knowledge. But here’s the rub.


gargoylesThe film isn’t the fright-fest that I remember, but actually a film so bad it’s funny and campy. Now that I know better, it’s easy to see that everyone involved has their tongue squarely in cheek. It’s hard to take any of this seriously, but I guess 1972 was a different time and place. Back then it was easy to believe that guys in rubber suits could actually be living Gargoyles. And they don’t even fly, at least not until the very end of the film (now that scene is a hoot). We usually see them trotting around in the middle of the desert. That’s where noted anthropologist Mercer Boley (Cornel Wilde) and his photographer daughter (Jennifer Salt) bump into the creatures. Once they learn of the gargoyle’s plan to take over the Earth, they team up with local law enforcement officials and some dirt bike riders (including a young Scott Glen) to burn the nest and destroy the creatures. Poor Bernie Casey co-stars as the lead gargoyle, constantly hidden behind some dopey make-up and fake teeth. I remember that “Gargoyles” was popular when it first aired. Kids at school were discussing it the next day. My how times have changed. Watching “Gargoyles” 27 years after the fact is a bit of a disappointment, but only if you can’t enjoy its camp appeal. Watching the film again reminded me or another childhood experience. When I was five or six, I saw coming attractions on Chiller for a film called “She-Demons.” I really wanted to see the film, but when it came on I was forced to take a bath and go to bed. For years and years I obsessed over seeing the film, and when I was in high school it finally aired again. I couldn’t believe how bad the film was. Really, really bad. Then again, so bad it was funny. I have a copy on video, and now I have a copy of “gargoyles” on DVD. Life is good, isn’t it?

COMPLETE CHECK-UP

VISION: [ ] 20/20 [ X ] Good [ ] Cataracts [ ] Blind

So-so digital transfer gets the job done. Delivered in the film’s original full-frame ratio (remember, it was made for television), the images are generally sharp, with a little wear and tear noticeable at the beginning. No real digital compression issues, but there is a minute trace of flecking. Colors are adequate, but not spectacular. Flesh tones are okay, and so are the blacks, which are strong but not industrial strength. Depth of field is weak, and so is attention to detail.

HEARING: [ X ] Excellent [ ] Minor Hearing Loss [ ] Needs Hearing Aid [ ] Deaf

Surprisingly effective Dolby Surround soundtrack. Nicely rendered sound fields, including busy rear speaker action. Dialogue mix is okay, but the music and ambient noise are actually superior in quality.

ORAL: [ ] Excellent [ ] Good [ X ] Poor

No closed caption or subtitles.

COORDINATION: [ ] Excellent [ X ] Good [ ] Clumsy [ ] Weak

Main and scene access menus, plus cast bios and three theatrical trailers (including Dario Argento’s “The Bird with the Crystal Plumage”).

PROGNOSIS: [ ] Excellent [ X ] Fit [ ] Will Live [ ] Resuscitate [ ] Terminal

For camp appeal, nothing beats a man in a rubber suit.

VITALS: $24.98/Not Rated/74 Minutes/Color/16 Chapter Stops/Keepcase/#8207

ATTENDING RESIDENT: John Larsen

PATIENT: GARGOYLES

BIRTH DATE: 1972

HMO: VCI Home Video



Comments are closed.